When I began my running hiatus – there were few options for running watches. I have always used a simple Timex watch. It keeps track of overall time, splits, laps, and has a timer and alarm. Sometimes when I am feeling so inspired, I leave the watch at home. I remember the first time I saw a runner using a heart rate monitor – seemed pretty weird to me.
Well, for anywhere between 200-600 bucks you can get all sorts of watches. They measure your HR, pace, distance, elevation loss/gain, sleep, etc., etc. But do we really need all of this information? Especially for those of us who are simply just going out for a run in the woods.
I prefer to ‘run by feel.’ What does this mean? Well, just keep checking in: How am I feeling? What is my breathing like? Am I thirsty or hungry? How is my form? Any aches and pains? Am I having fun? Can I be grateful in this moment? These questions should guide your run. With this approach there is less chance for injury, burnout and disappointment.
During my last run I was experiencing some tightness in my left knee. I noticed this and asked myself what could I do to support my knee better. Am I running too fast? How is my form? Is the terrain adding to the discomfort? Should I finish my run or keep running? No matter how much money you spend on a watch – it won’t give you this crucial information.
So be kind to yourself. Check in with your body and mind in a kind and gentle way. This is mindful running. If you set out to run a certain distance, in a certain time – you don’t allow for things to change. Running, as with life, is dynamic and ever changing. You need to be flexible and adaptable. An excellent life skill.