No, not literally running naked. Although if that is your thing, I believe there’s a 5k race in Kent somewhere you can do in the buff.
No, I’m talking about running without a watch. When I started running, I didn’t have a fancy watch. Couldn’t afford one. Instead, I used a stopwatch and mapped out routes on Map My Run. Then, when I got a bit more into it, I downloaded Runkeeper. I’d use it to check my speed and distance at the end, but after pressing play, I’d put it into my waist pack and there it would stay for the duration of the run because it was too much of a faff to stop and get it out. I’d run by how I felt at the time. I’d have an idea of the route as I’d have mapped it out beforehand and then I’d check at the end to make sure the distance was done. And sometimes, I had some really nice surprises, for example, my first sub 30 minute 5k, my 97 minute 10 mile time, my 72 minute 8 mile time, all of these were “run naked”. Of course, on the flip side, I sometimes had some times which were dismal, but that was okay. Running isn’t about a personal best every run. And those slow, painful runs – well, I got them done. If I’d been obsessing over the pace and distance, maybe I wouldn’t have finished them.
Nowadays, I’m a lucky girl and have a selection of gadgets to choose from, telling me pace, distance, splits, heart rate, nearest pub (well, Mr Google does that) and all sorts. But it does mean I’ve become much more obsessive about what I’m doing and if I’m honest, I don’t think it’s really helping my running.
So, after the initial panic at Bluestone last week (OH MY GOD, I FORGOT MY POLAR, IT’S THE END OF THE WORLD), I downloaded Runkeeper onto my phone again just to get an idea of distance, put my phone in my pocket and forgot about it. I ran, just to run. And it was great.
I’m not going to lie, I did keep looking at my wrist, just to learn that the time and pace I was running was tiny freckle past the bone. But I ran up the hills, instead of walking them, albeit slowly, I looked at the views and I saw stuff. The trails were muddy, but I saw early snowdrop flowers, a fat robin, beautiful sunshine and best of all, a little rabbit.
It makes me wonder, how much do we miss?
Obviously, my phone didn’t stay in my pocket as I couldn’t resist taking a few snaps. I can’t remember the last time I did that on a run, because I can’t remember the last time that I actually SAW my surroundings. I went back to the chalet, smiling and feeling refreshed.
What a great feeling.