Have you ever just wanted to run in the buff? Without anything holding you back? Completely free and natural?
I think all runners should try running naked once in a while! And by naked, I mean without technology :-) But if you really want to run without clothes, you can see a calendar of nude runs here. Seriously.
Most of my training (like many others) is all about statistics- pace, distance, heart rate, etc. And the one of the best ways to measure those functions is with technology. With GPS watches and multiple apps on smartphones, it's easy to get caught up in the data. That's not necessarily a bad thing; after all, if you want to get faster or run longer distances, you have to keep track of it somehow.
However, sometimes we [me] can become preoccupied [obsessed] with what that data is telling us. For example, if you have a five mile run where you feel great but you didn't hit your "goal pace," it's easy to feel like that was a "bad run" even if you felt awesome completing it. For some of us, this can lead to a lot of self-criticism and self-doubt that I can't help but think we would be better off without.
A few weeks ago, I decided that I wasn't going to race or train with a watch anymore. I was going to simply try to run based on effort. I'd read an article in Runner's World that gave a plan for doing that and I've been following it pretty successfully for the last three weeks. While I haven't been achieving super speed, I have noticed that I simply enjoy my run much more when I am not focused on time, pace, or distance. I have time to slow down (figuratively) and enjoy the moment- think about everything and nothing at the same time. It's actually quite relaxing mentally while being challenging physically. And because I believe that every run makes you stronger in some way, I don't worry so much if I've hit the target pace that I had in mind. In some ways, it's allowed me to train without a lot of self-imposed pressure.
In Weight Watchers, we celebrate "non-scale victories" or NSV's. These are weight loss related things that we are proud of that aren't tied to the scale. Losing weight isn't just about the actual weight lost- it's about gaining confidence, learning to listen to your body's signals, wearing a smaller size, or doing things you once thought impossible. I think running is the same way. It's not always about the pace, distance, and intensity. Sometimes your success comes in the form of enjoying your run, trying out a new route, or relying on effort to pace yourself appropriately. Numbers are important, but they don't have to be on every single run.
To take it one step further, I'd also encourage runners to run at least once a week with absolutely NO technology- ipods, phones, Galloway timers, watches, etc. if it's safe for you to do so. It's amazing how freeing it can be to just run- nothing distracting you from listening to the inside and outside world. I find these "naked" runs to be the ones where I get much stronger mentally.
So, get out there, get naked, and enjoy your run! :-)
QOTD: Do you ever run "naked?" Why or why not?