Try New Things Tuesday: Running “Naked”

Hi everyone!  It’s time for another installment of Try New Things Tuesday!


This week’s new thing is running “naked”.  Not that kind of naked, people!  I’m talking about running without a watch or other timing device.  As you saw in my Hershey 10k recap, I had to run the race without my trusty watch.  While that’s something I’ve been thinking about trying for a while, I was kind of accidentally pushed into it sooner than I thought!

Many bloggers out there have spoken about their experiences running without their Garmin, and while the idea initially shocked me I started to realize that this was something I should probably try soon.  If I’m going to be honest here, I am kind of addicted to my Garmin, especially during races.  I love seeing my paces per mile and analyzing how I did based on how I felt.  But after last weekend’s Hot Chocolate 5k I’ve been seriously thinking about how my pace and PR goals can sometimes mess with my mind.  I have no idea how I would have done in that race without my Garmin, but I can honestly say that after seeing that mile #1 was 9:40 and realizing that I probably couldn’t pick up the pace enough to PR I started to feel sick and really talked myself out of even trying to run faster.  I finished that race with a stomach ache, low spirits, and a finish time that was 2 seconds away from my “C” goal for the race (sub-30:00).  I know that seeing my slow pace in mile #1 is what triggered my downfall and I know that it’s happened in many races before.  In fact, even though I got a 19 minute PR in the Love Run Half a few weeks ago I did actually talk myself out of speeding up at the end because I was already PRing, why push it?

So when I realized on Sunday that I had left my Garmin in my gym bag at my parent’s house I was scared but also kind of curious to see how I would do without a watch.  I knew that it would probably drive me crazy to run on feel alone but that I didn’t really have a choice right now.  Mile 1 was probably the toughest without a watch because I really try not to go out too fast and at that point I had no idea how fast I was going.  I could hear all the watches around me beeping when we hit 1 mile and I tried to spy on other people but no one was really talking about their pace.  I pushed myself hard through the halfway point and even though I usually never take water breaks in shorter races I realized that I really needed some water!  I would usually stress about my time in the water stops but since I didn’t have mile splits to analyze I decided that I wouldn’t stress about lost time.  I also heard a few people talking about their time at the 5k mark and it was in the high 9:00/mile range so that helped me feel confident that I was on track.

20140413-234530.jpgAndrew caught me (in the white shirt) after the first water stop – notice my lime green Garmin is not with me!

Running based on feel was tricky in Hershey Park because there were so many hills and my stomach was starting to hurt.  I wanted to slow down but knowing that I had no idea how fast/slow I was going kept me running as hard as I could.  I did look at my wrist a few times at the end of the race out of habit, which convinced me that this was a good idea!  I could tell my body was trying to quit on me and find excuses to run slower but without knowing my pace I couldn’t use that excuse to slow down!  I instead focused on picking people off and trying to see how many people I could pass at the end of the race.  There was one woman that I’d been battling it out with all race – I would pass her, she would pass me – but she was wearing a “Baby on board” shirt and I felt weird passing a pregnant woman for some reason.  At the end I just didn’t care and ran past her into the stadium.  I have to say that I had one of the strongest finishes ever and gave everything I had when crossing the finish line!  Even when I saw the time on the clock!




You can’t see it in the picture, but my clock time was over 1:04.  Which would not have been a PR.  I was definitely worried as I grabbed my post-race food and medal, but as you saw in yesterday’s post I not only PRed but ran over 6 minutes faster than last year’s Hershey 10k!  I’m not sure if the PR was related to running without my Garmin, but I can honestly say that I felt much more relaxed and calm during the race and my focus was more about enjoying my surroundings and less on killing myself to make up some time in the last mile.  I think it definitely helped!

So what did I think about running without my Garmin?  Overall I give it a 5 out of 5!

  • The biggest drawback is that it was scary!  It’s so hard to run without it when you’ve run with it for so long.  It’s almost like an addiction – I felt like I was going to go crazy without it on my wrist!
  • After I got into a rhythm I felt much better about running without a Garmin, but mile 1 was hard.
  • It felt nice to not be stressed out about time, especially at the end when I was struggling so much.
  • I missed analyzing my mile splits after the race, but I know I did a great job and that’s all that matters!
  • I enjoyed focusing more on the run and less on my time.  I usually feel sick and worried about my time at the end of races, but in this race I just really wanted to finish so I could see my time so it was a different focus!
  • I always forget to pause my Garmin after the finish line anyways, so one less thing to worry about!

