Run by Instinct
When it comes to your running training it’s easy to become part of the machine. Habitual behaviour becomes common place. It would do though… you are training, using repeated exposure, building a base, pushing your threshold, recording, repeating and re-evaluating. Some of the habits are good habits, and some of them are plain necessary to best assist the process. But the focus can get obsessively narrow. The things that count. Or rather the things that can be counted. The metrics. Distance, time, pace per mile, laps, frequency, weekly mileage, heart rate. All there… on your wrist, and on your mind.
And it’s all absolutely fine. Measuring and mapping progress can motivate, inform and direct the athlete’s training, be they “couch to 5K” or “Diamond League”. But sometimes it can become a fixture. Always there. Every run followed by it’s metric shadow. Every run punctuated by the watch glance at habitual landmarks… what pace am I on, how far, what’s my time? Bleeping, vibrating, recording.
It would be a shame if the meaningful outcome of every run becomes a subset of data. Somebody once said to me that “you go on a walk to see things, but you go on a run to achieve things”. It’s catchy. A bit long for a T-shirt. And I have a feeling that the things he wanted to achieve from his runs were different to my own. Most of the time I am happy just to get back home, but he was definitely chasing his metrics.
So in this blog I have decided to provide you with a free downloadable “metric light” training session (it direct downloads as a straight pdf… I don’t want your emails, or find out your preferences!) . You are going to ditch the numbers, and forget about running in that habitual way from A to B (usually back to A to be fair). You are going to concentrate on the running bit. The bit that you often drown out with music, number crunching, and the mind fog of effort. You are going to be guided by instinct and not Garmin. I don’t mean strip naked, tie some rabbit skins to your feet, and chase squirrels down the local park. I’m am talking actually “feeling” your running… in terms of posture, pacing, cadence, acceleration, change of pace… even technique if you like. You are sensing the “physicality” of it… and not letting the beeps on your wrist dictate it.
You’re still going to need a watch though (and a pen). You are going to rummage around on the function buttons until you find something called a “stopwatch”. A stopwatch is an old school recording device that records only time. If you are my age your “old school” will have had silver wind up ones, if you are younger your school would have had yellow plastic ones with flat batteries. I have provided a recording sheet to fill out with the training session download. Stopwatch, paper, pen… stuff Strava, this is a hands-on mission.
There is a saying “listen to your body”. Mine has become unacceptably noisy over the years, but it is wise to occasionally go out and just run for the sake of running, and with a naked wrist. It’s a big step for some, but this training session will get you half way there. It downloads as a pdf by clicking here: Run by Instinct