Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Running Naked?

Most weekend mornings, my neighborhood is flooded with folks of all shapes, sizes and ages "learning to run" as part of a program organized by a successful local running store/road race promoter. I applaud the energy and effort of those who attempt to finish (if not "run") organized races of all distances, and I have noticed that nearly all of them are dressed to "the nines" with the latest apparel including Garmins, aerodynamic tights, running jackets, and headlamps. Always one for minimally gearing up, I remember finishing my first road race 10+ years ago and telling my wife "I can't see myself wearing tights" which, of course, I do regularly in cold weather.

Somewhere between Laramie, Wyoming,
and Steamboat, Colorado, circa 2006.
Like any capitalist endeavor, it is in any store's best interest to promote the significance of these items, though I, a simple on-again-off-again recreational runner, might not see the need for much of it. (The only time I've worn a head lamp is when I was running alone in Rabbit Ears Pass, Colorado, at 2 a.m. way back in 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.

1 comment:

Kyle Kranz said...

I regularly do my easy runs or other workouts that do not require hitting an exact pace without a GPS and only with a watch. I know what my pace range is for an EZ run on a flat surface, so simply estimate the distance when logging the workout.

Doing this certainly helps the run feel "lighter", not having something track your every step. It also helps me relax a bit more, I've noticed.

Plus, not having to worry about battery life or charging a watch is GREAT ;)