The Watch Is My Nemesis

This is a guest post from Ryan of No More Bacon. If you’re not already reading his blog, do yourself a favor and head over there, it will rock your socks off!

Brandon has been doing quite a bit of running as of late and from what I can tell he’s been putting up some pretty decent numbers as far as running is concerned. Especially for someone who is so new to it.

I’ve run in two different 5Ks so far and will definitely be running in some more. I love the energy of the race. It’s so invigorating and almost guarantees a faster pace than what you’re used to running. The adrenaline just seems to really take over. At least that’s been my experience.

Speaking as a race veteran (tongue planted so firmly in cheek I’ll probably put a hole through it) I must say that each race was a very different experience for me.

My first 5K ever was a race that benefitted Autism Research and awareness called the Strides for Autism 5K. Now I have a son with autism so the race was really important to me. I wasn’t worried about any specific time. I did however know that my wife and boys would be waiting for me at the finish line. I finished in about 34 minutes. Not fast by any means, but it was 6 minutes faster than my personal best, and that was on a treadmill no less.

My second race was the Salt Lake City Marathon. I had a benchmark that I knew I wanted to beat and beating that time basically became an obsession for me. I was literally checking my pace at least every two minutes. That kind of tracking will take a toll on a dude. When I got to the halfway point I was at 16:30; on pace to finish a full minute better than my goal. Unfortunately the second half of the race had a HUGE (well huge for my “husky” frame) uphill section. I got a good start on the hill and I was feeling good until I got about halfway to the top. Then, I started to get sick. Whatever I had eaten for breakfast decided to play Montezuma’s revenge and I was literally choking back my own vomit. Sorry for the imagery. I stopped to walk to avoid tossing my cookies and I immediately looked down at my watch. I was slipping behind my pace. I walked a little longer and stared at my watch as I walked. I wasn’t going to beat my time. Because I had fallen behind my “pace,” I lost all self confidence. The last mile or so I was pretty much dogging it until I sprinted to the finish line. I still had a lot of gas in the tank but I let the watch dictate whether or not I was going to be successful. I finished in 34:30.

I can almost guarantee that had I been watchless that day, I would have bettered my time.

I’d like to say that this is limited to races but I find myself doing it all the time. On the treadmill, the bike, during my circuit training; I get so caught up in the time portion of what I’m doing that I lose all focus on the exercise itself.

In order to beat the watch I’ve done a few things. I’ll wear it backwards so that checking it is more of a chore. Somehow that helps me check it less often and I can just run for the sake of running. I’ve put electrical tape over the timer on the treadmill and the bike. I’m considering an all out declaration of war against all things timepiece. I wonder how my boss would feel about that.

Anyway, am I alone in this? Do any of you obsess over times? What do you do to combat it so you can just enjoy the ride?

11 thoughts on “The Watch Is My Nemesis

  1. I think that we probably need to get better at listening to our bodies versus the time on the watch. Someday we can do more than what the clock is telling you do, sometimes less. The watch really becomes useful for a lot of us when we don’t enjoy what we are doing and gives us a reason to stop.
    .-= Skyler Meine´s last blog… Gaining Muscle 101 =-.

  2. I look too often too. I can tell a difference especially on the treadmill when I leave monitor exposed or cover it with towel.

    I’m running in my second 5k Saturday sans watch. I’ll have HRM on but only on heart rate mode. My PB is 37:40 not bad for a 40 y.o. fat chick 🙂
    .-= Tara´s last blog… When I thought I was in control, I learned I wasn’t =-.

  3. When I’m running outdoors I usually wear my iPhone with the RunKeeper app on so I can see how far I’ve run in how much time, but half the time it doesn’t even work correctly so I’ve gotten used to running just for the fun of it.
    .-= Carla´s last blog… Pack your bags, we’re going on a guilt trip =-.

  4. I use RunKeeper too, but I always just have it in my pocket, so I’m not constantly looking at it while I’m running. I just start it when I leave, and don’t ever look at it again until I pull it back out of my pocket to stop it when I’m done.

  5. I use a Garmin Forerunner 305 and for me it’s been a big boost to my running. It has a current pace feature which helps me keep up the speed. The only problem I have with the watch is on my long runs of 10+miles as I have to force myself to run slow.

    With the help of the Garmin I knocked 2:04 off my 10k in 5 days. That and the fact I kept telling myself “You’re Not Going To Die” (my last blog post) with the pace I was running.

  6. “You’re not going to die!”

    I love it! I might have to try that tactic 🙂

  7. I have a Garmin 405cx, I love him, and he may or may not have a name.

    This little device actually helped me not obsess since you can set the display however you want, my old one used to just read time and it was hard not to glance at it but now I can set the display to distance or speed or both and time isn’t even up there. I find that I don’t look at it nearly as much unless I feel like I’m running like the wind and want to see my speed, which is usually slower than thought but heck, if it feels good that’s a total win anyway.

    Great post Ryan.
    .-= Rita´s last blog… Vacation, Food and Therapy =-.

  8. Come on, cough it up, what’s his name? 🙂

    So you’re happy with the Garmin 405? It’s a little pricey for me, but I’m tempted to get the 305.

  9. If it doesn’t make you crazy to keep the data, i think it is entirely useful if used properly. The companion software is really awesome and you can see where your speed petters out how you heart rate responds to speed and elevation changes. It’s really helped me avoid over-training too, like you slow down and your heart rate stays the same/gets higher.

    I just wish I could take Owen in the pool.
    .-= Rita´s last blog… Vegan Week Challenge =-.

  10. It gets worse with the new technology. I am actually analyzing charts and graphs and elevation changes. Good wake up post – But i’m not leaving my GPS at home.
    .-= Joe´s last blog… Foods For Runners And Fitness Folks =-.

  11. I’m a data geek too. I have all sorts of spreadsheets and charts that I keep on my progress. If I got a GPS/heart rate monitor, it would only get worse.

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