I try not to accumulate many junk miles, so every run is kept specific and trackable. I often program intervals into my GPS watch and revolve my workout around the beeps and buzzes on my wrist, keeping my form and speed, rather than my surroundings.
If I’m training at the gym, which I will do if I’m doing a workout that requires hills that my low-elevation city cannot deliver, I will almost always use music to distract me from the unchanging scenery.
Once a week, however, I leave the music and the watch at home and head out with no agenda, nothing strapped to my wrist or stuffed in my ears. I find a trail and run at an easy pace without worrying about Strava or BMPs or cadence. I just run naked, without technology. And it is such an important run in my training.
Why run ‘naked’?
1. It is important to have a lower intensity run each week – Your heart is a muscle and, although it gets stronger the more you work it, pushing it too hard every day can have a negative impact on your performance. Giving yourself an easy run day each week will help your entire body to recover and allow you to push harder in your speed training.
2. It gives you an opportunity to explore – Runners tend to be creatures of habit and switching up a route on an easy, no-pressure run can uncover new routes.
3. It gives your mind a break – Constantly focusing on my watch can cause me to fixate on numbers, splits and distance. Running without technology allows you to focus on simply running. It’s a great way to mentally reset during a training week.
4. It takes the pressure off – If you use platforms to share your workouts, as many runners do, it can be a relief to know it won’t matter how you perform on your run. It can be a gentle reminder of why we run in the first place: because it is fun.
5. It simplifies your run – You remove the need to adjust cords, check messages, sync your numbers and charge your devices.