I left my GPS watch at home, here’s what happened - Live Slow Run Far

I left my GPS watch at home, here’s what happened

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Today, I did something a bit different (at least for me, Mike) – I left my GPS watch at home. And guess what? It was incredible.

When was the last time you ran without tracking every step? There’s something so liberating about it, but don’t get me wrong – I love my watch. And the data it provides. And the way it meticulously records my training. But sometimes, the numbers can do more harm than good, and it took this one run for me to start to realize that.

You might wonder, “Mike, how are you only realizing this now?”. Sophia has openly discussed her mixed feelings about her running watch, even delving into it recently on Instagram here. But for me… I’m an engineer. I love data. And therefore, I thought I was immune. 

Like many of you, I often find myself checking my pace mid-run. If I’m faster than expected, it’s exhilarating. But if I’m slower, it can be tough. However, I can handle that part. I’m used to it. But… there’s more to it. 

On my watch-free run, I felt a sense of freedom AND control. I was the one dictating my feelings, not the numbers that will eventually show up on Strava. It was an eye-opener.

In a webinar we hosted last year titled “3 Little Known Mistakes You Are Making In Your Training,” the primary mistake we discussed was letting metrics from your watch dictate not only how you run, but how you feel about it. Unknowingly, that’s exactly what I have been doing.

Today, I was running home and spotted a moose crossing the road. I stopped, walked a bit, and shined my headlight towards it as we stared into each other’s eyes for what felt like an eternity. Without my watch, I felt a sense of freedom; only I knew what I was doing.

It signified that I was the one in control (although, in that particular instance, it could be said that the moose was truly the one in charge).

For me, right now, I feel like this is exactly what I need – running without obsessing over paces or tracking. Just me, my shoes, a beating heart, and a smile. Remember, running is a primal activity, and sometimes (often) it’s good to return to its roots.

Of course, planning my training and workouts are still part of the routine. But I’m taking this time to focus on consistency, joy, and maintaining my endurance base.

I’m curious to see how long I can keep this up, a week, two – perhaps all winter. I don’t intend for this to be permanent, but it’s a welcome challenge, and challenges lead to growth. I won’t lie – the urge to strap on my watch is strong, but perhaps that’s exactly why I need this break from it.How about you? What’s your relationship with your GPS watch? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

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