Friday, September 23, 2016

Things you will need come race-day #1: A watch

At this point of the season there is a likelihood you’ve been wearing a watch or more specifically a running watch for quite some while. Up until recently I hadn’t been, instead I’d been wearing a Casio – the hero of watches, that gives has the time, the date, a stopwatch and a light that is at the blunt edge of technology. Still, it is robust, cheap, light and guaranteed to be one of the few things that would survive a nuclear holocaust along with cockroaches and the 1995 Toyota Corolla that your farming uncle still drives.

The reason I had a Casio was because my own watch had long since gone to the great Garmin in the sky. And it was only last week I return to the running watch world, first by borrowing my wife’s, and then a short time later with a gift of a new Garmin off my wife – partly driven by love, partly driven by wanting her own friggin’ watch back.

So running watches – good or evil?

The arguments for good:
·         They can tell you how fast you are running, which is especially great for preventing you from taking off too quick at the start of races.
·         They can tell you how far you have ran, excellent for record-keeing.
·         They are fun in how they store your fastest 1k, 5k, 10k, half-marathon and marathon.
·         They can tell you your heart-beat, which not only helps you identify if you are technically dead can be exceptionally useful in getting you to train at your most optimal level. This is done by getting you to run in a heart zone, which is important on days when you are tired and days when you could perhaps push yourself a little bit more.
·         They can receive text alerts for when someone goes into labour.

The arguments for evil (okay, maybe evil is a little strong, bad so):
·         They can tell you how fast you are running, which is depressing when you are going backwards with 5 miles to go.
·         They can tell you how far you have ran, which is not always fun when you just want to go out for the sheer hell of it.
·         They are not fun in how they store the fastest 1k, 5k, 10k, half-marathon and marathon of your older brother or sister who borrowed it because they couldn’t find their own and now owns all your PB’s!
·         They can tell you your heart-beat, which might be a little unnerving when it drops down under 40 during an episode of Nationwide or up past 175 on a hills session.
·         They can receive text alerts. I mean seriously, why would you want anyone to contact you while you’re out and if someone is about to go into labour run laps of the garden with the window open.

I ran my fastest half-marathon wearing a watch and my second fastest half-marathon wearing none. Despite being only two seconds slower on the latter it still was one of the most enjoyable races I’ve ever ran. Perhaps that was due to the company or perhaps it was also due to the fact that I listened to the body all the way round and as the finish came, instead of hanging on I was pushing forward.

That all being said, if I were to choose, it would be on the side of wearing a watch but just not during an episode of Nationwide.

Yesterday’s training
13.5 in one of the most disjointed sessions for a while. With wet almost wintry rain – a first for this year – and a half-marathon due on Saturday there were not as many at training as per usual. Of those who were there they had a faster session or sessions in mind so I found myself going from one crew to another until I finally realised that everyone was running too fast for me. After that and 6 k I decided I would just have to finish the remainder on my own. 7 k on very tired legs. Bring on the rest day.

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