I've arrived at this plan through some observation of my training and my logs and through some reading. I have especially enjoyed Pete Magill's blog which I've seen quoted here several times. You can probably guess from my comments about my log that I am a person who enjoys looking at the numbers related to my training. But, I also really like the idea of training more by feel. When I read about it in Pete's blog, the “rightness” of it just resonates with me. Right now, I am trying to do a hybrid. I still wear my Garmin for runs and start it and stop it with each repetion if need be, but I am not looking at it during my workouts. I have even configured the Garmin so that if I do glance at my wrist, I won't find enough information there to cause me to alter what I'm doing. So, while I am running, I can run by feel, but when I get home I can enter the information into my spreadsheet and see the numbers.
Precisely, the numbers should simply be a product (a measurement) of the work done, and not vice versa.
Plenty of good thoughts in your message. Just FYI, you have not been alone, it seems to be an unfortunately common approach that you are leaving behind. It is interesting to look on, just for example, a marathon-focused forum (elsewhere) that clearly has a heavy emphasis on the numbers (mostly short-sighted) yet when the posts of yearly mileage go up it is revealed that essentially none have averaged 80+ miles/week for the year — and none seem to see any issue with this and so many often wonder why they fail to see expected improvements in the marathon. It is highly illustrative and instructive, it is proof that such an approach is fundamentally unsound.