What’s with the need for gadgets?

Welcome! Forums Running Forum What’s with the need for gadgets?

This topic contains 81 replies, has 17 voices, and was last updated by  Ryan 14 years, 8 months ago.

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  • #1276

    Ryan
    Keymaster

    As I surf my way through other forums, I notice some interesting comments.

    “I need my headphones to break the boredom/monotony of running.” My personal favorite. I can only think of one response. If you think running is so boring/monotonous, why the hell are you doing it? Come on, I don’t think a single one of the people who say this is making a living through running. That means it’s recreation, which means it’s supposed to be fun. If running is so boring and monotonous to you, find something that’s more exciting. Maybe you’d like riding a bike instead, maybe you’d like rollerblading. I know running isn’t for everyone and, if you need to wear headphones in order to break the boredom, maybe running isn’t for you. I love music but I would never let music ruin the greatness that lies within the simple act of running.

    “I used to be forced to run on the local high school track. Now that I have my GPS, I have the freedom to run anywhere.” Who was forcing you to run on the high school track? Why did the GPS suddenly give you this freedom? OK, so I know what they are getting at but come on, let’s be realistic. Does it really make a difference if I ran 7.2 miles at lunch today instead of 7 miles? Do I really need to take my splits every quarter mile so I know exactly how fast every portion of my run was? Lighten up people, running is supposed to be fun, not a chore. I haven’t officially measured a single route anywhere near my home and I’ve been living here for nearly 4 years. I have never even looked at a GPS but I have all the freedom in the world to go wherever I want on nearly every run I do, with the obvious exception of track workouts which don’t seem to happen any more frequently than 1-2 times a week. I really don’t think my running is suffering because I can’t take an infinite number of splits on every run I do and because I might have run 12.1 miles this past Saturday while only logging the run as 12 miles.

    “I need my HRM to run easy on my easy days.” OK, I’m not going to get into the whole HRM debate but I just find it inconceivable that people can’t figure out how to run easy without strapping gadgets on their bodies. How hard is it? Are you struggling by the end of your run? Then you’re not running easy. Do you finish your run feeling like you couldn’t run at least a couple more miles? Then you’re not running easy. Are you breathing so hard you couldn’t hold a conversation (conversational pace is a great tool)? Then you’re not running easy.

    I’m sure there are other comments that I’m missing but these seem to be the most frequent. If anyone has any idea of what I might be missing, please explain. These comments, especially the first two, baffle me.

  • #13632

    Woody
    Member

    I don’t know why I’m anwsering this question , I must be bored today 😀

    To me it’s such a personal thing that as long as your out running and moving it’s all good. I personally like to wear or run with a MP3 player, when I run alone or not on a trail where animals might be. If I’m with somebody or if I might hear a tree branch move and alert me of a animal then I want to be able to hear it. But I do enjoy a good tune to run with if i’m in the mood . I really don’t think it effects my run negative or positive just feel like some music some days.

    The GPS systems I find are interesting to me and I like the mechanics behind it. When I first started running I wanted to know every loop exactlly to chart my progress or pick the potatoes early and see progress right away. As I have a bunch of exactlly measured loops with spray painted mile markers from my first years, The more I run the less I use them and just run and guess on distances I think I can get within a tenth of a mile on a 10 mile run just by feel. If I really want to hit a workout and see where I’m at in my training I’ll go to the track or to a measured course I know about. For the most part I just run by minutes and just guess on the mileage. I do understand the people who use the gadgets and do see with their menatality how it free’s them up to just run and not worry about how far their running until there done. To them it allows them to not worry during their run that their missing an exact mile and in a reverse way let them run free. Like I said before at least their out moving.

    The HR monitor on easy runs– Although I have given Cameron a lot of Shit about this and the use of them . Me personally have found them very useful not only on Recovery runs , but also LT and other runs . Yes I can run an easy run without and I can feel when it is easy. But I feel a lot of runners go TOO FAST on there easy days and the monitor will help them slow down. It is easy to think you feel good and maybe if I run my easy runs faster than I will be in better shape or that means I am in better shape , instead of just using it as a recovery day for the next workday. I also like going on a measured loop every now and then run a 10 mile run at a certain HR and see if the time has improved while the HR has maintained the same the whole run. Example– 10 miles in 65 mins at 160 HR. Then 2 months later run 63 minutes at the same effort or 160 HR. Good way of measuring if your improving.

    By the way on the GPS or Nike foot pod I’ve tested a bunch of them for sales reps and I am not a big fan of them I feel if you can get one that gets within a tenth of a mile you really got a bargin. The best one I’ve seen or tried is the Forerunner201

    Woody

  • #13633

    Jeff
    Member

    Ryan,

    Copy and paste this post on the RW site. Reading some of the responses will be priceless.

    Jeff

  • #13634

    randys
    Participant

    Ryan,

    As someone who has, more or less, used all 3 of these gadgets at one time or another I feel I should respond.

    First, music while running; I can take it or leave it. When running outdoors (which is most of the time) I usually run without music. On the other hand when running indoors I almost always run with it.

    My reasons have nothing to do with safety. Anyone running with music turned up so loud they can’t hear is an idiot. The music is not the problem. I am more worried about the person driving down the road with his car stereo blasting, or worse, fiddling with the dials.

    I have held conversations with other runners I encountered on the road while one or both of us were wearing headsets. There is background music on the PA system in my office. It doesn’t hamper my ability to have a conversation or hear whets going on around me.

    So, why do I sometimes run with music? It’s not because I dislike running. When forced to run on the mill I find the music helps me with the boredom. On the roads I usually don’t run with music but sometimes do for easy runs. I found I focus better without music. Do I need much focus when out for an easy 5 mile recovery run? No. Sometimes I take the music along. Sometimes I don’t.

    Now for the GPS watch.

    This is the best running tool I have ever used. It has freed me to run anywhere I want; yet still know exactly how far, and at what pace. Will this be important to me 10 years from now? Probably not. But right now I need to train myself to run a selected pace, I need to be able to establish realistic goals for my races and I need to monitor if I am gaining fitness from my training.

    I go on long runs on roads and streets I have never before traveled. I discover new routes almost every weekend. Yet, when I return home I can see, with precision, how far I ran and how fast. This helps me determine if my race goals are reasonable or if I should adjust them.

    In a 22 mile long run, being off by ½ mile is a huge difference in pace. I could set myself up to run a pace on race day that is not sustainable, or just as bad, hold back when I am capable of more.

    I feel that as a runner gains experience it becomes easier for them to judge pace and distance and the need for measured routes and gps witches goes down. For me, at this stage, I find them a very useful tool.

    Finally, the HRM

    This is also another tool that doesn’t have to become an obsession. I don’t depend upon it to run and in fact use it only occasionally. Perhaps a few times a month, more often if I am on the treadmill.

    Like knowing my pace and distance the information I get from a hrm helps me determine my fitness. When I discover that the pace that pushed my heart rate to 80% two months ago is barely above 70% now it validates that my training is having a positive impact. Knowing my pace at a given hr% also helps in determining race pace.

    Finally,

    I see all of the above items as tools. Take’em or leave’em. I have used them all at various times but I don’t depend upon any of them (well, maybe the gps watch). I would enjoy running with or without them. Most importantly I see no down side to the gps and the hrm. Although some see a danger in the headphones I really don’t see a downside to them either. Some runners don’t keep a log, others keep elaborate, detailed logs. It’s a matter of personal preference and not a sign of how much someone enjoys the sport. None of these devices should make anyone feel less a runner because of there use.

    Randy

  • #13635

    Ryan
    Keymaster

    Jeff, I guess I just don’t have the time and energy for that right now.

    Woody and Randy, I’m talking about the specific quotes I gave. I see them repeatedly and they don’t make sense to me. It’s not about being “more of a runner” or “less of a runner”, it’s about common sense. If you find running boring or monotonous, find something that is more fun. You’re doing it as a recreational activity. Why should recreation be boring or monotonous. If you find it that way, it’s time to find another way to spend your recreation time. The safety issue with headphones is another issue but let’s just say I’ve run into runners with headphones and been pepper sprayed a couple of times by runners with headphones. I’m sure they would have said before their runs that they weren’t affecting the safety of themselves or anyone else. That’s until I get pepper spray to the face or they turn into me because they couldn’t hear me and end up sprawled out on the ground.

    As for the GPS units, it just doesn’t make sense to me. There are certain workouts where a specific pace and/or distance is required. The track is good for these workouts because it also offers a uniform route to run on. For the other workouts, I still don’t understand what the big deal is if you go a little long or short.

