Since I got back from Vancouver, I’ve been running without a watch. (In Vancouver, I needed one, as I was running for time, not for distance, on unfamiliar routes.) My reasoning for going watchless is that, since I’m not training for any races at the moment, I don’t need to keep careful track of how long each run takes me. After all, I run a number of long-familiar routes in my neighbourhood. I know exactly how long each route is, and I know more or less how long it takes me to complete each route at a given pace (e.g., easy, tempo, race, or LSD).
Along the way, though, came a thought. Maybe I’m running better because I’m not wearing a watch!
I know that I’ve gotten smoother and quicker. Running in Fivefingers KSOs has made me so, because my form has improved and I’m injury-free. I have no illusions about knowing precisely how quick I am now, in part because studies show that it’s very difficult for any athlete to have know his or her pace precisely. But smoothness I can feel, and quickness I can feel. And I’m definitely smoother and quicker than I was a month or so ago.
Doing without a watch, I think, is simply doing without yet another distraction. Even if I’m not checking my watch all the time (to see how fast I’ve done a kilometer, a split, a complete distance), the watch is there. I can feel its weight, I can sense its presence, and I know it’s doing its job. It’s a good piece of technology, and it’s very hard to ignore.
So, for the time being, I’m leaving the watch at home. I’ll wear it again, when I start my next serious training program. (That will be on Monday, December 14, when I’ll start training for next spring’s Toronto 100K Ultra.) And I’ll use it properly, and use it well. It will help me reach my goals.
Who knows? Perhaps I’ll use the watch for training, and then do without the distraction when I’m racing. We’ll see how this develops.
For now, though, I’m running according to my Inner Runner. And my Inner Runner is doing very well indeed, thank you!