I run to stay healthy, to keep my insomnia under control and because it’s an easy exercise when I travel. I’ve always run without trackers: I map out my runs online and I know my average speed because I look at my start and stop times. And sometime I participate in runs and they will clock and publish official times. I never used a gadget to keep track while I was running. Until a few months ago.
I admit it: I’m a gadget junky. The only thing that prevented me from buying a runner’s watch is the size of my wrists: they are a bit narrow and no watch is good fit. I was holding out to see if the Apple Nike watch would fit better but that was a no go too.
So I decided to do the next best (and cheapest) thing: install a run tracker on my iPhone, buy a holder and use that to keep track of speed and distance. The tracker integrated my music list into the app which was handy. The first time I ran with it, it was a bit clumsy to activate the app while the phone was in a holder but I quickly got the hang of it.
What I did not expect was that by using a tracker, running stopped being fun. At certain intervals the program would tell me my speed and my distance. I felt bad when I did not achieve my average speed, would speed up to improve the numbers and end up totally uncomfortable and way too focused on the result.
In short, I started running against myself in order to improve the numbers – never a good thing. The fun and the pleasure, plus my sense of accomplishment whenever I come home from a run, it all disappeared. Running had become a chore.
Fortunately, there was an instant cure. I ditched all trackers and removed the apps from my phone. Then I returned to basic running with my music list on iPod. I run for me and to stay healthy, not to achieve a speedy number.
Turns out I’m more happy when I run outside without trackers. I will continue to alternate with treadmill runs to train interval to improve my speed, but outside runs are for me, for pleasure and for relaxation. I don’t have to prove anything, I just have to get up and run to the music!