    I can understand some claims for uses of HRMs. However, when it’s “I need it to run easy” I have to question a person’s discipline. There are simple body signals that you can note to tell if you’re running easy or not. If you pay attention to those signals and respond properly to them, you will run easy when you want to.

  • #13636

    randys
    Participant

    Ryan,

    I agree that many runners with headphones are a hazard to themselves and to other runners. I only wanted to say that a responsible person can wear them safely.

    Too bad you can’t identify who’s responsible when approaching from behind. Your examples of what can happen make that very clear.

    My main point is that music, gps, and hrm’s are no more than what you called them, ‘gadgets’. Under the right conditions I find they can be useful.

    On the treadmill, music has helped me make it through long runs. when I could’nt safely go outdoors because of heavy snow.

    On the roads, gps has given me the same freedom that people who pay little attention to ‘exact’ distances and paces have, yet not give up having that precision when I get home from the run. The best of both worlds.

    And the hrm; an occasional run with the hrm helps me decide the best training paces based on my condition.

    Gadgets, to be sure. Important, not really. I would run as much without any or all of them. Do I want to stand on the treadmill for 9 miles with only the sound of the motor, or run for a couple of hours and only estimate my distance, or based on feel alone decide my training paces. Not if I have convienent, cheap, easy to use gadgets available.

    I also see your point, anyone who becomes dependant on, or cannot run without, these ‘toys’ probably is spending his time in the wrong recreational activity.

    It may also be something that changes over time and with experience.

    I have only been running for a little over 2 years. In the early months I ran every run with music. Now, unless I am on the mill, I almost never run with music.

    Same thing for the hrm, I once ran every run with it and even adjusted my pace during the run based on the hrm. Now I run most often by feel alone and use the hrm only once in a while to measure progress and help decide training paces.

    Even the gps is being used in a different way today than when I began running. More often than not I don’t even look at it while running anymore. I estimate the distance and only verify my distance and pace after the run is over.

    As I gain experience I suspect how much I use gadgets, and the way that I use them (if at all), will continue to evolve. New runners, and after 27 months I consider myself ‘new’ are still learning and I think gadgets speed up the learning process.

    I think I have a pretty good sense of pace for someone running only 2 years. I can estimate within +/- 15 seconds or so. I bet many of the more experienced runners here can probably run +/- 5 seconds of any desired pace. With the constant feedback I think this skill improves faster than it would if I ‘estimated’ distances. In a few years I bet I can run +/- 5 seconds too. Than I may give up my favorite gadget, the gps.

    Randy

  • #13637

    Jason
    Member

    I agree that you shouldn’t be bored running because it is somehting you live to do. They can be a big distraction for some runner, especialy with the way that drivers seem to look out for runners.

    Headphones have also become an issue in college track meets because people walk across the track and don’t see runners are coming because they are to into there music. In DIII the NCAA actually just put a ban on all headphones and cell phones in copetition areas for this reason. I am not sure if other division have or are going to do the same thing.

  • #13638

    Zeke
    Member
    Jason wrote:
    Headphones have also become an issue in college track meets because people walk across the track and don’t see runners are coming because they are to into there music. In DIII the NCAA actually just put a band on all headphones and cell phones in copetition areas for this reason.

    So they replaced the headphones with a band at the track meets? What a great idea. Maybe that’ll lead to more spectators too.

    Sorry, I couldn’t resist. 🙂

  • #13639

    Ryan
    Keymaster
    RandyS wrote:
    I agree that many runners with headphones are a hazard to themselves and to other runners. I only wanted to say that a responsible person can wear them safely.

    Too bad you can’t identify who’s responsible when approaching from behind. Your examples of what can happen make that very clear.

    Although safety is a real concern as I can attest to with personal experience, that wasn’t my point of this post. My point was about the people who insist that they “need” the headphones to get through a run because it’s too “boring” or “monotonous” to get through without. If running is really that boring or monotonous, why are you doing it? Find something that’s fun. After all, this is your recreation time.

    RandyS wrote:
    New runners, and after 27 months I consider myself ‘new’ are still learning and I think gadgets speed up the learning process.

    From my observations, using these gadgets slows down the learning process in key abilities like learning to listen to your body. People become so reliant on their gadgets that they never learn their body signals and then end up injured, “even though I was running at XX% of my heartrate or at Y:ZZ pace.” Well, if you were paying attention to that sore knee, maybe you would have noticed something is wrong.

  • #13640

    Anonymous

    have a few and have run with people who are so into their continual data flow (pace/rate/time/distance) that they missed the beauty of the day…

    I’m fairly obsessive but luckily I get bored by the gadgets and always seem to revert to enjoying the run… it seems to go in cycles… sign up for a race, plan my training, get enthused, get into whatever tool I happen to be using for that cycle… then I have a recovery day or my kid decides to come along on his bike for a long run and we enjoy the day…two weeks ago we saw a deer of the side of the trail and stopped and watched it… forget timing that run… but the whole day was more enjoyable…

    as for those who NEED the constant entertainment of headphones… maybe you’re running in the wrong places… though on an icy day on a treadmill I have turned on a radio or TV to get me through it and sometimes I have so many things to think about I use the time to brainstorm…

    on the other hand, if they are responsible (right) and it gets them off the couch… good for them… I was thinking that I wanted a hands free device to run with so I could call home and let who ever was there know they should put the laundry into the dryer…

    -r-at-work

  • #13641

    Peter
    Member

    When I get done w/ a particularly hard effort workout, I like to check my HR (usually by placing my hand over my heart). Check it for 15-20 seconds. 55 seconds later, I check it again. Repeat 2 more times. I know how good of shape I am in if my HR hits or approaches my max (180-185), and it drops to below 120 after 3 minutes (the last time I check). This morning, after a nice LT workout, where I ran the last 3 miles at 6:35 pace, I was at 182 when I stopped, 141 a minute later, 127 two minutes later, and 119 at three minutes… Then I did a cooldown jog. Maybe I get too used to checking my mile splits during my runs, but most of my miles are run on country roads where the intersections are every mile, so it makes it pretty easy to do it.

    Bottom line, like Woody said, you do what you need to gauge your progress. We all do it a bit differently. As for music, I’ll just think of Double listening to the Sex Pistols — that’s all I need 😛

  • #13642

    ferris
    Member

    I am posting for 2 reasons:

    1. just to chime in

    2. to fight the stigma of a “lurker” 😀

    99% of the time I run witout music, but every now and then I’ll take my iPod along, ususally if I am forced to hit the treadmill. It changes things up a bit, and it makes me hammer! btw…iPod may be the coolest invention ever.

    as for the GPS comment…thats just weird, get a life, venture outside the bubble.

    I recently got a HRM for my wife, I wear it once in a while and I am surprised by how SLOW I actually have to go on easy days if I go according to HR, and, trust me, I have no problem with runing easy on easy days. I debate HRM’s with my buddies all the time (who are mainly Tri-Geeks now) and they swear by them.It’s kind of a preference thing. I used to be as aganst then as you are, Ryan, but I am starting to see some logic in them, I could rant about the pros and cons of them, but I have classes to teach right now! man, why does work always have to get in the way.

    good day, all.

    Ryan…..you headed to WW for Nats this weekend? I’ll be there with some of the old LAX boys. (possible Altergott sighting!)

  • #13643

    Ryan
    Keymaster

    I think everyone is missing my original point. I wasn’t even trying to get into the pros and cons of the gadgets. Instead, I’m addressing the statements of “need” for these. If you NEED headphones for every run in order to cope with the boredom of running, running probably isn’t your thing. Find a different sport that you don’t find so boring. If you NEED a GPS in order to be able to explore new routes and not end up on the local high school track for every single run, well, I think you have to lighten up a bit. If you NEED a HRM to tell you not to race every day, I think you have to learn to be more in touch with your body.

    All one should NEED in order to run is a pair of shoes and clothing appropriate for the weather. Even a watch shouldn’t be a NEED but more of a useful tool.

    Ferris, I wanted to see if I could get down there on Saturday but there are too many things going on this weekend. I’ll be lucky to have time to sit down and check my e-mail once or twice this weekend with the schedule it looks like I’m going to have.

  • #13644

    Anonymous

    If you NEED a GPS in order to be able to explore new routes and not end up on the local high school track for every single run, well, I think you have to lighten up a bit

    Randy

    On the roads, gps has given me the same freedom that people who pay little attention to ‘exact’ distances and paces have

    Runners who use these like i said in the other post actually feel more relaxed , because it reduces the anxiety of how far did they run and don’t worry about it during their run and do what you say enjoy it more. so for these individuals it’s a plus. If you say they should be able to do it without the Gps period, well it’s just in their personality to do so who cares as long as their enjoying the run.

