Can you run without a watch?

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Can you run without a watch?

Postby Konstantin » Tue Nov 10, 2009 12:36 pm

We had a psychologist/hypnotists come to our club last night. She's done a lot of work in sport and I found it all veyr interesting.

One thing she was very emphatic about was that when running you should not use a watch. This is because it detracts attention from the running, and enables the concious mind to slow you down when it's suprised at how well you're running.

Most people found this quite a frightening prospect - me included. But a few are determined to try it. one dude forgot his watch recently for a race, and ran his best time. One of pur most successful runners doesn't use a watch.

Waddaya reckon?
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Postby Gelert » Tue Nov 10, 2009 12:43 pm

It makes sense to me. I find when running a familiar route checking the watch and seeing I'm at a particular landmark later than usual (or earlier than usual) has a detrimental effect. Without that distraction I can focus better on just giving best effort.
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Postby skoptic » Tue Nov 10, 2009 12:52 pm

Yeah - interesting, sometimes I feel I can get too hung up on the watch and I've had some lovely runs without it.

I like training with it and for intervals it's kind of necessary - but maybe racing it should stay home. Still in some races I haven't seen mile markers for ages.. and if you're pacing a marathon it can be useful.
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Postby runrevolt » Tue Nov 10, 2009 1:13 pm

For years I ran without a watch and quite enjoyed it. Then I bought one only to use while timing mile repeats, which was very helpful. I only started wearing it consistently when I was doing more speed workouts and it became a necessity, but other than that I don't pay much attention to it, or I'll leave it at home for simple easy runs.

Watches can be very helpful in races when you are trying to hit specific goal times, mostly during longer races for me, but I'll admit that I try not to focus on my watch times too much. It was, however, a necessity in the marathon.

I am a proponent of leaving the watch off during anything under a 1/2 marathon and just focusing at running on the edge of your ability. I used to scold a friend of mine all the time who would complain about looking at his watch and getting scared because he was running too fast. The mind is a powerful muscle and I always wondered how much faster his finish time would have been if he left the watch in the car and just continued to run. The body should be your gauge, not your watch.

Ultimately, I think it's a matter of knowing when a watch will be helpful and when it's a distraction, or when it's an impetus and when it's a restriction. It always comes down to mental strength and overcoming percieved barriers.
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Postby runner » Tue Nov 10, 2009 1:29 pm

in a race I usually check some markers (10k: 5k-9k 800mtr: 1lap)

in trainings runs I check once.

think it's better not to check to much during training runs.

on the track i try to time my intervals. if it's 100mtr I don't check them but 200 or more i do.

I do agree that watch obsessions are not leading to better results. specially when you are unexperianced you should focus on technics not on a watch.

later you will know more or less how fast you go.
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Postby baldy » Tue Nov 10, 2009 7:56 pm

I could run without my watch, but could I still keep my ipod, HR monitor and GPS?

Generally I do not look at my watch enough for it to make a major difference. During training surely it is a good training aid?
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Postby MikayP » Thu Nov 12, 2009 7:09 am

i probably ran for about my first year without a watch. just a cellphone in my camel pack to check what time it is every half hour or so. i think that lack of noticing time helped me really not concentrate on the time when i eventually got a watch.
when i race with a watch, which i do always now, it can really make each mile seem really long since im doing the math in my head "ok 3 minutes since last water station so i got 3 minutes till next" then i keep checking it every minute it seems which can really slow down time. but then again its helpful to see "wow my first mile was 5:30...i really need to slow down a bit if i want to stay strong"...but then again that lack of faith of not being able to keep that pace can hurt you mentally...maybe i could keep that 5:30 pace.
im really glad i got a watch to make sure im pushing myself and improving on my time...but it can really make workout/races sometimes slow down and make it a little more mentality frustrating...at least for me.
its a love/hate relationship...but i prefer having one.
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Postby virago » Thu Nov 12, 2009 7:24 am

Earlier this year I made a resolution to run for enjoyment and health, not time. I don't take a watch with me as the tyranny of time-watching gave me ammunition to beat myself up and never feel good enough about my running. So now I run for fitness and fun :)

I think it depends on your goals and the purpose of your running. But it can't hurt to just run for pleasure sometimes.
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Postby andyO » Thu Nov 12, 2009 5:14 pm

I often leave my watch at home while training, especially if I am recovering from injury or somesuch so that I don't beat myself up over not running fast enough.

It is very 'freeing*' to run without a watch I find.

I use a watch if I am doing speed training or track repeats - for this I think it is essential - I have a tendency to back off in these without realising it so having the watch tells me when I am going slower than I should be and need to push harder. That said I haven't done track repeats in over a year...

Recently I have started using a watch to remind me to eat at regular intervals during long runs.


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Postby chloe » Fri Nov 13, 2009 2:20 pm

hahah yeah i get a rebellious little feeling of liberation when i run without a watch,which is totally silly but true,..so very institutionalised.. but i dont think its that much of a distraction for me.on my general runs i press start and thats about it, i look at the time again when i stop running and press the stop button.During longer races i find it really useful though to make myself keep a track of the minimum time i have set myself.plus obviously the intervals stuff.would deffinately be interesting to run a race without it though,..might try that next time just for fun :D
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Postby chriss » Mon Nov 16, 2009 4:58 pm

I always run with a watch, it dosen't feel right without it as I feel un-balanced a bit of a brain thing me thinks.
On 'normal' training runs I press 'start' at the start & 'stop' at the finish other than that I ignore it. As with alot of other people I find it essential for races pace checks & interval training.
Other than that I'm a geek & like looking at the data when I download it to my PC- sad I know.
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Postby The Lurker » Mon Nov 23, 2009 11:16 am

I go through periods of wearing a watch and periods of not - when I do, I restrict myself to just starting the stopwatch at the begining and then stopping it at the end - its the overly anal plotting that time into a spreadsheet with speed calculations and targets for improvement that depresses me, I really should get over it.

Stupidly I do wear a watch when I race and end up checking it at each marker to see what pace I'm doing and setting a target to reach the next one. This probably does me more harm than good but thats the way I was built. :?
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Postby runner » Mon Nov 23, 2009 12:34 pm

in a race where the markers are acuratly placed you can use some of them, but I would not recomend to use all.

for example in a 10k race you can use 2 or 3 markers

like 5k and 9k.

9k you can check if you can still reach your goal.
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Postby happyfeet » Thu Nov 26, 2009 3:26 pm

I found out last year I was overtraining, so I invested in a heartrate monitor + a good book on the subject. It keeps me within the necessary training zones.

I don't use the watch for times or trying to keep a certain pace, just for monitoring my heart rate. So I glance at it about twice a mile just to make sure I don't stray.

The goal is to train my body to hit these zones without a monitor some day. I'm aware of the "danger" of slavishly monitoring things and stripping away the natural part.

Like others here, I enjoy uploading the data onto the computer and compare HR, pace, cadence and so on. It's like my body is a little science experiment and I can crunch all the data like a true geek.


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Postby veganlisa » Thu Nov 26, 2009 3:36 pm

happyfeet wrote:It's like my body is a little science experiment and I can crunch all the data like a true geek.

I can relate. :mrgreen:
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