No lamb, no garden, no immaculate conception but there IS something about me.


Why I run naked (and you should too).

I know why you opened this post up, ya pre-vert. You think I am really going to talk about running naked. Well, kids, you are wrong and I'm sorry to be misleading (except I'm not..not at all).

I refer to "running naked" as running without any sort of gadgets or gizmos or technology on you. Just you and your feet and the open road. No ipod, no iphone, no Garmin, no heart rate monitor, nothing. Nada. Zero. Zilch.

Generally speaking I am a gadget lover especially if they are Apple related. This week I increased my collection to add another iphone as I am finally burying my work Blackberry. That brings my count to 2 iphones, 3 ipods, a Macbook pro, a Dell laptop, a 42 inch LED tv, a Wii, a BluRay player and who knows what else. I'm also planning on getting an iPad at the end of the month. Seriously, I have a need for anything that has pixels and an on/off button, it's like an abnormal compulsion.

However I think that running with gadgets, in particular an ipod or iphone, can negatively impact your running. I know that there are people trying to track their heart rate and calories burned for optimal performance and I get that. But for the average person I just don't think they are necessary. The most that I usually run with is a watch and that's because I usually track how long it takes me to run one mile and then judge how far I've run by checking the time or I run 45 minutes out, turn around and run 45 minutes back.

I can see why you would want to track your mileage accurately and I guess I can see why you'd want to know your calories burned (although in general one mile run is 100 calories burned, give or take). I just think that people can get too caught up in focusing on what their wrist says than how they feel and how their run was but that's just my opinion as I've never used one.

What I really hate is seeing people run with earbuds in particularly during a race or a group run. Here are some of the reasons I hate it:

1) During a race you are focusing more on your music than the people around you. The other runners trying to tell you they are passing you, the cars on the road that are trying to pick their way around the runners, the people trying to hand you water, the awesome spectators who came out to cheer you on that you can't even HEAR. I love when I see races have refused to allow any earphones on the course. LOVE IT. Enjoy your race, appreciate the people who are there to cheer you on and help you out and pay attention to your surroundings!

2) I think that if you are using music to get you through a run you are doing it wrong. If you hate running that much, find something else to do. The exception to this is when you are just getting started or you are running on a treadmill. I know that when you aren't used to it those miles can be hard and I can't say I've ever done a run on treadmill without my ipod because I would be miserable. I have actually been using my iphone a lot recently because of the couch to 5k app and because I am still using it to block out my inner voice that keeps wanting me to quit. As soon as I get a good base though I know I will stop because I hate using it as a crutch.

3) If you are listening to music you aren't listening to your body. How do you feel? How is your body? How is the run going? Can you do more than you think you can? If you run until your playlist is up how do you know you could run longer?

4) The music you listen to changes the pace that you run. I actually tracked my splits for a few days (splits are the time it takes you to run each mile in a multi-mile run and mine are almost always dead on, I run like a metronome) with and without my ipod. I noticed that my time would actually slow down during slower songs and go way too fast during faster ones. Some songs that I thought were pumping me up actually had a pretty slow beat and would kill my time. Without it I was my normal self and was able to keep a consistent 7:30min/mile pace without anything affecting it (that was my pace at the time I was tracking my splits).

Of course, this is all my opinion and feel free to completely ignore it. I know a lot of people wouldn't even dream about not running with music but if nothing else please just give a race a try without it. Enjoy your run, appreciate your ability to do it and stop drowning everything else out with your music. It will be worth it, I promise :)

My mom and I after my first half marathon in Lake Placid, NY that I ran WITHOUT music! (And excuse the fact that I look wretched, at this point I couldn't figure out why my foot hurt so darn bad thanks to a stress fracture I found out about almost 2 weeks later).

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