    Alright I’m out the door for an easy 10— I’m going to wear a GPS monitor on my right arm, a Heart Rate Montior on my chest , two different watches and a MP3 player , just to see if I can enjoy my run. Oh Yeah almost forgot and sing out loud some good SEX PISTOLS . Long Live Johnny Rotten! 😆

    Drow- OUT

  • #13645

    finnegan
    Member

    I use the buillding shadows to keep my pace and distance during the day and at night I will generally go by the position of the moon, or if it’s really early just go by the constellations, but that’s almost like cheating. As far as my HR, if I can’t bust out the song from deliverance on my harmonica, then I am clearly running to fast. Also, I know I’ve run too far if my running shorts (a burlap sack that my pappy fashioned for me) starts to chafe. I also don’t drink gatorade or eat goo, I usually pick some berries or kill a snake or two for nourishment and take drinks from a nearby bayou. I don’t worry about shoe mileage, the old steel belt tires that I strap to the bottoms of my feet with kite string usually go for about 35,000-40,000 miles, so I’m good for a couple of years.

    Every once in a while a pack of coyotes will give me a good chase, would ya’ll consider that a tempo run or speedwork??

  • #13646

    cameron
    Member
    Woody wrote:
    The HR monitor on easy runs– Although I have given Cameron a lot of Shit about this and the use of them .

    😆 no harm no foul

    i’m planning on using the HRM for ice age if i can get my lazy @ss out the door and get in those long runs. we’ll see if it helps keep my effort in check…

  • #13647

    Jason
    Member

    Zeke

    So they replaced the headphones with a band at the track meets? What a great idea. Maybe that’ll lead to more spectators too.

    Sorry, I couldn’t resist.

    Guess that is why I am a math major and not a english major.

  • #13648

    Anonymous

    Why is it that I try to enjoy a perfectly good day then somebody has to ruin it?

    Why do runners wear earphones?

    Why do people continue driving even though the light has turned red?

    Who leaves only one piece of crust in the bread baggie?

    Why is it?

    A. Rooney

  • #13649

    ferris
    Member

    Ryan, you ask why people NEED these things..well, that question starts to open Pandora’s box. I mean, why do we NEED a BMW when a Pinto will still get us there (maybe). For the most part, all I NEED for my run is a pair of shorts and shoes.

    I think if we get into the whole WANT vs NEED of gadgets and things, we’ll have a strain of posts that looks like it belongs on RW…….BAD!BAD![/b]

  • #13650

    Evets Sberk
    Member

    Personally I find anything other than the clothes on the body ruin the Zenn aspect of the whole thing for me. I never know what to say when someone gives me a nice new running watch because I know its going unopened in the box in a drawer. Even racing I never a watch, I find I race better if I race by feel 🙄 …..different stokes I guess

  • #13651

    magpie
    Member

    I consider it nothing more than yet another manifestation of the convenience/instant gratification trend that society is careening along in the comfy confines of a handbasket — as well as signifying that there are those who are likely not cut out to exceed in the sport. Many of these people do not have the patience or dedication/will to trust the process and see something through that does not have a relatively immediate payoff. A lot of them would significantly alter how they train every two weeks because what they want to see is not happening soon enough.

    Headphones – if people really do not enjoy running enough to do it consistently without feeling any yen to distract themselves from the task at hand, then what does that say? I think Sir Sebastian Coe put it well: “By and large, a person who notices the scenery or the Wagner or whatever is playing in his hears cannot possibly be working as hard as he should be.” Also, attempts to downplay the potential danger amount to nothing more than so much rationalization; any sound that can be heard directly will come at the expense of hearing other sounds in the background — this is a no-brainer.

    GPS – something I might consider using . . . if I were given one to use for free. Truth is, though, it would not change one bit how I train, either for better or for worse. Not much sense in doling out dollars for something that would obviously make zero positive impact. It is really no trouble (or source of anxiety (!)) at all to estimate the length of any route I chose, even if it is a wholly unfamiliar one — and, fact is, it truly benefits me and my training and racing none to know the course length any more accurately than that. I suspect that a good number of those who have such a hard-on for this gadget are going to be the types who monitor the pace every minute, if not more often — how freeing and enjoyable, eh?

    HRM – another device — which I have used (it was generously bestowed upon me) — that did and would essentially tell me nothing that I did not already know. I would not need to know my heart rate (which is known to often fluctuate relative to pace/effort) to know when to slow down or speed up or when to take a day off, etc. I have enough discipline that I do not see any need or any sense in ceding that responsibility to a less-than-ideally-reliable form of feedback, especially when I already have a consitently reliable source: what my body tells me.

    When it boils down and the contrivances float away, this stuff is no more useful than a tach in a car with an automatic transmission. In fact, paying attention to such peripheral paraphenalia can often interfere with the learning process which will yield the best performances, as Ryan indicates. It is like handing a kid who does not know how to multiply or divide a calculator – he is never going to learn how to accomplish the task(s) without relying on the device.

  • #13652

    Ryan
    Keymaster
    magpie wrote:
    It is like handing a kid who does not know how to multiply or divide a calculator – he will never going to learn how to accomplish the task(s) without relying on the device.

    This made me think of my mother. Every child she knows gets a watch for their 6th birthday. When my niece got her watch, someone looked at it and said it’s not a digital watch, she doesn’t know how to tell time yet so it’s useless for her. My mother said that’s the idea, now she has reason to learn how to tell time. My brother and I never got digital watches until after we learned how to tell time. In second grade, while the rest of the class was learning how to tell time, I already knew so I got to do something different.

    As you pointed out, same thing goes with running. Rely too heavily on gadgets and you never really learn how to judge your pace or how to listen to your body. You just do what the gadget tells you to do. Given the facts of cardiac drift, you’re basically screwed when it’s race time and you’re trying to judge effort. As for pace, unless you want to strap your GPS on in a race, same thing goes for that. Personally, I’d rather learn to judge pace on my own and be as light as possible on race day.

    Still, if I go back to my original point, I can’t understand the NEED for these things. Is it impossible to run without distracting yourself? Impossible to run without knowing exactly how far you’re going and your precise pace every step of the way? Impossible to run without knowing how quickly your heart is beating? Someone should tell the Kenyans, Ethiopians, Japanese marathoners, etc. that all of this is impossible.

  • #13653

    magpie
    Member
    Ryan wrote:
    Someone should tell the Kenyans, Ethiopians, Japanese marathoners, etc. that all of this is impossible.

    Not to mention Bikila, Shorter, Rodgers, Salazar, and the hordes of sub-2:30 marathoners – heck, all marathoners and distance runners – in the 80s and earlier.

  • #13654

    randys
    Participant

    Why is it assumed that anyone who uses a GPS or HRM ‘NEEDS’ it. I know most people, myself included, would do just fine without them.

    If they did’nt exist I would still run as much as I do with them. So, I don’t ‘NEED’ to use them; I ‘WANT’ to use them.

    I don’t see the problem. Why should it matter what gadgets someone else uses. If you don’t WANT to use a GPS or HRM, don’t use it. What possible concern is that of anyone else.

    I have many things that I WANT, but don’t NEED. Should I tare down my exercise room and go to the gym, pave over the swimming pool and start going to the beach, maybe sell the Jaguar and get a Volkswagan.

    Why not have a discussion about these things. Why do I NEED them?

    What I find more interesting then the question of why people use these devices is why people who don’t need to discuss it at all. Everyone knows what the devices do, some people find them useful, some don’t. What more needs to be said?

    And magpie, what difference does it make to me what items ‘Bikila, Shorter, Rodgers, Salazar, and the hordes of sub-2:30 marathoners’ used or did’nt use? If it makes you feel more like these greats by not using a GPS then by all means don’t use one.

    Randy

  • #13655

    Jeff
    Member

    I actually have every one of these gadgets.

    HRM- Hate it. Wasted my money on it. Didn’t think I needed it but thought it would be “neat”. I found that it held me back from exploring my true potential. I would be willing to bet this happens to A LOT of beginners and they don’t even realize it.

    Headphones- Can’t wear them while running. Too much of an avoidance.

    GPS- Love it. I like the fact that I can go anywhere and still know how far I ran. I like to keep track of all my mileage. After the run I enjoy going to the “recall” option on the gps and checking out all of my splits. I realise you can still keep mile splits with a regular watch but you can’t if you have never run the course and don’t know the exact mileage, this is where the gps comes in handy. Most days I don’t care about splits and just run. But when I do want to know my splits this is a very accurate and easy way to do just that.