Would I do it again?  Absolutely!  I think my next 5k (whenever that is!) will be done without a watch to see if it makes any difference.  I feel that in longer races I rely on my Garmin to tell me if I’m going too fast and helps prevent burnout early in the race, but on my shorter races my Garmin stresses me out about PRing and makes me doubt myself.  I would never run a half without my Garmin but I think I might run the shorter races without it!

20130909-194800.jpgSorry Garmin, your days of 3 mile runs are over!  PS check out my shoes – this pic is old!

Do you ever take breaks from your Garmin?  If you’ve recently tried running “naked” how did you like it?  Did it help improve your race time?

17 thoughts on “Try New Things Tuesday: Running “Naked”

  1. Go you! I can definitely relate to this post, especially “I did actually talk myself out of speeding up at the end because I was already PRing, why push it?”.

    I usually do not run “naked” unless it is a very short (3 miles>) run by myself. Maybe I will try a 5K one day.

    1. I feel like so many people do this! Running is such a crazy mental sport – it’s amazing how we can talk ourself out of running faster even though we don’t really want to!

  2. I’ve never run a race “naked” since I’ve gotten my Garmin and it’s kinda scary to think about lol. I still do do (doodoo hehe) normal runs without it but good for you girl!

    1. I totally hear you – I was terrified to run without it! I think it’s best to try this out with a race that you won’t be upset to not PR in. I figured it was too hilly for me to PR and decided to make it fun, and that helped me stay in the right mindset before the race. I probably won’t do this all the time though!

  3. I did my most recent race nearly “naked.” I turned on the garmin at the start and then pulled my sleeve down over it and didn’t look at it until the end (so I could track my total mileage and see my splits). It was hard not to look (found myself looking down at my watch out of habit, to only see my sleeve), but I managed.

    It felt great to run without it until the last KM of the 10K. Then not knowing where I was at (finish line was around a few corners) was mentally hard when I was feeling tired. Seeing how close I was to the finish, via garmin, might’ve given me an extra bit of pep…but who knows. lol.

    Congrats on your PR and cheers to getting “naked.”

    1. Okay that’s a good idea! I’d love to know that it was tracking my stats but that I couldn’t see it (although I sure would try to take a peek!). Also, I had run this exact race last year and knew exactly where the finish line was so I think that mentally helped me push hard at the end even without my watch telling me how much distance was left. I think running naked in a race without many distance markers and that I was unfamiliar with might have been more difficult!

      1. They had kilometer markers for my race (which is an issue to me because I track my mileage in miles, not KMS like most Canadians), so it through me for a bit of a loop as to how much further I really had to go.

        All that aside, I was intrigued by doing the race this way, especially when I wasn’t trained. I could see doing a hybrid of this approach in the future–wear a wrist cuff to cover, but that is easily moveable if one wanted to check pacing.

  4. Good for you! I don’t have a Garmin but I have always wanted one, so it’s interesting to note that maybe I’ll become too dependent on it. That’s awesome you PRed and had fun without it. Maybe Garmin’s are good for training runs but nice to leave them at home at a race?

    1. I think that’s probably true! Although like I said, I would definitely want one during half marathons since pacing during the earlier miles is so important. I do suggest getting one or at least using something like RunKeeper so you can keep track of your runs, the distance you’re running, and your speed. It’s fun to analyze your runs later! I just think I let my mind take over too much when it sees my pace so I need to work on that!

    1. Yes I do! It’s not fancy (no heart rate monitor or anything like that) but for keeping track of my pace, distance, and location it’s perfect! And I’ve worn it in some crazy rain and it still works great!

  5. I completely agree! I like using my Garmin to pace myself on my long runs. I keep going out too fast. Will I ever learn? For shorter distances, though, my Garmin completely stresses me out, too! I am trying to not look at it on my morning “easy” runs. I try to go by feel, which has been working well for me!

    1. I’m so glad it’s not just me! It drives me crazy not knowing my pace but I do think it helped keep me from stressing too much during the race!

    1. Yay for being twins! And I am still such a rookie that I think I’d totally go out too fast in a half marathon without my Garmin! I hope to be able to run all races without it someday!

  6. I ran my Tuesday run naked. Actually had a friend pacing me and discovered that tracking my pace in a manner that allows me to know what I’m doing puts me into my head and then I slow down. Can’t wait till my next run!

    1. I think it’s so crazy that our bodies are doing that to us! But I’m glad we’re able to run faster without our Garmins! Good luck with your next run!

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