Thursday, January 8, 2015

For the Newbie Runner: Part 3

Today's Newbie Running Tip is to Run Unplugged.

Over the Christmas holidays, I saw a challenge issued by a coach and online runners to go unplugged, meaning to disconnect from technology during your run. By "disconnect" they meant remove the earbuds, unharness from your smartphone and even unstrap your running watch. WHY?

Listen to your body.

BREATHING. Runners tend to disconnect from the world around them while the earbuds are pumping noisy distraction into their heads. Because runners are so absorbed in the audio book or have the music up loud, they are missing the sound of their own breathing. Your breathing can tell you if you're fatigued or have more gas in the tank.

Personally, I chose to have my music up loud enough in my ears to cover the sound of my ragged breathing! Also, it was a tool to trick myself from how tired and winded I was.

LEGS, KNEES & FEET. With so many apps and running watches tracking routes, time, splits, averages, comparison charts, etc., runners are trying to go longer and go faster without evaluating their body currently in motion. Push harder. Harder. HARDER. No wonder there are too-much-too-soon injuries.

I rationalized that I should beat yesterday's time or distance just because it was a new day and I was rewarded by the robotic voice or blinking screen. Never mind my feet felt crippled toward the end of the run because my form was poor causing me to over
pronate/supinate and hobble toward my digital reward.

Listen to your world.

There is much to hear. Birds. Wind. Other runners. Cars thumping up to a stop sign, but not stopping as they missed seeing you. It has been reported, women with earbuds are a perfect and favored target for being attacked from behind simply because they are not listening.

That same Christmas I took the challenge during my next run. "This is no biggie. I get to hear the sounds of nature. I feel free." I was in Oklahoma where the wind doesn't have much of an opponent. It howled into my ears. The airplane overhead roared as if it were coming down on my head. My breathing sounded like heaving! My feet slapped-slapped-slapped-slapped the paved trail like they were clown shoes. I was so distracted by all I heard, I couldn't run 2 miles for the frustration of it all. Since then, I decided to pull the plug on earbuds while running. 

It is important to note some organized races strongly discourage or do not permit smartphones, MP3s and earbuds, but encourage the runner to engage in the experience of the race. Typically, during my morning runs, I have my iPhone running app open to know the distance, but I'm listening to what matters. 


For more Newbie Running Tips, be sure to check out: 

"For the Newbie Runner: Part 1
  • Shoes: All Feet are Not Created Equal
  • Intervals: A Mile is a Mile
  • Running Groups: Never Say Never
  • Stretching: Impatience can Cause Injury
  • Cross-Training: Getting Stronger all Over

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