    Jeff

  • #13656

    Ryan
    Keymaster
    RandyS wrote:
    Why is it assumed that anyone who uses a GPS or HRM ‘NEEDS’ it. I know most people, myself included, would do just fine without them.

    It’s not assumed. See my original post. I’m talking about specific statements of “I NEED headphones to overcome the boredom of running” (in which case why are you filling your recreational time with something that is so boring?) or “the GPS gives me the freedom to run anywhere I want” (because it’s impossible to do so without a GPS?) or “I NEED the HRM to keep my easy days easy” (because you couldn’t possibly run easy without constantly monitoring your heart rate?). If you WANT it, knock yourself out. I’m trying to understand the statements of NEED. I’ve actually tried to ask someone why they NEEDED a GPS in order to run wherever they felt like it and they actually told me it’s impossible to run wherever they feel like it without one because they wouldn’t know the exact distance they ran or their exact pace. Are exact distance and exact pace that crucial? In that case, I guess I’m destined for failure because I know my exact distance and exact pace probably no more than 10% of the time (of course, I don’t have an exact percentage either, probably closer to 5%).

  • #13657

    Jeff
    Member
    Ryan wrote:
    RandyS wrote:
    Why is it assumed that anyone who uses a GPS or HRM ‘NEEDS’ it. I know most people, myself included, would do just fine without them.

    It’s not assumed. See my original post. I’m talking about specific statements of “I NEED headphones to overcome the boredom of running” (in which case why are you filling your recreational time with something that is so boring?) or “the GPS gives me the freedom to run anywhere I want” (because it’s impossible to do so without a GPS?) or “I NEED the HRM to keep my easy days easy” (because you couldn’t possibly run easy without constantly monitoring your heart rate?). If you WANT it, knock yourself out. I’m trying to understand the statements of NEED. I’ve actually tried to ask someone why they NEEDED a GPS in order to run wherever they felt like it and they actually told me it’s impossible to run wherever they feel like it without one because they wouldn’t know the exact distance they ran or their exact pace. Are exact distance and exact pace that crucial? In that case, I guess I’m destined for failure because I know my exact distance and exact pace probably no more than 10% of the time (of course, I don’t have an exact percentage either, probably closer to 5%).

    Interesting. I haven’t actually been around anyone that thought they NEEDED these things to run. All of the people that I’m familiar with that use these things, use them because they think they are handy.

    I’m quite new still so I haven’t been around all that many other runners.

    If you have run into people that think this way, I agree, maybe they need another form of recreation.

    If you don’t know your exact distance no more than 5% of the time, how do you keep such accurate logs?

    To each his/her own, I guess.

    Jeff

  • #13658

    magpie
    Member

    Although my post was not directly to you, since you indicate that your response is (at least in part) directed to moi . . .

    RandyS wrote:
    Why is it assumed that anyone who uses a GPS or HRM ‘NEEDS’ it[?] I know most people, myself included, would do just fine without them.

    It is not assumed. Have you been paying attention?

    If they [didn’t] exist I would still run as much as I do with them. So, I don’t ‘NEED’ to use them; I ‘WANT’ to use them.

    Knock yourself out, tiger. 😀

    I don’t see the problem. Why should it matter what gadgets someone else uses. If you don’t WANT to use a GPS or HRM, don’t use it. What possible concern is that of anyone else.

    You may be unable to see the problem because there is not one. Not for me, anyway. The concern, however, is regarding how the sport is being dumbed down, and the proliferation of said devices is another sign, if not a method, of its demise.

    I have many things that I WANT, but don’t NEED. Should I [tear] down my exercise room and go to the gym, pave over the swimming pool and start going to the beach, maybe sell the Jaguar and get a [Volkswagen][?]

    Do whatever you want. Any sense of entitlement on your part does not hold me or anyone else back.

    Why not have a discussion about these things. Why do I NEED them?

    Oh, I dunno . . . maybe because they do not have much at all to do with running?

    What I find more interesting then the question of why people use these devices is why people who don’t need to discuss it at all. Everyone knows what the devices do, some people find them useful, some don’t. What more needs to be said?

    Heck, why discuss anything at all? Free expression is such a waste of time and effort, as is critical thinking. Never question, just accept. Ja, mein fuhrer! 😉

    And magpie, what difference does it make to me what items ‘Bikila, Shorter, Rodgers, Salazar, and the hordes of sub-2:30 marathoners’ used or [didn’t] use? If it makes you feel more like these greats by not using a GPS then by all means don’t use one.

    Clearly the analogy was lost on you. If it makes no difference to you, then that sums things up neatly. In that case, my post(s), including the above quoted passage, likely had and have nothing at all to do with you.

  • #13659

    Ryan
    Keymaster
    Jeff wrote:
    If you don’t know your exact distance no more than 5% of the time, how do you keep such accurate logs?

    Have I ever made any claims about the accuracy of my logs? To the contrary, I have stated frequently that I probably run a few miles per week more than I log because I tend to underestimate the distance I run in the interest of making sure I don’t overestimate. There’s a reason I only log my distances to the mile instead of logging to the half mile or tenth of a mile like some people do. If I think I ran 7.2 miles, I just figure no harm done in calling it 7 miles.

    Just this past week, I realized I have probably been running primarily in the 7:15-7:20 pace range, if not a bit faster, when I’ve been estimating all along that I was running in the 7:30 pace range. That didn’t change my log. According to my log, I ran 69 miles last week with most of my runs in the 7:30 pace range. I know it was likely 70+ miles but that’s just not a concern to me.

  • #13660

    randys
    Participant

    magpie,

    What I meant in my final comment was: Wearing a GPS watch will not make me (or you) a better or worse runner than without it. Overall the post was otherwise not directly specifically at you.

    I am a mid-pack runner, with or without the GPS, and my potential is not related to what gadgets I use while training.

    And Bikila, Shorter, Rodgers and Salazar are elite runners; and would be with or without a GPS watch.

    A runner is not going to become better or worse simply by virtue of putting on (or taking off) a GPS watch.

    So how many ways do I have to say it. I wear a GPS because I like it and want the information it provided me. I like to know how far I run, exactly how far I run.

    For those that are not interested in the accuracy a GPS provides; great. I don’t post questions about why they don’t NEED more accuracy. I like that information and again I do not see how having that information changes anything.

    Randy

  • #13661

    Jeff
    Member

    Don’t get defensive. I’ve viewed your log section on the site and they appeared to be well kept and I assumed accurate.

    Being new at this, I thought maybe you knew something I didn’t about how to keep track of your mileage and all. That’s all.

    Jeff

  • #13662

    Ryan
    Keymaster

    It could be possible that the gadgets do affect your performance, though. If you are so focused on your gadgets that it takes focus away from your training, it will affect you. I have seen this happen with all kinds of gadgets.

    As the Coe quote offered by magpie states, you only have so much focus to go around. If you put your focus somewhere other than running, that’s taking focus away from running. I’m not going to judge you if you choose to do that but realize that taking focus away from your training will likely lead to performance detriment.

    Again, I’m not concerned with whether anyone wants to strap gadgets on to themselves unless the use of those gadgets endangers me, which is a whole other topic. What I’m trying to understand are the statements of NEED. Some people seem to seriously believe they NEED these things and I have yet to hear reasoning for this feeling of NEED.

    BTW: Not getting defensive. I feel no need to be defensive in this thread.

  • #13663

    randys
    Participant

    Ryan,

    I think, of the 3 items you listed, music is the one we most often hear people refer to as being ‘NEEDED’ to run. .

    Most who say this don’t run, as you say, for recreation or sport. The goal is weight lose or weight control, or to lower blood pressure or some other fitness goal, maybe cross training for soccer season. Whatever the peripheral goal; its not running in and of itself. They would be just as unhappy spending the same amount of time on a stepper, or rowing machine, or whatever device.

    Not everyone that runs does it for the enjoyment of running. I’m not saying that everyone wearing a headset fits this category but probably many that, as you say, ‘NEED’ music do.

    The GPS and HRM are not items I hear people often say they NEED.

    These I classify more as things people WANT or LIKE when they run. For them, and I include myself in that, it adds to the running experience.

    Some people may become obsessive with these things and that may cause some of the focus problems you refer to. Most users I think are not that caught up with the device but for those that are you have a valid point.

