Recently updated on: September 30, 2023
For the past few weeks, I started building my running routine once again. Though I’m nowhere near my peak condition three years ago, I am just happy to be doing one thing that I love.
However, due to this ongoing pandemic, I made several changes to my running routine. Compared to what I wrote a few months ago, I am no longer scared to go outside, which limited my running route. I am now more comfortable running longer and going to places I used to go.
But I still needed to be conscious and careful where I run. I follow the minimum health standards like physical distancing and wearing a face mask (which makes it harder to breathe). I even started running after 6 PM, so fewer people are on the streets.
Though several discomforts come along with running again, I am glad to do it as often as possible.
I also removed any electronic devices when running, like my phone and running watch. And by eliminating these distractions to run technologically naked, I’ve learned a few more things about myself and the sports I love. Here are some:
1. I became less conscious of my speed.
For most of my running years, I only have two main running-related goals. The first is to run on the Annual National Milo Marathon. The second is to run in one of the six major marathons — New York, Boston, Tokyo, Berlin, London, or Chicago Marathon.
Both races are difficult to qualify for since they require a fast finish time. That is why I became obsessed with my running speed. But since our current situation is not normal, I decided to adapt for the meantime and adjust my pace.
And since I am no longer wearing any gadgets and checking Strava for my stats, I became more at ease. I am not running against time anymore but against myself. I can speed up or slow down whenever I feel the need and training my body and mind to be more adaptive.
Maybe in the next few months, I will re-engage in time trials, but I am happy just to be running for now.
2. I became more aware of my surroundings.
Once my gadgets were removed, the desire to check my pace, distance, or notifications were removed along with it.
I became more aware of where I am at any moment. I can see where I am running and the obstacles in front or beside me.
I can see the faces of people walking or the vehicles approaching. I also noticed the changes in our town, the establishments, both old and new.
Since I also don’t wear any earphones, I can hear the sounds of my town, the vehicles, the noises, the voices, and the footsteps.
3. I can clear my head and think.
I run not just for my physical health but also my mental health. My mind is usually cluttered with distractions and thoughts. I am always distracted by my laptop and phone, so I mindlessly scroll through social media or think about work.
But when I am running, I am free. I can clear my head and think about other things. Some of my best ideas also emerged while running. However, I don’t have anything to write them down, which is a disadvantage, but that’s okay.
4. I feel lighter.
Of course, since I no longer have any gadgets in me, I am lighter. I am no longer discomforted by my running belt, where I put my phone or the watch, which sometimes hurt my wrist when I wore it long enough.
I am also more focused on my strides — the contact between the asphalt and my shoes. I can even re-train my breathing to make my lungs more efficient when running.
5. I can run in the rain more often.
Some will disagree, but I believe running in the rain is one of the best runs we can have. When running in the rain, I usually sing Have You Ever Seen The Rain by CCR, which gives me a boost.
Running in the rain while wearing gadgets is not recommended. Many of my devices were damaged because of this hobby.
But now I can run in the rain as long as I want since I am running gadget-free. I have to dry my shoes afterward.
Today, it is very common for people to post everything on social media, including our exercise routines. It is great to see your previous exercise’s progress, but there should always be a limit.
We need to rediscover the fun of running for its own sake. Run for your body and your mind. In an ever-connected world, we need to disconnect more. We may feel that we miss out on things, but we’re not most of the time.
Run. Be more present. Be more active. Be more than what you think you’re capable of.