Run a race WITHOUT your watch? Crazy, Right?
I have been running for a while now. One thing I have learned is that training and racing are two different animals. They have to be treated differently. When I am training for a race, I have to tell my body what to do. I have a certain time that I am attempting for a specific distance. I have to be able to speed up or slow down in order to achieve that goal. The purpose of doing this over and over is to train my body to be able to know what it feels like to perform at that speed or level.
Racing, on the other hand, is time to perform! I want to ask my body, as the race goes on, how things are going? I know how it feels to run at this speed. I don’t need an external device telling me to speed up, or say I’m going way to fast, I need to slow down! If I have put in the time and trained properly, I should be able to run the race and have enough in the tank at the end to put a proper kick on. I live and die by my watch during training. I never wear it when racing.
Like I said, these are two completely different activities. After many years of running and competing in races, including marathons, I found that I didn’t really need to check my watch too often. I once went on a 20mi training run with a group and finished in 3:15. Two weeks later I ran it again only this time by myself and did not check my watch until the end. It was 3:16. That lead me to the idea of leaving the watch at home for my next marathon. It was one of the best things I’ve done.
Runner’s World published an interesting article by Scott Douglas on 3/21/16. You can read it here. It basically says that racing by feel can be a bad thing if you are constantly thinking about how you feel. However, if you occasionally check your pace and spend the rest of your time thinking about your form, you should do well. The author calls this “attentional focus” and is something that any racer that wants to improve their mental focus should look into.
What do you think? Would this help your racing? Use the feedback form on my Inspiration page to let me know. BTW, I have run approximately 12 marathons and I PR’d the first time I ran one without my watch!