    On most runs I only glance at the GPS when I am in the last mile or so, or not until I reach the driveway at the end. Now, after the run, I can review my splits, compare them to how I felt at each part of the run, know my overall pace compared to that same run over the past few weeks. Having this information took no focus away while I was running since I never even looked at the watch (they automatically store the split information, so in that way they require LESS focus than a standard running watch).

    Are there times when I do watch the GPS more during a run. Sure, tonight I am doing intervals. I could drive to the track but now I have another option. If I choose, and I will tonight, I can just head out the door and after a warm up do near perfect 1 mile intervals at the planned pace. Do I need to stare at the watch for the entire interval, no, usually I look only when I feel I am close to the end of each mile and based on that feedback adjust for the next one.

    Does everyone need a GPS to do this. No, many people can do it by feel, or estimate it, or don’t even care about time at all. Others like to know this information with more precision.

    Simply using GPS or HRM does’nt indicate anything about how focused someone is. Heck, I could be out for an easy run in nothing but shorts and shoes but still be focused on a problem at work. In fact I often solve problems from work while doing easy runs. Every run does’nt require 100% focus for me to gain the benefit intended for the workout.

    At least when it comes to easy or recovery runs. In fact I wonder how much enjoyment running can be for someone who maintains 100% focus on every run.

    Last night, I got home late, it was dark and I had an easy 10 miles on my schedule. I went out and took in the sights and sounds of the night. I focused very little on the run, just made sure I was’nt pushing things to hard (I did intervals the day before and need to do so again tonight, so it was supposed to be an easy run).

    I often got lost in thoughts of upcoming projects at work, or things I wanted to do over the weekend, the miles rolled by without me noticing.

    When I had gone 5 miles I turned around. When I got home my GPS said 9.77 miles. I turned it off and went inside. Nope, did’nt run around my driveway to get to exactly 10. Wearing it had no impact on my run but later that night I could check my splits.

    Turns out I averaged 8:38, from an 8:52 slow mile to a 8:23 fast one. My goal pace for an easy run is 8:40 so I was pretty close. And its all in my log book, on my laptop, along with every other run and split going back to December. It all happens automatically, never needed to look at the watch or touch it until I get home (if I choose not to look). Plug it into its charger and the information loads into the log book by itself.

    fwiw: The log shows your pace, over any interval you choose, and your elevation too. All this is displayed on both graphs and numerically and is maintained automatically. Some people like this information, others don’t. I do like it and see no harm in having it.

    So, if you don’t let it become an obsession, I think its the greatest running accessory you can buy.

    Randy

  • #13664

    magpie
    Member
    RandyS wrote:
    What I meant in my final comment was: Wearing a GPS watch will not make me (or you) a better or worse runner than without it. Overall the post was otherwise not directly specifically at you.

    Well, to point out the obvious, nothing in my posts in this thread has really been about you or me. Some of us were merely exchanging general observations and some laughs. I have no earthly idea why you have chosen to make it personal or take issue with it at all.

    I am a mid-pack runner, with or without the GPS, and my potential is not related to what gadgets I use while training.

    No kidding. Said gadgets also have no impact on how close you will come to your own potential.

    And Bikila, Shorter, Rodgers and Salazar are elite runners; and would be with or without a GPS watch.

    The point was that they did not need a GPS watch (or HRM or headphones) to reach their potentials — and that this fact would transcend ability level.

    A runner is not going to become better or worse simply by virtue of putting on (or taking off) a GPS watch.

    I think I knew that. I have indicated, implicitly or otherwise, nothing to the contrary.

    So how many ways do I have to say it. I wear a GPS because I like it and want the information it provided me. I like to know how far I run, exactly how far I run.

    Great, but I cannot see how this would be of any concern to me or has anything to do with what I have stated regarding said devices in this thread.

    For those that are not interested in the accuracy a GPS provides; great. I don’t post questions about why they don’t NEED more accuracy. I like that information and again I do not see how having that information changes anything.

    I agree, having said information does not change a damn thing. This is why I deem such devices which provide feedback that does not lead to improved performance to be ultimately useless for serious runners.

  • #13665

    magpie
    Member
    RandyS wrote:
    Wearing a GPS watch will not make me (or you) a better or worse runner than without it.

    RandyS wrote:
    A runner is not going to become better or worse simply by virtue of putting on (or taking off) a GPS watch.

    RandyS wrote:
    I think its the greatest running accessory you can buy.

    🙄

  • #13666

    randys
    Participant

    magpie,

    it should be obvious. You are a ‘serious’ runner and I am not.

    Or maybe your posts make you feel like a serious runner. Why waste your valuable time discussing anything with ‘recreational’ runners using useless devices.

    Shouldn’t you be out training or doing some ‘serious’ running?

    Of course, all those ‘serious’ running coaches, with published books (something I suspect you have never done) never fail to discuss heart rate and proper training pace. Guess they must not be targeting the ‘serious’ runner with these books.

    One of those elite runners from your prior post, Alberto Salazar, in his book ‘Guide to Road Racing: Championship Advice for Faster Times from 5K to Marathon” recommends both pace/distance monitors (they didn’t have gps units when it was published) and heart rate monitors. Throughout the book he discusses proper heart rate for different workouts as well as proper pace.

    He must not be a ‘serious’ a runner to discuss these useless gadgets.

    I could say the same for many books on my shelf but I picked this one since you put his name on your list of elite runners.

    So for now I will continue to use my useless gadgets, perhaps someday I will stop and join the ranks of the ‘serious’ runners like you.

    Randy

  • #13667

    magpie
    Member

    I apparently knew essentially nothing of you or your intentions. I thought that you were the one who had asked about potential in another thread, but I was not paying close attention and could be wrong. I do not know why I bothered replying to your post except that I thought it would be unseemly to ignore someone who had addressed me seemingly in earnest, but perhaps you would prefer that I do so. You have not made clear what my running could possibly have to do with any of this, or what business it could be of yours. Seems a rather petty point to try to make.

    RandyS wrote:
    Of course, all those ‘serious’ running [coaches], with published books (something I suspect you have never done) never fail to discuss heart rate and proper training pace. Guess they must not be targeting the ‘serious’ runner with these books.

    No, I have not published a book, though it is entirely uncertain what that could have to do with anything. Are you trying to imply that only those who have been published know what they are talking about? I am also unsure what you would consider a “serious running coach” so that makes it difficult to really refute that which you are trying to claim. I can attest that nothing I have read from Lydiard, Bowerman, Dellinger, etc. has mentioned heart rate or iron-clad training pace. Your final guess is may indeed be correct, though.

    RandyS wrote:
    One of those elite runners from your prior post, Alberto Salazar, in his book ‘Guide to Road Racing: Championship Advice for Faster Times from 5K to Marathon” recommends both pace/distance monitors (they [didn’t] have gps units when it was published) and heart rate monitors. Throughout the book he discusses proper [heart] rate for different workouts as well as pace.

    “They” also did not have heart rate monitors or GPS units when Salazar was running his best. Doubtful that he would have been better by using either. There is no refuting that, obviously, pace can be key in certain kinds of workouts — but at the same time, a GPS or distance monitor is certainly not necessary in that regard. Regardless, it should have been apparent that I held Salazar up to be considered an example of an athlete who doubtlessly reached his full potential — however, I would be loath to point to him as a successful coach. Another formerly superb runner, Jeff Galloway, who never took an intentional walk break while qualifying for the Olympics or in his own best marathon performances, recommends walk breaks for everyone, from back-packer to world class, as an avenue of improvement in marathon performance. In summary, just because a former running great puts it in print does not mean that I would be gullible enough to swallow it as gospel. I consider advice upon the merits that support it, not the mere fact that someone with a name from his competitive days and a book to sell suggests it.

    RandyS wrote:
    He must not be a ‘serious’ a runner to discuss these useless gadgets.

    Well, if you say so. I do not think that he used them as a runner, though, since none of them were available at that time.

    All that aside, this thread, including my posts, pertained to those who feel that their running success and enjoyment depends upon these devices. If that does not include you — I believe that you did state that you do not NEED them and in fact could get along quite well without them — then why has your input here been so personal and fervent? It simply does not follow. Also realize that nothing that has followed my initial two posts in this thread has refuted anything stated within them.

    Finally, I honestly could not care less about how you or anyone else chooses to train and race — I do like to see people enjoying exceeding and doing well, but the end result does not affect me in any real way.

