Running by Feel — September 1, 2021

September 1st, a new beginning, and the way I think — the actual start of Fall and commencement of better running weather.

However, with the ongoing spike in COVID-19 cases, I also see this September as another being safer than sorry kind of month. My plans for racing this month and most likely October as well, won’t happen the way that I want them to. Just the way 2021 is working out — all I can do is keep smiling and living life the best I can within the limitations I set for myself.

However, what a gorgeous start to the day! Temps were in the mid ’50s earlier this morning and a bit of sun. However, all that will disappear as the day goes along and the remnants of Hurricane Ida push through, mostly to the South of us. The weather people have predicted about 2” of rain and blustery conditions, so we will see how it goes.

I am still mulling over what led up to that poor workout yesterday and what I learned from it. Besides the fact that it was simply one workout of many this year. Plus, I have a feeling, it is time to take a fresh look to see what role technology will continue to play in my running.

For now, the Stryd Pod is taking a vacation, the Garmin FR245 was reset to factory specs and the electronic training plans have been deleted, until I get this all figured out. I will still use the Garmin, but more for the mileage and time, than as a training coach.

This morning I am going to run towards the Town Office and if I am feeling decent head towards the Lyons Road. I might even add in the loops if the leg is doing well, and I feel like I need a bit more mileage. I know this is more of a wing-it run, but now, I think I need less structure and more freedom to enjoy my runs, not an AI’s or computer program’s idea of what I should be doing.

What Did I do?

This morning the weather was great for a run: Clear skies, 68°F, Felt like 68°F, Humidity 66%, Wind 6mph from N. A lot of 6’s there and they were welcome.

However, I ran for me this morning.

Not according to some plan, artificial number, science, or an expert’s ideas about running.

Instead, I ran according to how I felt.

It meant that I was slower during parts of the run and faster in others. Yep, the pace graphs looks like a nasty roller coaster, but overall, I felt more relaxed during my run than I have in a while.

I didn’t care about creating data points, I peeked at the watch when it beeped a mile split, but I didn’t continuously look at it to see what numbers and colors were flashing across the screen.

I simply ran.

Of course, there had to be an interruption.

I got a phone call as I was heading outbound on Blake Hill from the Ford Dealership letting me know they had finished the repair work on the Transit. The service department guy was chuckling as I attempted to talk after stopping near the top of the hill – we’ve known each other for a few years and he picks on me about my running. Especially, when I told him he had caught me mid-run and needed to catch my breath, after running up the hill.

When I got to the Town Office, I was feeling good enough to keep going to the Lyons Road. Traffic on the Middle Road was pretty steady, and I didn’t want to over-extend myself, after how the left leg felt yesterday. It wasn’t feeling bad or anything, if anything it felt better than it has for a few days. So, how it felt yesterday was more an anomaly, then anything serious.

Coming back up the hills was a little more challenging, but I maintained a steady effort versus attempting to increase the pace. Once back on the tar, I did pick up the pace, nothing all that much, but it felt good to stretch out the legs and not have everything hurt. I even managed to catch and pass TheWife as I was doing the last part of the Philbrick Lap.

I did run in the Under Armour HOVR Sonic 3’s because the first time I ran in them, they did well. This time they did even better. I wish the Puma Deviates had this heel cup, if it did, I would be a happy runner. I had no issues with the Sonic 3’s, and I am thinking they need to be a regular part of my rotation.

While running by feel is nothing new for me, over the past six months, I have depended more on technology to guide my running. While it made planning a lot easier, the more I ran this way, the more I began to feel like one of Pavlov’s dogs. I was reacting and running to my watch’s buzzes and beeps than how I was feeling during the run. Which the more that I thought about it, the less comfortable I felt about it.

I have to admit, it felt much more natural to run by feel. The run’s ebbs and flows were dictated by terrain, traffic, and yes, how I was feeling. Not an artificial number or color on my watch’s screen or having it beep/buzz/vibrate that I was going too fast or too slow.

Those buzzes, beeps, and vibrations may have their place if I am attempting a particular workout, but for most runs, I don’t need to be salivating, err running on demand.

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