There is a peril associated with dependency on a gadget. When it misbehaves, or you forget it, you can find yourself at a bit of a loss. My Garmin Forerunner 305 is a case in point: I forgot it on my first Cross Country race, and today I decided to go out for a quick run before the darkness set in only to find it utterly unresponsive: I presumed it was out of juice (sometimes if I don’t switch it off properly or get it charging in the cradle, it sits trying to find a satellite and drains the battery) so I left for a lap of Pollok Park with it on charge.
On my return from the run, and finding that it hadn’t charged at all, I suspected something more was afoot. A spot of googling later, and I discovered this isn’t an entirely uncommon ailment. Because it also wasn’t being detected by the Garmin Software either, it had clearly frozen in some way (or died). So holding down the lap/reset button on the top and the Mode button on the side for a few seconds – then release and press the power key as normal. Much to my relief (the hassle of returning it for repair/exchange was feeling like a distinct possibility) it all came back on as normal. But frustratingly a decent 5.5k loop of Pollok Park at what felt like a good pace was not to be recorded.
No matter – there’s certainly something to be said for ‘running as you feel’, rather than forever trusting to the heart rate monitor, or pace indicators, to let you know how you’re performing. The big benefit I’m feeling from having joined a running club is improved endurance. Knowing that I *can* keep running at a fast pace, even though I know it’s hard work (and my body is telling me that in no uncertain terms), and that I would really rather stop. It’s helpful, but not critical, to know what pace I’m at, and what distance we’ve run. But the gadget has to be a secondary source of information, rather than a primary indicator of behaviour.
The other realisation I’ve come to is that running is just as much of a mental challenge as it is a physical challenge. Keeping a sustained and challenging pace, willing yourself on, ensuring that you don’t fall much further back from the group you’re with. These things aren’t helped by gadgets, and are ultimately more important in keeping you going.
Taking the tough decision to go out in the cold, dark rain, knowing full well it’s going to be hard, but knowing too that you’ll feel a whole lot better having done it, than take the easy option and staying indoors with a cup of tea and a decent TV show, or even just running at an easy pace which is, well, easier. Whilst there are plenty of reasons to do these things (illness and recovery), improvement doesn’t come without pushing your limits. Gadgets don’t really help you do that.
So my “lost run” as a result of an non-functioning gadget is a bit of a shame (as I think it was quite a handy pace), but it’s still useful to have gone for a run simply to see how I feel and how I manage my running, without a gadget giving me accurate pace figures.
The dark and gloomy winter months are almost at their peak, but I’m looking forward to a few events over the next few weeks. The Clevedon Boxing Day 4m road race, to burn off a bit of the Christmas pudding, and a couple of 10k races (Jack Crawford 10K and Nigel Barge Memorial 10k in early January – Doubly good as the 10K’s are both in my running clubs winter handicap competition, and I’m hoping my times should be a lot better than my last 10k (which was the hilly and very very wet barrhead 10k). This time forms the basis of the winter handicap, so fingers crossed the last few months of training and a flatter, hopefully drier, course should help my cause 🙂