Why Trevor Hofbauer races without a watch
Race day tips with Canada's newest marathon champion
Trevor Hofbauer won the Canadian Marathon Championships at the 2019 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon on Sunday in 2:09:51. His marathon on the weekend was the second-fastest marathon ever run by a Canadian and qualified him for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics.
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The runner came into the trials looking to run under 2:11:30 (which is Olympic standard) and vie for a position on team Canada. Hofbauer executed beyond even his expectations, and mentioned in passing after his almost Canadian-record-setting race that he wasn’t even wearing a watch. We dug a little deeper into that statement.
Hofbauer said: “I’ve found training with a pace immediately dictates how your workout is going to go. I trained with pace and Strava for years. One day I was running with Eric Gillis [Olympian and one of Canada’s fastest-ever marathoners] in Guelph and he didn’t use pace on his watch so I took it off of mine as well. Removing pace was something that stuck.”
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The runner, who’s now self coached, left Speed River and coach Dave Scott-Thomas last year in favour of moving home to Calgary and training himself. “When I went back to Calgary, I started using pace again as an indication of how I was doing. But I didn’t like it at all–it really got into my head. I started comparing previous training blocks to this training block. So I took it off again. I don’t use pace now, I just go off of time and effort. And that was how I ran today. I didn’t have to watch so when I felt good, I continued to push.”
The new Canadian champion raises a good point. While a watch can be a great training tool, it can also become a limiting factor. If a runner is going to do something they’ve never done before, they need to push the envelope, but having a constant reminder of where the limit used to be can become a deterrent from a big performance.
If you’re susceptible to doubting yourself in a race, considering pulling a Hofbauer and leave the GPS at home.