When I first started running back in middle school things were simple. Most of us ran in oversized cotton t-shirts and mesh basketball shorts (this was long before tech fabrics made their way onto the running scene). There were no iPods or GPS watches. There was no online data tracking (heck, most people didn’t even have the internet). We did not worry about “nutrition” or “hydration.” We simply met with our classmates in the cafeteria and waited for the coaches to appear. Then we ran.
|High school track meet|
My high school running experience was similar. By that time I had acquired a basic stopwatch/wristwatch from Target and a spiral bound running log – but aside from days our coaches would take us out to the track there was little
concern over data collection or mile splits. We simply met as a team and ran the back roads of our small town together. Running was our therapy – our time to counsel one another about friendship, boys, and issues in school. If I were to run alone, my only option for music would be to carry around a Walkman or Discman (which for those of you who are old enough to remember – were not very fun to lug around). Most shoes were unremarkable in appearance – there were no neon colors or exciting graphics. They were just shoes.
|High school cross county meet – no watch!|
Up until recently, it was unfathomable to think about running without these “necessities” I have come to know. I wear my Garmin on every run (I am ashamed to admit that I have even bagged runs in the instance that it was not charged or working). The same goes for my iPod (unless of course I am running with friends). I am obsessed with running clothes and shoes. I own more of these than I do “real” clothes. I track my data compulsively and in various formats – hard copy, Excel, Garmin Connect, Daily Mile (or any other website I have toyed around with) analyzing mile splits, distance, weather, shoes, and everything else in between. In many ways I love to see how far this sport has come and appreciate all of these devices that are available. On the other hand, have we moved so far beyond the basics that we have forgotten how to just go out and run? Are all of these running aids really just crutches?
|Saying goodbye to my crutches|
I know that once I am training for a race again I will go back to the Garmin (at least for non-recovery efforts). For now, however, I can honestly say that I am enjoying this new found freedom from these crutches.
Do you find yourself relying on crutches? Are you happy with technology or are you looking to return to the basics?