I’m going to give it to you straight: I’m old school.
No fancy equipment.
For me, it’s the simplicity of running that is so appealing.
As a lifelong runner, I got hooked on the sport long before technology came along to ‘improve’ it. When I started racing, finish order was determined by giving each runner a sequentially-numbered popsicle stick as they came through the chute, then a person with a clipboard taking the stick and asking for the runner’s name. Seriously. In bigger races, volunteers would pull tags off the bottom of number bibs and keep them in finisher order to match up later. I even ran my first marathon before chip timing.
But it’s not (only) old lady crotcheyness that keeps me running without all the newfangled gadgetry. Ditching the crutches of technology can improve your running. Your body will run at its natural pace, and your brain will learn what number to assign to that pace. Running without your GPS—or even a watch—forces you to pay attention to your body and your effort level. You are able to tune in to yourself without the external chatter of your technology telling you how you should be feeling. My PR at 10K was run on a course with no mile markers or split times; had I known how fast I was going, I would have slowed down because “I can’t run that fast!”
I’m also old school in tracking my training. I still log my runs on paper, despite reviewing and recommending fitness and tracking apps to clients on a weekly basis. I take comfort in going back through my logs—over 20 years of them at this point—and seeing my handwriting, reading the comments, and revisiting the feelings I had as I moved through the highs and lows of my life. Running is therapy, and my log books are the journals demonstrate my progress.
There’s also a democracy of running that keeps me loyal to the sport. How many other sports have elite athletes and regular folks competing in the same event on the same course (field, court, pitch) at the same time? To be able to participate in such a unifying way is quite remarkable in our increasingly-stratified society. And when I remember that I can strip away everything but me and the movement, the simplicity and purity of running is real joy.
Good health and great happiness to you!