Running by Feel

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.