Stop allowing the GPS to rule your running

You need to treat your GPS running watch as a tool – a tool that can help you with your running.  A GPS is a great way to groove marathon pace or half marathon pace in a workout.  But it’s not something you should be running with on your easy days.  So many runners tend to obsess over the pace that they run on their easy days.  They feel like crap two miles into the run, look down at their wrist and see that they’re running 30 seconds a mile slower than normal, then panic and speed up to their normal easy day pace.  The rest of the run is a struggle, but more importantly, the runner sets him/herself up for a bad week of training, as they failed to get in a recovery stimulus on the easy run…and much of the blame, in my humble opinion, should fall on the GPS.  If you don’t have a device on your wrist that shows you your pace AND you value running by feel, then you won’t end up running too hard on your easy days.

The GPS is a great tool.  On a long run in the middle of marathon training it can be used as a leash, holding you back so that you can groove marathon pace on a day where your legs feel great and you feel like you are hardly breathing.  On a threshold run day it’s nice to look down at your watch to see if you’re close to the pace you were running in your last threshold run – but you should only look once, and then let the rest of the workout come to you as you run by feel.  But on your maintenance days and your easy days, don’t wear a GPS watch – just wear a regular watch.  Or, don’t wear a watch at all if you have a loop that you know is _____ miles, and that is the loop you like to run on your maintenance days and easy days.

Use the GPS when it’s appropriate, but don’t let the GPS rule your running.

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  • Tracy Jex

    Do you think that as runners we have become to fixated on miles? I’m considering moving to a minutes based program instead of miles. Just think that athletes and runners focus on miles and not on how they feel. Thoughts?