Training without a watch

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This topic contains 7 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by  ksrunner 13 years, 2 months ago.

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  • #2412

    ksrunner
    Participant

    First, I want to say that I’ve been visiting this forum for a few weeks and really enjoy reading the posts. There appears to be a lot of knowledge and a lot of supportive, thoughtful responses.

    My watch broke a couple of years ago and frustrated that the watch did not outlast the battery (The battery did outlast the warranty.), I haven’t purchased another. Because of an injury last spring, this spring is the first time that I’ve done hard workouts without the watch. I am finding that although I might like to have a better gauge of my progress as race time nears, I really like doing intervals without a watch (or a track for that matter).

    I do both the hard effort and the recovery jog by feel. I generally pick a landmark to run to and then if I get there and am still feeling good, I keep going until suitably tired. Then, I recover by jogging and paying attention to my breathing. I start the next repeat as soon as I feel recovered enough. In this way, I think that the rest periods are shorter than if I were doing the run on the track where I tended to do equal distance of jogging after each hard effort.

    Two years ago, my watch was one of my most prized possessions. Now, although I will likely buy a new watch some day, I am finding it easy to live without one.

  • #18346

    Ryan
    Keymaster

    As someone who seems married to his watch but understands that many runners have tendencies to rely too heavily on their watches, I think this is a great story that you offer. In fact, I’m bookmarking this thread.

    It sounds like you officially discovered the wonderful world of true fartlek workouts the way they were meant to be done. They are great workouts but most people, admittedly myself included, don’t make the effort to fit them into our training plans.

    Enjoy your time without a watch. It must be a wonderful, liberating experience to be out there without one. I know, when I leave my watch at home, I find my watchless runs to be just that. I should do it more often but I guess I’ve made myself a slave to that little gadget.

  • #18347

    GTF
    Member

    Interesting post, the thought-provoking input is honestly appreciated. Over the years it has become apparent that a watch is really not that necessary to training, except perhaps for interval workouts during the anaerobic development and sharpening phases as well as for time trials, and that the body will adapt and respond in its own way exclusive of any arbitrary constraints. It would also be best to ignore the watch during those exceptions, the numbers are to be considered and analyzed after-the-fact — having a coach or trainer to hold the watch and track the time would be ideal, if a luxury that few have available to them. It is also true that tracks, though often convenient, are not at all necessary to training unless one plans to race extensively on the track, and even in that instance the necessity to do training sessions on a track is not that high. As one who does training runs based on effort and duration- and not distance and pace – I find the watch useful insofar that it helps me estimate where I want to turn around on out-and-back courses, but I also realize that this is still a rather arbitrary constraint; I should be able to run as far as I feel without worrying about time and focus solely on effort and other physiological feedback. I should give this a try sometime, simply leave the watch at home and check the clock as I leave and then as I return to note the duration of the training run.

  • #18348

    cesar
    Participant

    I will give the watchless training a go. I often do easy runs without a watch and only have done hill repeats without a watch, in my next block of training i will last the whole training cycle of 3 months without taking a watch with me, we will see if the ignorance of time will help to meet new levels of performance by just listening to the body.

  • #18349

    Double
    Member

    Time and the watch have always been my master.  I have always timed my runs.  I do have easy days, but it is
    important for me to find an optimal pace FOR THE DAY.  I start slow and gradually increase pace all the way to the end.
    If you see runs in my log which read; misc., that means a random run all over the place so I have no idea how far I
    have traveled.  I have difficulty on courses where I know time markers.  I love putting the hammer down. 

  • #18350

    Ryan
    Keymaster

    If you see runs in my log which read; misc., that means a random run all over the place so I have no idea how far I
    have traveled.

    This is the one thing I miss about my watch, now about 2 weeks since my watch stopped working. If I wanted to just roam, I could do so and approximate my distance pretty accurately going by time. Now, it would be a very rough approximation of both time and distance.

    That said, tomorrow, I might need to do a very early morning run on snow covered roads. For safety, I might end up just doing laps around the neighborhood, something I've never done before. I'll just call it a half mile loop and set out. If I want 10 miles, I'll just do 20 laps and call it good. No time on it so it will be close enough.

    I have difficulty on courses where I know time markers.  I love putting the hammer down.

    This is where watch-free running has been big for me the past couple of weeks. I was apparently even subconsciously trying to put the hammer down. No watch? Nothing to measure myself against so no big deal if my 9 miler takes 70 minutes or more. Over the past few days, I've noticed my paces picking up as I think the consistency I couldn't manage while wearing the watch has been paying off.

  • #18351

    Andrew A.
    Member

    Time and the watch have always been my master.  I have always timed my runs.  I do have easy days, but it is
    important for me to find an optimal pace FOR THE DAY.  I start slow and gradually increase pace all the way to the end.

    I am roughly the same, though I let the pace come to me in the context of both the intent of the run (easy, tempo, repeats, long, etc.) and how I am feeling that day.  Effort dictates the pace and I only find out what the pace was after the run if at all.  The watch is really just there for archival purposes as well as to structure the workout (repeats by time, recovery intervals for repeats by distance, timing warmup/warmdown, etc.) for me. 

  • #18352

    Ryan
    Keymaster

    I am roughly the same, though I let the pace come to me in the context of both the intent of the run (easy, tempo, repeats, long, etc.) and how I am feeling that day.  Effort dictates the pace and I only find out what the pace was after the run if at all.  The watch is really just there for archival purposes as well as to structure the workout (repeats by time, recovery intervals for repeats by distance, timing warmup/warmdown, etc.) for me.

    That pretty much describes to a tee my use for the watch. This past couple of weeks has been an interesting lesson, though. I learned that, even though I didn't think I was, I was letting the watch dictate my effort level to some extent even if I wasn't looking at the watch. This is a lesson that I'm going to hold on to when I do decide to go ahead and get another watch. I'm going to be much more conscious of making sure the watch is indeed just for archival and for structuring workouts and is in no way affecting my effort levels.

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