Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Out with the Garmin! Out with the HRM!

It is not quite as dramatic as that. I have not done some extreme life-laundry and thrown away all of my clutter. In fact I have not so much abandoned these tools as they have abandoned me. The first to go was the Garmin - it would not stay on for longer than 30 seconds. A couple of months later I broke my heart rate monitor, or rather broke the fixings that hold the watchstrap in place.

Although the Garmin has now been replaced, it was away for about six weeks and during that time I got used to running without it. Similarly with the HRM, my first instinct was to buy a new one straightaway, but I hesitated and now I am wondering if I need it at all. I am quite happy running by how I feel and only measuring the time I take. It is not just that it is simpler - I don’t really need the extra information.

The Garmin, for example, never changed my training. I just looked at the results, and although I was impressed by all the figures and thought it was fun, that was all. The HRM did change my behaviour as I used it on long runs to keep my heart rate below a certain level. However I now find it much easier and more direct to use my breathing as the guide.

If I were a finely tuned athlete trying to run to the absolute height of my powers, then close monitoring of every session, an accurate assessment of every variable and a comparison with the training plans would be appropriate. Lance Armstrong treats his body like a precise piece of machinery and wants to know everything about the way it performs. His results show the benefits of that approach. However, even if I was younger, never by any stretch of the imagination could I be like him. And as I am there is just too much fat, both literal and metaphorical, to cut before precision has any meaning.

All I need to do is go back to basics and establish a regular routine and carry on doing this until I feel I am ready for more structured training. Then I might want the toys again but until then all that matters in time on feet and for that a watch is good enough.
In fact it is better that that - it is liberating. No more spitting on the strap and adjusting it so that it has proper contact and then fiddling around when the heart rate gets random, no more waiting around for the satellite signals to lock. All you have to do is put on your shoes and run.

Simple - and afterall this should be a simple sport.


beanz said...

sounds good to me

I'm still too much of a numbers junkie to let go yet though

Highway Kind said...

Ah but the question is - what do you do with the information?

Once I realised that I didn't do very much and that it didn't help with the most important thing of running regularly and gradually increasing the time on feet, then I knew I could live without it.

Suppose it is a bit like life laundry really. Perhaps I ought to get started on all the junk in the garage and loft. .... No thats going a bit too far. It would take serious time that is better spent outside.

beanz said...

well, I do use the numbers to look for progress

though it gets a bit depressing when there doesn't seem to be much!

as for the garage - don't even want to think about that

Elle said...

Your post made me realise that I don't do much with my information either. Stupid really because it is about training smarter, not harder.

I will change that. As from today. Possibly.

b-z said...

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g-t at blogspot .thingie