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Running in theory is a simple – you need shoes, a fuelled body and you are pretty much good to go!
However, in the last couple of decades technological advances have allowed us to access more data than you could imagine from your now not so simple running watch. All runners are guilty of making sure to remember to stop their watch at traffic lights or get to the exact .00km or .00 minute. And have you really run if it isn’t uploaded on your strava, garmin and added to your step count for the day?! So lets talk through the pros and cons to see if you might just run better with your watch at home.
GPS technology has revolutionised the ease at which we can measure how far we run on our long run. Fortunately, on race days there are markers at relevant kilometre points so we are less reliant on our watch and for the most part this is a positive outcome allowing us to run by feel. Running by feel can be extremely rewarding and enjoyable taking the focus off time and instead shifting the focus to working with your body to achieve feel good movement. Listening to your body rhythm can allow you to set a natural pace, which is often more relaxed and energy efficient. And who knows you might just surprise yourself.
Runners new to the long lengths of a marathon often seek great comfort in wearing a watch to make sure they don’t go too hard too early and avoid a mid race blow up. Big events like the Melbourne Marathon do draw great hype and excitement and it can be challenging to keep the first 5km at a steady pace without a watch. The counter argument is when a runner looks down to see themselves running slower then they expect and then push too hard into the uncomfortable zone and ironically end up in a similar fate. In these circumstances it is important we listen both to our watch and our bodies to make sure we achieve the number one goal of finishing the race.
So when trying to decide if you should or shouldn’t wear your watch consider the following questions. Do you want to hit a target time or run by feel? Is your GPS accurate? Are you concerned you will go too hard too early?
But for those unable to part with their watch on race day don’t forget to charge your watch and find your satellites!
Happy Running and Good Luck to all those hitting the streets at this years Melbourne Marathon!
About the Author
Cara Peake — Rehabilitation Physiotherapist
Cara has an extensive background in track and field athletics and this experience has proved valuable during her physiotherapy career. Cara can often be found running local road races and triathlons and makes the annual pilgrimage to Noosa for the Triathlon.