When we go out for a run, before we start taking the first step, there is one thing that almost all of us do: wait. Sometimes a few seconds, sometimes a few more. We wait until the visual signal of departure arrives, usually green in color, accompanied by a sound that means “GPS engaged.” We see the green circle on the clock, our ear perceives the beep, and off we go to make our run. We do this both because we actually want to keep track of our runs, and because we then like it if there is someone who appreciates our athletic gesture. There is a common saying among runners (but is fine for cyclists, swimmers, triathletes, etc.) that says “If it’s not on Strava, it never happened“, after all, it is the age of social networks and in many cases sharing one’s sports activities can also be a push for others, and can help to build a healthy lifestyle. There is nothing wrong with this; raise your hand if you don’t record your runs today with a watch or even just a smartphone app. However, when the use of technology becomes obsessive and we go from merely recording our activities to constantly checking if we are on the expected pace, if the beats go up too much, if the two hundred meters are really two hundred and not two hundred and three, then hey! Maybe we’d better stop and calm down a bit, come on! Running by paying too much attention to what the watch or our app is telling us causes the opposite effect to what every athlete would like, because instead of improving, better understanding our body and being able to control our efforts, it leads us to alienate ourselves from running, focusing only on the data we see on our wrist, and, if you are lucky enough to run in a nice place, you might not even enjoy it fully. And then, if you’re not a pro athlete or if you’re not trying toto improve to the second one of your particular achievements (but in many cases even in those two situations) being so much obsessed of your watch is of no use. The same applies to the smartphone. We already spend the whole day watching it, do we really want to depend on it to the point that we control it even during our spare time?
STRIPPED OF TECHNOLOGY
As you may have guessed, I think we can do without both, maybe gradually and just for a little while now and then, just to reassure ourselves that we can do it. Running stripped of technology is a bit like going back to running like you did as a child, for the sheer pleasure of it, without even knowing what miles and time are. And so I would like to propose for your run that you forget your sportwatch at home, leave your phone on the table and go out for a naked run . No wait, don’t take it literally, of course dress as you always do, just put aside all the technology that usually comes with you. If you really feel it’s essential to track your run and don’t trust yourself to go outside the house without your smartphone, you can try these two tricks: put the watch with the display resting on your wrist, so you won’t be tempted to look at it all the time, and the smartphone in airplane mode, so it won’t bother you with message and call notifications. It will not be the same as not having them at all, but it is forever a beginning. And you know it well, that even the longest and most challenging run starts with the first step.