It’s only been 2 weeks/7 runs since I started recovering (I refuse to call it training until I can actually cover a race distance again!) and already I’ve learned something very important.
Running naked can be a bad idea.
For the uninitiated among you, who currently have a mental image of wobbly bits and chafing inner thighs, please lift your minds out of the gutter!
Running “naked” simply means running without a watch on. No GPS measuring your pace, distance, time, cadence, hydration levels or likelihood of pop stardom in Lithuania. Just running how you feel, letting your body choose how far and fast you go.
When you’re training, living by the stats and with every run governed by a plan dictating exactly what you should be doing, it can be a great relief to run naked. If you spent a 16 week marathon training plan doing only what you were told, you’d soon fall out of love with running. It’s good to occasionally leave the watch and expectations at home and reconnect with the joy of just running.
But since coming back from months off I’ve been really struggling. I’ve not taken the watch out as I just wanted to do some running, and the first 6 runs back have followed a similar pattern…
GO>>>GO FASTER>>>REMEMBER HOW IT FEELS TO FLY ACROSS THE PAVEMENT>>>KEEP IT UP FOR 500 METRES>>>START A SLOW DEATH>>>PACE DROPS>>>GO THROUGH 600 METRES WONDERING HOW THE HELL IT CAN’T BE A KILOMETRE YET>>>SLOW FURTHER>>>START THINKING I’LL NEVER RUN AGAIN>>>LOOK FOR AN EXCUSE TO STOP>>>CHANGE ROUTE TO INCLUDE THE NEXT AVAILABLE ROAD CROSSING>>>STOP AT CROSSING AFTER 750 METRES GASPING FOR BREATH AND DOING THAT “STRETCHING/WAITING FOR THE LIGHTS TO CHANGE/TRYING TO CONVINCE THE WAITING CARS YOU’RE AT THE END OF THE FASTEST 5 MILE RUN EVER SEEN” DANCE>>>REST FOR 2 MINUTES>>>REPEAT.
Yep, 6 runs exactly like that, the longest of which totaled a leg breaking, lung busting 3 miles.
I even did a trail run along a canal at the weekend. I stopped to watch cows humping as an excuse for a rest. This is an all time low.
So yesterday I tried taking my watch out again for the first time and it made all the difference!
Turns out what I thought was a comfortable pace was actually quicker than my 10k PB pace. While I’d been beating myself up for being crap I’d been beating myself up by being an idiot. Having my trusty companion on my wrist to slow me down and coach me to a steady pace helped me keep going.
So yesterday this happened…
My first steady paced, non-stop run since January. It’s not fast, it’s not yet a 10k, but it felt immeasurably good to be running again instead of struggling. I rediscovered the joy of running and it was all thanks to my trusty Garmin.
It will be some time before I run naked again.
(p.s. yes, this is the world’s oldest, largest gps watch. If anyone knows of a cheap alternative shout now! I reckon a smaller, lighter, more aerodynamic version must be worth about a minute a mile!)