As a life-long distance runner, I have been asked countless times: “How far did you run today?” The questioner is usually perplexed when I respond: “I run for time, not for distance.” How can I, as a runner, not know how far I ran? Isn’t that the point of distance running: to run a long distance?
For me, running is freeing. It is about doing something for myself that requires very little planning or equipment. I just walk out of my front door and run wherever I want. Some days I wear a watch, other days I just run until I feel like I’m finished. Simple as that.
Okay, maybe it’s not quite that simple, but it is on most days. For any runs of one hour or more, I like to wear my watch so that I can time my walk breaks. I have used the walk-run method of training since I was in high school, well before it was publicized and further marketed by Jeff Galloway. I find it a fantastic training method, and I like that I can convince myself to run for 9 minutes at a time far easier than if I told myself I was going out for a X-mile run.
When I was out for my X-mile run today, I found myself running a route that I had never run before. I began wondering how much distance I was covering. Not that it mattered, as I had my trusty watch and would run until the watch said 60:00, but my curiosity was growing.
When I got home and cooled down, I grabbed my laptop and looked up Google maps. Google maps allows users to enter a start and end point, and then drag the highlight to trace the exact route they’ve covered. I admit it: what a cool application of technology for my decidedly un-technical sport. What I learned today using this application is that X=6.8.
I don’t think I’m being converted to a distance-minded runner, as I only had my distance information after the run. But I do think it will push me to run hard– even on easy run days like today–because I know I’ll be able to go back and determine distance and pace.
Now there’s some motivation.