RunFree4Me Recap

3 Jun

If you’ve been tuning in to my blog, you know that throughout the month of May, I participated in the Run Free For Me Challenge hosted by Cori of Olive to Run. Now that it’s a wrap, I wanted to share my experience with running sans tracking devices for (nearly) a whole month.

First, I have to be honest. The chance to win a pair of Brooks running shoes was the initial motivation for joining up. (Um, hello.) However, the challenge quickly became much more than that as I started to enjoy tech-free runs again and began to reacquaint myself with…myself.

runfreeforme3Not every run I went on in May was “naked,” but a majority of them were. That was one thing I really liked about this challenge – flexibility! There was no pressure to post a run every single day and there were no Run Free Police showing up on your route to make sure you truly left your GPS behind.

Sometimes I ran without ANY technology whatsoever (including music) and a couple of times I ran with the mapymyrun app going on and didn’t check it until after I finished my run.

photo 2During these free runs, I tuned in. Instead of looking at my wrist every few minutes to check my pace or distance, I paid attention to my body and to the world around me.

I gained self-awareness by seeing and feeling my form, changing pace based on what my body was telling me, and finishing my run when I felt like finishing or when I reached my destination. Being completely present with my running was the ultimate meditation in motion.

photo 6I enhanced my connection with nature by taking in the sights, sounds, and weather and appreciated my surroundings.

embracetherainI ran at various times and in various places, on the road and on the trail.

photo 3If I was looking down at my wrist instead of all around me, I could have missed so many beautiful sights.

nakedrun rbbOne pretty incredible thing that I noticed is that when I did measure my pace (invisibly) toward the end of the challenge, I had gotten faster. My comfortable pace had changed in a positive way! I can’t say for certain if this was due to releasing myself of the psychological attachment to running stats, but I won’t discount that theory. After all, others have reported similar results, so I guess anything’s possible!

photo 4Although I have really appreciated the insight into myself and my running that this challenge has given me, I am ready to rekindle my relationship with my Garmin 110. Things have certainly changed between us. It’s no longer a love affair and I won’t be depending on it as much as I used to.

We’re better off as friends, anyway.


A few quotes from the linked article to meditate on this week:

“Wearing technology while running intrudes on the mind’s attempt to give itself over to the body.”– Ben Agger, Ph.D., author of Body Problems: Running and Living Long in a Fast-Food Society

“As much as numbers sometimes motivate us, they sometimes limit us. We all have this number in our head—we think we can’t perform well unless we’re at that exact spot, and we limit ourselves to that number.”– Jessica Underhill, Fit Chick in the City

“…But by blinding yourself to the various digits, you might push past your own barriers and discover another level of running.” – Jenn Miller, Runner’s World

Happy running!


4 Responses to “RunFree4Me Recap”

  1. olivetorun June 3, 2013 at 4:03 pm #

    Wow to this whole post. I loved reading it and hearing your thoughts and feedback. I definitely agree with everything you said, which is why I wanted to challenge others AND MYSELF to try escaping the trap of being so dependent on our tracking devices and other technology. This–> During these free runs, I tuned in. was beautiful. Thank you for sharing and participating! ❤

    • Nikki June 3, 2013 at 4:57 pm #

      Aww, thank you! And thank you so much for having the challenge, I probably wouldn’t have made the choice to do this on my own. I always try to tune in during my runs, but letting go of the tech really enhanced that. 🙂

  2. Sarah @ Sweet Miles June 3, 2013 at 5:17 pm #

    Love this. It’s so true. I often run with my phone, and sometimes catch myself looking down at it if I get a text, or fidgeting with the music, or on and on! Talk about missing out on the moment of a glorious run! Being a competitive runner is tough too, when I’m trying so hard to stick to a certain time, I forget about WHY I’m running in the first place!

    • Nikki June 3, 2013 at 8:34 pm #

      I am definitely working on reforming myself and focusing a little less on the tech, so that it doesn’t interfere with the run. I actually didn’t miss running with music that much!

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