Go Go Gadget or No Go Gadget?
With all of of the craziness of our Arizona Adventure and recent travels I haven’t had a chance to do a Back To Basics post lately. If you can remember back, my last post was about just getting out and moving.
Let’s talk gadgets….
When I first got into running I pounded pavement with no accessory items. No iPod, Garmin, phone, etc. It was just me and the road. It was simple. If I really wanted to know how far I had gone I’d come home and map my run on GMap and was content with that. I then tried a basic pedometer and didn’t have much luck with it. I dunno if it was lack of trying, my irregular run gate, or what, but it wasn’t accurate. As time went on I found myself wanting a GPS. Initially it started as wanting to be more accurate in my distance and then I realized I could also keep track of my pace, calories burned, and could even upgrade to a heart rate monitor. 3 months after I started running I requested and received a Garmin Forerunner 205 for my birthday. I was one happy girl.
There are times when I think I couldn’t live without my Garmin. When it comes to long workouts the information it provides is invaluable. And when my Garmin Forerunner 205 decided to retire itself I promptly replaced it recently with a Garmin 910XT.
When it came to listening to music while running I didn’t even own an MP3 player in the beginning. I always laughed and said I used my mental MP3 player. I would literally sing songs in my head as I ran. I was content with that. Once again, as time went on my training runs became longer and I knew I’d appreciate a little bit of music to keep me going, enter my iPod.
The question is, do you need these items in order to run? Heck no. If you’re just starting out there really is no need for any of these items. And believe it or not there can be a downside to using gadgets.
For instance, D has called the Garmin my “crutch”. He says I’m always referencing it and determining much of my run depending on what my Garmin says. I’m guilty as charged. Instead of listening to my body I started depending on a piece of technology. It’s fantastic to be able to glance down and see my pace or how far I’ve gone, but to constantly “answer” to a gadget made me start to fear and dread my runs. Where’s the fun in that?
The downside to listening to music while running is that you really miss out on the running experience, like hearing your footsteps and your breathing. After your first few runs of just getting out and moving, I actually think it’s VERY important to tune into your body, listening to your footsteps, and the rhythm of your breathing. My mind also tends to shut off when listening to music, which means I don’t embrace the beauty of my surroundings. I know many use certain songs to speed up their runs but I have found that using an iPod oftentimes has the opposite effect on me when my mind shuts off. And when it comes to racing and listening….I don’t do it. I’ve only use my iPod during one local 5K race. Other than that I embrace the race atmosphere and soak it up for all that it’s worth.
Another thing to consider is your safety while using music while running. I never wear earbuds and listen to music while running at dawn or dusk. Although it’s important to always be aware of your surroundings, during these times of the day it’s most important. In addition, when I do listen to music I only use one earbud, leaving the other ear available to pick up sound. I’ll go into more points on safety in a future post.
As you can see I do tend to rely on my gadgets while training, but this doesn’t mean you HAVE to have technology to get out there and bust a move. If you’re not looking to spend the cash on gadgets but want to prepare for your runs, easy to use programs such as GMap and MapMyRun.com are free and easy to use on the Internet. To this day I still use GMap to map out my long runs prior to heading out.
Since I’m no longer training for the Half Rev3 there’s really no need for me to worry about distance, time, or pace, which means I was leaving my Garmin at home prior to our move. Now that I’m trying to establish run routes and seeing my progress as I acclimate to the heat I’m back to wearing my Garmin
In the off season you’ll find me going no go gadget quite often, allowing me to feel a bit more free and energized, which definitely puts the fun back into my run.
Experienced runners: Are you a go go gadget runner or do you prefer going no go gadget? If you like gadgets, what’s the one thing you couldn’t run without?
Keep Smiling and Be Grateful =)
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