Run by feel: naked run without GPS, music and water bottle

Really? Naked run?

You thought I would be running naked baring it all without running vest and shorts? Ha! Ha! Well, please continue to wait for the day to come. Hmm ... may be I shall run naked in a beautiful sandy beach on a secluded exotic island in the middle of nowhere one day. :)

Seriously, I couldn't recall when was the last time I ran "naked" - without GPS watch, music and water bottle in races or weekend runs. I believe I haven't done that since I bought my first GPS watch in Nov 2012.

Oh my gosh - 4 long years!! Can you believe it?

I was so used to running with my Garmin Forerunner 10 GPS watch with any distance more than 5 km (except treadmill running of course!) that I wouldn't know how to run without it.

I would feel handicapped.

I would feel lost.

I would feel less confident.

And I wouldn't know how to pace properly without knowing my distance, pace / speed and time.

I didn't realize that I have grown to be so dependent of my GPS watch.

Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon 2015 - a race without GPS watch - 1st since Nov 2012 - yet finished with 1st sub 4 hour full marathon

But I recall during Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon 2015 (read race report here), my Garmin Forerunner 10 failed to find the GPS location at the most crucial moment - at start line. So I had no choice but to run the whole 42 km in Hong Kong without my GPS watch. It was so tough not knowing my pace / speed. I couldn't only listen to my body, and run by feel. And I tried to pace other runners who were at equal or slightly faster speed to ensure I could keep up. That was truly my first ever race without the help of GPS since Nov 2012 (but I was still listening to running music throughout the 42 km). To my pleasant surprise, I finished with my first sub 4 hour full marathon ever. I choked with tears at finish line. So unbelievable! It was like a miracle!

But I really believed it was a miracle. I wouldn't want to run a full marathon without a GPS watch ever again. I felt little confident not knowing my pace

SCKLM 2016 and Kuching Marathon 2016 - Garmin Forerunner 10 failed again at the last 6-8 km 

Well, at most crucial moments - the last 6-8 km of the race at Standard Chartered Kuala Lumpur Marathon 2016 and Kuching Marathon 2016 - Garmin Forerunner 10's battery decided to call it quits! I still had my music with me, but I could only use my Garmin Forerunner 10 for its time. No indication of pace and distance. Sob! Sob! Very disappointed!

But somehow, I still managed to achieve my sub 4 personal best at both full marathons. Truly unbelievable! Furthermore, it was my first back-to-back full marathon.

Using Nike Plus Run Club Running App - but still with GPS (pace, time, distance)

For the last 3-4 months, I have been using my Nike Plus Run Club running application to run in the absence of my Garmin Forerunner 10 until I bought Garmin Vivoactive on Oct 30.

Even though I have used Garmin Vivoactive for a 20km taper run, a 2km swim and 42 km full marathon at Putrajaya Night Marathon 2016 recently, I am still not too comfortable with its screen. I guess with me wearing contact lenses to run, I need large screen!! hahaha!!

Run by feel - 1st 100% "naked" run without GPS watch, music and water bottle since Nov 2012

After 3 weeks of no running since Putrajaya Night Marathon on Nov 12, I decided to run 19 km LSD this morning.

I like to run light - carrying as little as possible. 

But even during my usual Sunday LSD training runs, I still depend on GPS (watch or running app) to tell me my speed, still listen to running music, and still carry a water bottle for the 9-10 km one-way distance.

But somehow today --

I decided to feel liberated!

I decided to run free.

I decided to run "naked" - without GPS watch, running music and water bottle.

I decided to let go of everything

I decided just to listen to my body and run by feel.

Surprise! Surprise! Surprise!
The route I covered was the usual Lake Garden to Seri Hartamas 19 km route. And throughout the whole run, I was listening to the sound of the natureconversations of other runnerssilence of the morning trees, my own deep breathing, my every single footstep. I was wearing a normal TIMEX digital watch but I wasn't looking at it during the run - only at the start and the end.

To my pleasant surprise, when I looked at my TIMEX digital watch after I finish each round, I ended up with a time I haven't achieved before - even without the help and support of GPS, music and water bottle.

Lake Garden traffic light => Petronas station in Seri Hartamas : 46 min 57 sec
Petronas station in Seri Hartamas => Lake Garden traffic light : 48 min 07 sec

Before this, my time is usually around 51-52 min from Lake Garden traffic light to Petronas station in Seri Hartamas. And usually it would take me extra 2-5 min longer to come back.

I must tell you - I was elated!! I was really caught by surprise on this time! I thought something was wrong with my TIMEX digital watch!! But hey - it was correct!

"Naked" run is better than running with GPS watch? 

I really don't know. I am clueless. I still can't figure out how I could run faster (all time PB on this same route) without the help of my GPS watch or running app and the running music. Also, I didn't carry water bottle.

One thing for sure - I felt that I had less pressure without constantly monitoring my pace / speed all the time. I felt free and liberated! :)

I felt that I could listen to my body more. 

When I felt like running a bit faster when I felt good, I just went for it. 

When I felt like running a bit slower when I was tired, I just slowed down a bit but I kept my cadence high.

But if you ask me if "naked" run is really better than running with a GPS watch, I can't give you a concrete answer as well.

But run-by-feel was surely a very awesome feeling!

I shall try to have more "naked" runs in my training to test out this concept.

And may be - may be I shall also take a little risk by running "naked" in one or two full marathons next year. :) 

What say you? Shall I run by feel in full marathons next year? :)

Written on 2016.12.04


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