  • #13668

    r-at-work
    Member

    okay all… play nice 😉

    I’m old & slow, but I work as hard as I can at this and I would like to think that some of the gadget might help a bit… no illisions of instant improvement… but I’m still learning the basics, like pace & effort…

    I have used a HRM (husband gave it to me one Christmas)… what I discovered was that on my usual lunch time loop I was slowing down towards the end… I hadn’t noticed it till I wore the HRM and noticed that between mile 3 and 4 my HR dropped significantly… the effort felt the same… this was during a base building phase, not a targeted workout, so I tried just picking up the pace on that last mile to keep my HR up in the range I thought it should be…

    for awhile I was wearing it once a week to see if I was at the right pace… guess that during that month or so (I was coming back from a slight injury) I was getting in better shape without realizing it…

    I don’t wear it more often because I do find it distracting.. usually don’t even wear a watch… on the other hand sometimes it’s fun to see improvement or just to make a correction in pace or effort… I look forward to a time when I KNOW how I’m doing without them…

    -r

  • #13669

    randys
    Participant

    Here is an example of how my gps watch was used this week and why I find it useful.

    I began speed workouts this week. For the next few weeks I will do 6 x 1 mile repeats @ 7:00 pace, with 1 mile recovery jogs. Depending on the long run distance for that week I do 1 or 2 of these per week.

    I did two speed workouts this week; the first on Tuesday and the second on Thursday. My last speed workout was back in October, since then I have been running base with some tempo runs and hill workouts.

    For the Tuesday workout I set my gps watch to record splits at 1 mile intervals. I also set it to ‘beep’ at each split. I began running and each time the watch ‘beeped’ I would alternate a repeat with a recovery jog. I didn’t look at the watch or use it to establish my pace. I did peek at the ‘split’ distance every once in a while to see how close I was to beginning the next repeat (or how close to the end of a repeat), but didn’t take note of the time or pace I was running.

    I was interested in seeing how well I could estimate my pace and see if my perceived pace was close to my actual pace. After the run, while I was getting cleaned up, the watch downloaded the run into the log-book software. I was shocked at the results.

    My planned pace, 7:00 mpm based on a pace calculator at McMillan running for a 3:30 marathoner, was not even close to what I actually ran.

    My splits were 6:27, 6:35, 6:41, 6:32, 6:46 and 6:37.

    These are not even close to what I should be doing in this workout. I managed to collect this information with no action on my part during the run since it was handled automatically.

    Seeing how far off I was on Tuesday I changed my tactics on Thursday. I set the watch the same as on Tuesday but I monitored my pace while running each interval and adjusted based on the feedback.

    All my splits last night were in the range of 6:47 to 7:06. Much closer to my planned pace and after the first few I found I needed to refer to the watch less and less to hit my goal. Thanks to the feedback I was beginning to get a ‘feel’ for the pace I was trying to run.

    I found the gps very helpful when doing these workouts. Last year when I last ran intervals I didn’t have a gps watch and I would not have been able to do this workout like I did.

    I would have had to go to the track, or run on a measured route. Since both of these workouts were done at night I wanted to run closer to home, on well lit streets instead of the dark track at the HS.

    The point of this post is not to suggest that the gps watch made possible something I could not have done some other way. But it helped me do the workout the way I choose to do it.

    I see no down-side here, its no more or less a tool than a standard runners watch. Which pretty much all runners, serious to recreational, wear? I plan to wear it in my marathon in May instead of my old watch. Not to monitor my progress (the course has mile markers), nor to regulate my pace, but simply to take advantage of the ‘automatic’ split feature so that I can review my race later that day. Much easier than remembering to press the ‘split’ button on my regular watch (or remembering to stop it when I cross the finish, something I have forgotten to do in 5 prior marathons).

    In fact it was easier to review my workouts this week because of the auto split then it was with my old watch where I had to remember to press the ‘split’ button after each repeat.

    Most people using these tools see them as nothing more than the useful tools they are.

    Randy

  • #13670

    Ryan
    Keymaster
    RandyS wrote:
    Most people using these tools see them as nothing more than the useful tools they are.

    Once again, those would not be the people I was referring to in the original post. Once again, I was referring to those who explicitly state a NEED for such gadgets. People (yes, people training for races, not just trying to drop a few pounds) who act as if it’s impossible to run wherever they feel like it without a GPS or to run at all without headphones or to run easy without a HRM. If they stated WANT instead of NEED, I would never have started this thread. As for being useful tools, maybe so, maybe not. I see mixed signals on that topic within your posts in this thread even. However, that was not my original point of this thread.

  • #13671

    r-at-work
    Member

    yeah, I think the ‘original’ idea was that people who don’t really want to be out there running HAVE TO use their headphones as a crutch… but if that is what it takes for them to get going at least they have found something…

    some days I need a little “magic” usually I tell my 11 year old he has to ride his bike with me, he’s REALLY a distraction and not much of a gadget…

    I just wish I had a watch that allowed me to run faster than I can 😉

  • #13672

    magpie
    Member
    r-at-work wrote:
    I would like to think that some of the gadget might help a bit… no illisions of instant improvement… I look forward to a time when I KNOW how I’m doing without them…

    Just from what you have posted here, my sense is that you already did know before you ever used the HRM, and that you have somehow become convinced to give the feedback from HRM more credence than it really deserves.

  • #13673

    Woody
    Member

    You having fun Bud? I like your enthusiasm and dedication . If your having fun keep doing what works for you 🙂

    Woody

  • #13674

    Anonymous

    RandyS,

    I am the CEO of Garmin and I would like to offer you a position with our company as the North American Sales Manager. There is no need for you to relocate for this position. We expect you to work from a SOHO (small Office Home Office). The benefits, bonus program and compensation package are outstanding…..

    All jokes aside I am new to this sport and have enjoyed reading the messages herein. They have clearly answered my question: Is a GPS a good tool? I will buy one tonight.

  • #13675

    Andrew A.
    Member

    Yes, a long-dormant topic — I figured this had been broached previously here.  The latest does not surprise me at all, given what I have learned about media and memes and their contribution to ever-shorter attention spans: iPods can make you stupider.

  • #13676

    Ryan
    Keymaster

    Interesting. I think there's a balance to be had. I find listening to music when I work, for example, allows me to focus better by not being distracted by what's going on around me. Having Internet on my phone means I have information at my fingertips at any time, so it's more convenient to read an article or watch/listen to a podcast at times when I would otherwise not be able to.

    However, it makes perfect sense to me that the brain needs down time. For me, one of those times is definitely during the run. I just can't imagine keeping my sanity without having some time to unplug.

  • #13677

    Andrew A.
    Member

    This is also likely why meditation boosts cognitive ability.
    http://www.dailycamera.com/recreation-columnists/ci_15607862

  • #13678

    ed
    Participant

    Good article.

  • #13679

    Andrew A.
    Member

    Interesting. I think there's a balance to be had. I find listening to music when I work, for example, allows me to focus better by not being distracted by what's going on around me.

    I used to be the same way and I have younger coworkers who seem to thrive on having a constant stream of background noise (noise pollution to me) going on.  Anymore, though, I can do at least as well just plugging away in silence or near-silence.  I often employ the (meditation style) nose breathing, which seems to nicely center me in the present on what I am doing — not to mention the relaxing effect.  8)

    Having Internet on my phone means I have information at my fingertips at any time, so it's more convenient to read an article or watch/listen to a podcast at times when I would otherwise not be able to.

    I simply tend to carry a book with me, instead.  I have probably about 100 books that I own and have not yet read (and want to read) – not including so many of the classics that I have yet to obtain or borrow – so that is where my preference lies.  I feel like I spend too much time on the 'net already, to boot.

  • #13680

    ksrunner
    Participant

    I simply tend to carry a book with me, instead.  I have probably about 100 books that I own and have not yet read (and want to read) – not including so many of the classics that I have yet to obtain or borrow – so that is where my preference lies.  I feel like I spend too much time on the 'net already, to boot.

    Ours is a book reading family. We almost always have a book that we're reading aloud as a family and usually we each have our own books to read as well. Sometimes, my wife and I may have separate books that we're sharing with our daughter for times when only two of us are present. We often take books with us to read in a waiting room if we're going to an appointment or to read quietly in restaurants while waiting for a seat or for our food. Two of our favorites that we will often turn to when we're waiting for a book from the library are A Long Way from Chicago and A Year Down Yonder by Richard Peck. The books are made up of chapters, but each chapter stands on its own as a short story and they seem to have an almost universal appeal. I am certain that there are times when we are entertaining others who are also listening, but we think that's great. Peck's Grandma Dowdel has become a member of our family.

