So, How Many Hats Do You Wear?

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Pensacola, Florida, United States
Husband. *Dog Dad.* Instructional Systems Specialist. Runner. (Swim-challenged) Triathlete (on hiatus). USATF LDR Surveyor. USAT (Elite Rules) CRO/2, NTO/1. RRCA Rep., FL (North). Observer Of The Human Condition.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Free Your Run And Your Mind May Follow

There is a point in our commute to work which reminds us what we forgot to take with us from home, if we have forgotten something. The object's criticality determines, at least for me, exactly where this reminder will occur: If it's the identification cards which grant me access to my office and/or my computer I'll remember mere blocks from the front gate. Something less critical like my workout gear, running shoes, lunch, or perhaps money I need to give to someone will come to mind at a point exactly half way there, with no good opportunity to turn around.

Today was a "less critical" day. My Garmin Forerunner 310XT was sitting next to my computer and should have been in my bag this morning when I bolted out the front door. And why did I forget it? Suzanne was checking her bank balances on my computer; it's all her fault.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Actually, I consider the oversight more critical than most persons would.

I use the 310XT and the heart rate monitor to help me track almost every aspect of my workout routine: the duration, distance, type of activity (using Dan Empfield's Slowtwitch aerobic point scale) terrain, route, average HR, training stress score (using Bannister's minutes at percent calculation), shoe used, and current mileage, to name the majority of the factors. All this information is on a spreadsheet, which lets me look at where I am compared to my training goals and limitations. I can see, at a moment's notice, some of the root causes of a training setback, injury, or fatigue issue.

Am I dependent on the 310XT? There have been afternoons I've launched into a three-second piece of purple prose because the battery died or I forgot to bring the receiver unit (while the heart rate monitor strap was securely wrapped around my chest). So, I guess there might be the academic description of dependence there.

I considered completely tossing my planned mid-morning run into the rubbish container...then decided to go out for a run on the same loop without external pace guidance.

Yeah. Let's go by feel, Coach.

I cannot say it was liberating to go out for a run without having all that data available which the 310XT is able to provide. I was able to observe at a few things - the abundance of squirrels on base, for example - which I normally did not pay more than a passing glance because I was trying to either hold my pace back for a fellow runner or trying to keep from pushing the pace too much. The down side of a "no feedback" run was that I only had a time check at the two-thirds point of the run, at the front which point I had to judge where I was going to end the run. All I had without eating into my lunch break was 60 minutes, which included a shower and change back into my work clothes.

As long as a runner is not time-constrained or data-(over)dependent a "caveman run" can be a refreshing change of pace from the "X-pace for Y-distance" mentality into which many of us have unintentionally slipped.

Just don't expect me to go barefoot.

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