When All Else Fails, Ditch The Garmin

Jannine Myers

Image from Nike,com

Image from Nike,com

In a former article that I wrote for BreakingMuscle.com, I suggested that there are certain times when temporarily ditching your Garmin may be just what you need to get past motivational and physical lags in training. Here’s why:


Your Garmin Doesn’t Lie

At certain times of the year, especially after a full season of races, it’s not uncommon for runners to hit a motivational plateau. When this happens, strapping on a Garmin may be counterproductive to overcoming a lack of motivation. Garmins typically don’t lie; you’ll be duly informed when you do not hit your target paces and times.


Your Body Knows Best

Garmins force us to try and meet certain training goals, even when our bodies would prefer not to. That’s great – except when you’re sick, injured, or over-trained and should not be running at all. But even when symptoms are slight, and running can still be tolerated, it might be best to listen to your body versus your Garmin.


You’re Faster Than Your Garmin Might Suggest

Wearing a Garmin may hinder your potential to run faster. Amateur runners, for example, often rely on generic training plans with recommended “target paces” based on previous run times. A runner may attempt to meet those target training paces by setting Garmin alerts that are activated whenever his or her running pace is too fast or slow. It’s possible however, that speed potential will be thwarted, since pace is determined by Garmin alerts.

Your Garmin Focuses On Statistical Data Only: Quality is Irrelevant

A lot of runners tend to be perfectionists, and when it comes to training runs perfection manifests itself in the form of exactness. In other words, if Jane is supposed to do an eighteen-mile long run, and at 16.5 miles she is completely spent, Jane will still continue running (or continue dragging her feet) – until her Garmin reads exactly eighteen miles. Why? Because Jane thinks it’s critical that she follow exactly what her training plan dictates. Following your training plan to-a-T isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but ditching your Garmin may help you to be less concerned about quantity and more focused on quality.


Your Garmin Is Only As Good As Your Non-Negotiable Standards

Most runners can tell you what they believe is their “easy” pace. If Jane believes that her easy pace is an 8:30min/mile, then Jane is going to make sure that on her easy run days, that she runs no slower than an 8:30 min/mile pace. Running without a Garmin sets you free from such pre-imposed standards, and an easy run can actually be an easy run.


If your training ability is currently impaired due to harsh weather conditions, physical exhaustion, or lack of motivation, I encourage you to try ditching your Garmin. That means running without any pace or time goals, and hopefully a heightened and renewed sense of fulfillment as you temporarily focus on just enjoying your runs.

Dip a toe or Jump right in!

One of the topics I love to talk about is having fun on trail. What does it take to go out and go for a full body Bath in Nature?

Letting gooooo….

You’ve sung it once; you’ve sung it a hundred times, Let It Go. The “It” is up to you. Is it letting go of the fight you just had with your spouse? Maybe your coworker is driving you crazy? Your teen is being unreasonable and surly? You have so many things to do; there isn’t a notepad that can store it all.

Or maybe you’ve been bitten by the negative bug. The “It” here can be negative thoughts about your ability: I’m too slow to run with these women, this is going to be too hard, I’m not good enough.

What is a trail running woman to do? You got it, let it go and enjoy the moment.


Running free….

One of the questions we often get is how to remain injury free while running and racing year after year, sometimes with mileage between 40-65 miles. The answer dear friends, is running without GPS.

GPS shows how far I have ran and what pace I am going, current and average. If I am very tired, this is a mental mind screw: really? Not even mile three yet?! And that pace, I may as well walk.

If I am feeling well rested and ready to go fast, I may hold myself back and question if I can maintain this pace.

Running free lets you use your greatest tool, MINDtm, featured in a nice write up on Runners World: http://www.runnersworld.com/fun/the-only-running-app-you-need

Your brain is the most sophisticated device, ever. If you’re thirsty, hungry, tired, overheating, chilled, exhausted or energized, your brain lets you know.

And putting your brain on Nature opens up the pathways that are normally closed in our tech heavy world. On trail, your brain gets to experience all 5 senses that it was born to practice: smell the clean oxygenated air, hear birds singing away, see the sunrise breaking through the trees, feel the crisp air on your sweaty skin, and taste the fresh water from your bottle.

Dip a toe, or jump right in. Let Nature get all over you with WOOT!