  • #13681

    Andrew A.
    Member

    Likewise, I come from a family of book readers.  Though I do not recall my parents reading to me and my sister much, I certainly have memories going way back of my parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles (and cousins) all reading for pleasure.  Most of them tended to be into fiction while I have a penchant for nonfiction, yet still it set the tone.  I recently picked up one from the local bookseller that I am really into, Jon Krakauer's Where Men Win Glory, about Pat Tillman.  I knew I liked how the author writes based on reading other books by him (Into Thin Air, Into The Wild) and I have been really interested in the subject matter for quite a while now.  Definitely not a kids' book.  Gives quite a bit of interesting background information on Afghanistan as well as painting a portrait of Tillman.  I will definitely be lending this one out to friends.

  • #13682

    Ryan
    Keymaster

    Well, it's nice if you have an option of silence or near-silence. I have two options: lots of background noise and partial conversations due to sitting by a high traffic area or music to block that out. I find music far less distracting than all the noise that comes with sitting by this high traffic area.

    As for books, I love reading books but I've found that there are times when it's more convenient to simply have essentially a newspaper in my pocket than carry around a book. Also, I found a pretty cool app that allows me to download a lot of the classic books for free. I have a few books downloaded and partially read. It's not the same as turning pages, especially with a not particularly large screen, but it's also more convenient to carry with and pull out at times, both expected and unexpected, when reading the news or a classic novel can be more productive than sitting around staring into space.

    Anyway, getting off the topic of running and people who insist that they “need” various gadgets for running. I wouldn't consider such a phone a need but, with the right balance, it can be a useful tool.

  • #13683

    Andrew A.
    Member

    Every time I see someone use the term “tool” with respect to running (or life, I guess) and not in the context of  putting sheet metal screws into the soles of their shoes or building a shed or installing storm windows I think of this Vern Gambetta tweet: [color=rgb(51, 51, 51)]Great coaches don't focus on training tools & toys, they focus on the athlete. No BS, no hype, no marketing just coaching!  When I think of a tool, I think of something used to either fix or create something.  Not really about you and your use of the term, Ryan, just something that comes to mind for me almost any time I see someone use the term.[/color]

  • #13684

    Ryan
    Keymaster

    I guess we just think of the term differently. When I think of the term tool, I think of an item or method that helps one get a certain job done. We sometimes have to know when something is a tool and when it is a crutch that is really keeping us from a better method. However, as a hammer and screwdriver and wrench can help one more easily and efficiently build a shed, certain tools might help in one's running or in keeping informed or in performing basic tasks.

    One focuses on the end result. The athlete, the race, the shed, or (in my case as I use it to perform basic maintenance of Hillrunner.com in a more efficient and timely manner) the website. However, that doesn't mean one doesn't use tools. The tools help us achieve the end result in the best or most efficient way possible.

  • #13685

    Andrew A.
    Member

    I think you mean the process, as the end result is the end result regardless of whether a hand saw or a circular saw or a hammer or a nail gun or a screwdriver or a powerdriver is used in the building of a shed — one still winds up with a shed.  8)

  • #13686

    Ryan
    Keymaster

    I meant the end result. When I'm training, for example, I have my mind on the end result. I come up with a process/plan that will get me to the end result, then I apply the tools to help me implement that plan. Now, the key is still to know what's a tool that will help and what's a crutch that may seem to help but will in the end not help and possibly hurt. To go back to the original topic, when you “need” your music or your GPS or whatever, it's becoming a crutch.

  • #13687

    Andrew A.
    Member

    What also comes back to me is an analogy I once saw between training and painting.  Sure, one can go with paint-by-numbers and arrive at the same 'end result' of a painting as one would by taking lessons and practicing extensively to be able to paint something of one's own creation and original vision.  Is there any real value in a paint-by-numbers painting to anyone other than perhaps the person who painted it?  (On the same token, there are likely many who would say that painting-by-numbers is better than not painting at all.)  One who has developed skills will be able to do far better in creating original works of beauty than one who has to resort to paint-by-numbers or even copying others' paintings.  In the hands of one who is unskilled, even the most elaborate and cutting-edge tools will provide crude results — in the hands of one who is skilled, even the most crude tools will do as well as the supposedly best tools in creating elegant results.  I would group GPS, HRM, iPod, etc. under the paint-by-numbers umbrella.  One who is skilled at painting could also paint-by-numbers, yet why would she or he?  It would be a pointless exercise.

    Similarly, reading does far more to stretch and develop imagination, thinking, creativity, knowledge, etc. than watching teevee does.

  • #13688

    Ryan
    Keymaster

    Agree 100%. To expand on the analogy, if one only paints by numbers, one will only develop his or her skills so far. If one works on painting freehand, one may make mistakes along the way and turn out some not so great looking art early on but he or she will develop much better skills. This is what I see happening often with people who “need” their devices. The devices allow for a quick progression early on but some runners rely on these devices so heavily that they never develop skills that allow them to go far beyond that early progression.

  • #13689

    Andrew A.
    Member

    Yep, I would say that painting by numbers develops only the skills to paint by numbers — without expert guidance, the abilities for stroke, composition, use of blank space, shadow, etc. are not going to just magically develop on their own for the vast majority of those who take a swing at it.  Even just constructive feedback from someone who knows what they are seeing and talking about could do the trick.  One might have to consult a teacher by taking classes (get with a legit coach) or at least study useful how-to texts (the rare legit training guide), however.  Then again, we are likely talking about the types who paint stick-figures and a few foreground details while essentially leaving out the background.  8)

  • #13690

    Andrew A.
    Member
  • #13691

    Andrew A.
    Member

    High-Tech Runners Train Smarter With GPS


    I am not buying it.  8) 

  • #13692

    cesar
    Participant

    That is a total limitation. I would rather to run old school.

    I  Only find the GPS useful when you run in a place where you dont know for how long have you been running.

  • #13693

    Ryan
    Keymaster

    I'm with Cohen on this one. As I say often, “running isn't rocket science”. You don't need precise measurements. 45 minutes for a 6 mile run will get you close enough. Running up and down the driveway because you're at 5.95 miles? Seriously? That would be the definition of being a slave to the technology and not using it as a tool to make you a better (or smarter) runner.

  • #13694

    Andrew A.
    Member

    Running up and down the driveway because you're at 5.95 miles? Seriously? That would be the definition of being a slave to the technology and not using it as a tool to make you a better (or smarter) runner.

    Exactly. 8)

  • #13695

    ksrunner
    Participant

    I enjoyed this related article: Becoming a Body Whisperer

    My experience of running since my Garmin broke definitely corresponds to that of Simon Martin from the article. I'm enjoying running more and I am running faster with less training than I would have thought would be required to achieve the faster times.

  • #13696

    Ryan
    Keymaster

    Great article. My experiences with a HRM and even with looking at the watch too often are also similar to Simon's. I actually slipped into that bad habit some this year and I've been working on breaking back out of that with good results so far. Sure, today was 5 very slow miles but that means I'll be rejuvenated and ready to go tomorrow. Had I tried to force myself to run 30-60 seconds per mile faster today, I'd be out there again struggling through another 5 miles tomorrow. Instead, I'm expecting a much better feeling and probably faster 9 miles tomorrow.

  • #13697

    cesar
    Participant

    Great article. I would run easy without a watch on easy days and in racing but in workouts( tempos and intervals) it would be very hard, but i just think about doing those workout without a watch and i can feel the freedom of just thinking, maybe soon i will start doing intervals and tempos without a watch, after all , time is just a number, effort is what really matters.

    I admire Steve, since it is very difficult not knowing the time of the hard periods of repeats and tempos without a watch, i think he is doing pretty well since his racing has been great.

  • #13698

    ksrunner
    Participant

    Thanks Cesar for the kind words.

    It's not as hard as you think to do hard workouts without a watch. When I do it, I don't measure either time or distance. Before I start my workout, I think about whether I want to do long or short repeats. If I want to do long repeats, I go out medium-hard (maybe 5K pace, but it is hard to capture the feeling of a race in a workout). If I want to do short repeats, I go out harder. As I run, I assess how I feel periodically. When I feel about the right level of fatigue, I pick a landmark and hold the effort to that landmark. As I recover, I periodically ask myself if I could do it again and when the answer is “yes”, I go. Sometimes, I adjust on the fly so that I am in a rest period when I reach busier intersections. Usually, I will either extend a hard repeat a little longer because I know that I will have extra rest or I squeeze in an additional short (and likely faster) repeat before I get to the intersection. Outside of college, I have never done a planned tempo run. I may do a tempo or progression run occasionally, but if I do, they just happen on a day that I feel good — often during the last half of a long run.

