Running without a watch

by - Monday, March 09, 2009

As a number-crunching-running junkie, it's very, very rare that I run without a watch. Even if I'm just going out for an easy fun run, I always like to see what my time is and how that run compared to other runs.

But this weekend, my watch was nowhere to be found. I searched every logical (and not-so-logical) place that it could possibly be, but never found it. So I did my 10-miler* without it.

Turns out that was probably the best idea I've had in a long time when it comes to my running. The whole time I was out there, I just ran by how I felt. If I needed to stop and walk because my legs were getting tired or my form was off, I did. If my knee was starting to pull a little bit, I'd walk until it was under control. I wasn't tied to my run X walk Y time patterns that I tend to fall into when I wear a watch.

I wasn't constantly glancing at my wrist seeing where I was and then attempting to alter my pace accordingly. Instead, I went by how my legs and knee felt. If things felt strong, I pushed it just a bit, but I knew when I needed to back off too. I think it's was the most in touch with my body I've been on a run in a long time.

I felt really strong through the first six miles. I was cruising, taking Gu a little earlier than normal** and overall feeling great. Miles 7 and 8 were tougher, but I didn't feel totally gassed. I walked more in miles 9 and 10, but I still finished strong, with no real soreness. My knee held up remarkably well (I had only taped it, no brace or anything) and my muscles weren't incredibly sore.

I stretched for a good half hour when I got back and then iced both my knees as a precaution. I took Sunday as a rest day even though I probably could have gotten something easy in. Then today I did a short loop, about three miles or so, I haven't mapped it out exactly yet, again without the watch. Things feel great and I'm excited.

I think I'm actually going to run the half marathon in two weeks without a watch. My goals for this race are no longer time oriented. My goals are to run a safe race and have fun. It's more important to me that I finish without my knee acting up than finishing fast. I'll flesh out the goals in a post closer to race time, but I will be doing the race, which is the best news of all.

Oh and side note: I registered for the St. Patty's Day 8K in D.C. for next weekend. A friend of mine wanted me to do it with her and so I figured what the heck. It'll fit fine with my taper and I won't be racing it hard. Plus with over 5,000 runners it sounds like a really fun event.

That's all from me, sorry for the length!

* Route I took actually ended up being 10.4 miles! Boo-yah!
** Took my first one around mile 5 instead of 6 and my second one around mile 8 instead of 10 (well duh I wasn't going to take one at 10 on a 10 mile run)

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  1. Length is something I NEVER apologize for.

    Not in my blog posts, either!

    HAR! I'm such a pig!

    But great job on the runs, sister. I also am recovering from a knee injury, and I think I may just adopt this strategy for my next couple of runs. I had to walk a few times on my last run (a 7-miler) but I think that was because I was pushing it and shouldn't have been. Probably would have ended up doing better if I hadn't.

    Good luck in your upcoming races!

  2. Girth, however, is something that Glaven always has to apologize for. Since he runs too much side to side (like phoebe on friends) he's always knocking people down. Running girth, you know.

    he has many many more reasons to apologize for his penis.

    Good luck with the 8k. that is a great race for the taper! should also be fun to run it with a friend.

  3. I run without a watch sometimes, really the only thing that drives me batty is not knowing the distance. i'm fine wihtout at watch at a race with mile markers. i'm fine without a watch on a well known frequently run trail. but if i'm somewhere new, and don't have anything to give me a clue for distance...makes me crazy

  4. YAY glad you had a great run!!! I am the same, dont ever run without my watch, but I have had it die a couple times when I actually really appreciated not having it on.

  5. Ahh Jess, nice job on the 10.4 mile run! Wahoo! So After my nice 3 miler yesterday, completely pain free, it was only natural that I started to think about the possibility of still running the HM on the 9th of May... Do you have any recommendations as the safest and best way to train for that, smart?

  6. Great 10 miler! I agree that sometimes I love to run without my watch (or ipod, for that matter) and just enjoy it for what it is. :)

    Glad your knees felt good!

  7. running without a watch is so liberating! LOL... I'm just giving you the heads up that I'm letting my smart ass comment slide. Your welcome :-)

  8. what's worse: running without a watch or running with a dead Garmin?

  9. nice job on the run w/o a watch! i know i get caught up a lot in my 'data', but i'm trying to not worry about the pace on my easy days if it's a little faster or slower than it should be. it's important to pull back and really listen to your body, and i'm sure you can get an estimated time if you just have to record it (like i would) :)

  10. Sounds like you've found the fun side of running and you're really in a nice groove. :) The watch has a place, but it is good to give it a break to focus on the other aspects of running other than time/speed/distance. Best wishes for MANY more wonderful runs like you've been enjoying!