|Somewhere between Laramie, Wyoming,|
and Steamboat, Colorado, circa 2006.
I do, however, occasionally find myself falling into the habit of relying on some tech (in the past, for example, a heart rate monitor or online mapping software) at the possible expense enjoying the run (though some might rightly suggest that my blogging about running in this goofy post is an example of over doing it with tech). This brings me back to the idea of being a retrogrouch, one which crystallized for me when I read Just Ride by Grant Peterson. Petersen (the original bicycling "retrogrouch") wrote his book with the intention of getting people to "enjoy bikes again, the way you did as a kid, before you got so serious." On a personal level, I think maybe the same sort of backwards design philosophy might benefit the recreational running world, too. In effect what I am thinking about is how one can strip down, or get naked, when it comes to jogging, running or racing. It is amazing how the dynamic of a run can change even when one leaves his watch behind...
This is not to suggest I will only be running barefoot (though I have read a number of books promoting the idea and have my cross-country athletes perform barefoot strides during practice) from here on out or that, in the spirit of Born to Run, wearing sandals for trail races. Nor am I suggesting that streaking attire would be a grand idea for my next 5k. On a completely personal level, I think it might be helpful to minimize being overladen with lamps, cumbersome hydration systems, and specialized unloosening laces, especially when the terrain, elements or course do not necessitate their use. On a much smaller scale, perhaps running occasionally without my timepiece as a pacer, just running to run guided by my internal clock.
For me, training naked means taking advantage of the opportunity to tune into one's breathing with only that equipment which is necessary to comfortably get outside. With the understanding that I am not training for the Olympics, but rather running to enjoy the moments and the environment through which I can move, the choice to minimize, or run naked-er, is an easy (and personal) one.