    Training without a watch/GPS and getting more in tune with my body was just one factor that contributed to my success this fall. I also changed work location so that I am working near home and able to run to and from work — though injury concerns this fall negated the consistency gains somewhat. I also cleared a mental block that was causing me to race tentatively instead of competing to the best of my abilities.

    Clearing the mental block has to be the most significant contributor to my race improvements this year, so it is hard to say how big of an impact training without a watch or GPS has had. But, tuning into how I feel has increased my enjoyment of running and has helped me to get to the starting line of some races that I might otherwise have skipped due to injury. Hopefully the enjoyment and injury prevention/reduction will help drive consistency and volume increases that will drive further performance improvements. I know that running by feel has also improved how I race as well. I am more confident that I am racing at the right effort level.

  • #13699

    cesar
    Participant

    I think that i am going the watchless workouts a go, because i always procrastinate workouts and end doing 1 workout per week or two but the week look like this:

    Monday- off
    Tuesday -easy
    Wednesday-easy
    Thursday – easy
    Friday- Tempo
    Saturday- long run
    Sunday- intervals

    As you can see i administrate my week very bad , i should do the first workout on wednesday and the other workout on saturday or tuesday and friday but due to my procrastination  i move them, if i dont have a watch on i could say ok, i wont know the pace, the most important is too run hard and can have a very good workout without the pressure of knowing time or splits.

  • #13700

    Ryan
    Keymaster

    Great points by Steve. One way I look at things. I haven't run a workout on a measured course in years so I'm always setting my pace by feel. Even though I use the watch to set the duration of my repeats, I'm still setting pace much like Steve. How I handle this is by thinking of the intent of the workout and what race pace it should be similar to. 10K race pace? The first repeat should feel like the beginning of a 10K race. Middle repeats should feel similar in effort to the middle of a 10K. The last repeat should feel similar to mile 5 of a 10K. I want to save race efforts for race day so no repeat should ever feel like the finish of any race.

    This is of great help on race day, also. It is a big part of the reason I'm generally right where I want to be in terms of pace at races. I get a lot of practice hitting the right effort levels in training so I know what effort level I should be at on race day.

  • #13701

    ksrunner
    Participant

    For me, I have no problem running by feel if I know either time or distance but not both. Once I know both, I have a tendency to start racing or to start making each portion of the run faster than the last. The problem with where I live now is that the roads are laid out in mile grids so that I always know fairly accurately how far I've gone. Even if I leave the grid, I am familiar enough with my most common routes that I know where the mile marks lie. So, I find it easier to leave the watch. If I want to make each repeat the same as the last, I can go to a track or run the repeats between the same two landmarks or just count strides to get an fair approximation.

    I don't necessarily have a problem with knowing both time and distance for hard efforts. When I do the hard workouts, running too fast is not usually a problem unless I do too many reps. But, since I don't have a watch I am just making the most of my situation. A watch is not important enough to me to buy one. Throughout the day I am usually near a computer, phone, or clock that displays the time. If I thought that a watch would make me faster, I would buy one. For now, I think that it is fun that the only time my performance is measured is when I'm racing.

  • #13702

    cesar
    Participant

    Steve,

    Can you give me an example of a week of training that you are currently doing?

  • #13703

    ksrunner
    Participant

    Currently, I'm not training. I recently learned that I have a hernia and though it is not particularly painful, I think that it caused enough discomfort to cause other issues in my hip. So, I haven't run for about a week and a half. I have an appointment with a surgeon next week to see about fixing the hernia. I've been feeling a bit better. I might feel up to another run or two before the surgery, but I am basically on hold until I am cleared to run again after the surgery.

    My training is far from structured and I just got into my current situation where I am running to work starting in June. My route to and from work is 4.5 miles. On Mondays, my wife drops me off at work with food and clothing for the week and on Fridays, she picks me up so that I can bring dirty clothes and empty food containers home. At the time that I started this, I wasn't running much or consistently, so I started gradually building consistency on my running to and from work. I achieved good consistency during the work week by late July and then I started focusing on weekends and developing a long run. In September, I began to struggle with injury and I backed off. So, I ended up skipping lots of hard workouts and taking days off fairly regularly to insure that I could make it to the starting line of my scheduled races.

    This was what I would have liked to have done this fall:

    M – easy 4.5 evening
    T – 4.5 with 3-4 long repeats in the morning / 4.5 easy evening
    W – easy 4.5 morning and evening
    Th – 4.5 with 5-6 short repeats in morning / 4.5 easy evening or easy 4.5 morning / 4.5 easy evening with 6-8 strides or sprints during last 2 miles
    F – 4.5 easy morning
    S – easy or long or race
    Su – easy or long or trail

    This was about what I was doing in August with long runs getting up to 10-12 miles at the end of the month and perhaps one long run in September. Often, I did only one hard workout if it took longer than expected to recover from a weekend run. This was likely if my Sunday run were a long run on trails. I tended to run portions of the trail very aggressively in my exuberance.

    This is more typical of what I did between September and October:

    M – easy 4.5 evening
    T – easy 4.5 morning / evening off
    W – off
    Th – easy 4.5 evening
    F – easy 4.5 evening with strides
    Sa – race
    Su – off

    If I didn't have a race, then I probably took Saturday off as well.

    After the hernia is fixed and I am cleared to run again, I will gradually build back — focusing primarily on the weekday mileage initially so as to start running to and from work again.

    Ultimately, I would like to be doing something like this.

    M – 6 easy evening
    T – 6 with long repeats or long hills morning / 4.5 easy evening
    W – 8 easy morning / 4.5 easy evening
    Th – 6 with short repeats, form drills, or short hills / 4.5 easy evening (race week: easy morning / easy evening with strides or short sprints)
    F – 4.5 – 6 easy morning
    Sa – easy or race
    Su – long (16) or easy or trails

    I might not get there until 2012. I would like to see how I might race if I could get there. This turned out to be longer than expected, but I've been waiting on a deployment for work tonight, so it kept me busy during the wait.

  • #13704

    cesar
    Participant

    Nice training. It is a shame to hear that you are injured. When are you resuming your running again?

  • #13705

    ksrunner
    Participant

    Cesar,

    I don't know when I'll be running again. I have to have a surgery to repair the hernia and then I will need to recover. I have an appointment with a surgeon on Wednesday. I would like to have the surgery in the first half of December if possible so that I may begin the recovery sooner. That's basically all I know. I will likely choose to meet with one or two other surgeons before selecting who will perform the surgery. I would like to take at least as much care in choosing a surgeon as we did in selecting a roofer.

    Steve

  • #13706

    Ryan
    Keymaster

    Interesting that this topic made its way up recently. Saturday, I found out after my run that my watch didn't start. Figured I just mis-hit the start button when starting my run. Decided to call it an untimed weekend and I didn't even wear the watch Sunday. Today, I wore the watch again only to discover that it is no longer working. I can't seem to reset it to get it working again.

    I might be going watchless for a while now. Not concerned in the least about that, though. I'm at the point in my training right now where going watchless is probably the most beneficial. I should be unconcerned about my times right now because I'm trying to build my volume back up after a recovery period.

    I might just take a pass on picking up a new watch for a while.

  • #13707

    cesar
    Participant

    I will do the same thing. But i ll include workouts without a watch and i am going to train without a watch for several months, forgetting about time barriers and see if i can destroy my PR's in pure effort training(of course training smart and hard).

  • #13708

    Ryan
    Keymaster

    More on the topic. Obviously talking about gadgets and toys that are much more than a GPS and a HRM but I think this part is telling:

    Over the years I have found less is more. The farther away you get from the body the less effective the training, that is the bottom line. All the random number generators, machines with dials and alarms that go beep are no substitute for an experienced coach with a good eye and a feel for movement. I am a minimalist, start with the bare minimum and build from there as needed.

  • #13709

    ksrunner
    Participant

    The descriptions of the machines in that article brought to mind “the machine that goes ping” from Monty Python's The Meaning of Life.

  • #13710

    cesar
    Participant

    Today i had the opportunity to do a workout without a watch, it was short repeats, 7 repeats of 300-400s , dont know the exact distance because i was picking landmarks, I really loved it , i felt free, like a kid again, did not have pressure , only ran at a hard effort till satisfied, it was great.

    The body finds its own rhythm and effort, i ll keep at it.

  • #13711

    cesar
    Participant

    Hey Steve,

    How is the hernia issue going? hope that everything go well.

  • #13712

    ksrunner
    Participant

    How is the hernia issue going? hope that everything go well.

    It's going well. I have a follow-up appointment Wednesday. I have been walking daily. I may be able to start running next Monday.

    Steve

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