I did a thing the other day. A scary thing.

A thing I’ve always been tempted to try, but never had the bottle.

I went for a run without a GPS watch or a running app.

That last sentence was an existential nightmare to write, because how do I actually know I went for a run, without the stats to tell me that I did? I’ve asked my wife, and apparently I did go for a run, and also I should stop being a bloody idiot.

For as long as I’ve been running, I’ve worn a watch or used a phone app to track my pace, distance, heart rate and so forth. And for as long as I’ve done that, I’ve been reading articles about how we should free ourselves from this reliance on fancy gadgetry and just run for the pure joy of running. I’ve always struggled with the idea, because I happen to like poring over stats and comparing my graceless shuffling to the graceless shuffling of previous years. Sometimes I compare my stats to those of proper runners, and then I have a little cry. Every now and then, my watch will cut out halfway through a run and I’ll have a moment of mild panic at the thought that I may end up without any sort of lasting reminder of it (y’know, other than my memory, the long-term fitness benefits, and a few dozen photographs).

Due to that, I was extremely surprised at myself the other night when I was getting ready to go out for a run. I reached for my watch, but then stopped halfway and thought “you know what? Sod it”. Before I could question it, I was out the door and skipping merrily down the road, sans montre.

So then… this is the bit where I should start blathering on about the tremendous sense of freedom. About breaking the bonds of technology and reconnecting with what it means to be a runner.

But no.

It was just a run. No epiphany. No lightbulb. No wildflowers blooming wherever I stepped. Just a run.

I was more than a little underwhelmed at my first foray into tech-less running, so I’ll be sticking with my watch. I just quite like the comfort of knowing it’s there, even though I rarely even look at the stats these days (mostly out of fear). I’m giving up my dreams of joining the back-to-basics stripped-down runners who forego the modern trappings of the sport. I’ll keep wearing a watch, I’ll avoid the urge to run barefoot and I probably won’t mainline kale into the end of my winkle.

On the advice of my legal team, I’d very much like to make it clear that I’m definitely not suggesting that anyone who shuns a GPS running watch is some sort of hippy.

I should also point out that my legal team is comprised of my hand with a little face drawn on it and the word “lawyer”. He’s called “Dave Shimmermimmerman, Attorney at Law”, but he’s only really an expert in hand law and I’m fairly certain that’s not a thing.

In conclusion then, it was a nice enough run, but the only difference I noticed by not wearing a watch was that one of my wrists felt a little bit lighter than usual.




Hey lovely person who’s reading my blog! How are you? Guess what, I’ve been shortlisted for the 2016 Running Awards. Yay! I was nominated for an award last year, and while I didn’t win, I did get horrifically drunk and became very excited when I found a button on the floor. Long story. Anyway, if you enjoy reading this blog, then frankly you’re a bit weird. But also, it’d be lovely if you could spare a few seconds to vote for me in the online/blog category (I’ve resigned myself to the fact that I’m unlikely to win “Shoe of the Year”). Here’s the linky: Running Awards 2016. Last year there weren’t snacks, but this year there might be snacks, so please please PLEASE don’t let me not be a part of the potential snack-eating.  Fankoo!


Coffee and cake? Yes please, that’d be lovely.

3 thoughts on “Freedom

  1. Great post as always.

    That lighter wrist may be the difference between a PB or not over a long distance, you never know.

    However, if it were me, the benefits would be outweighed by the psychological trauma caused by the incorrect spelling of ‘lawyer’ every time I was to look at that hand.
    Actually, if I were in fact running with your hand then I dare say the psychological trauma of running along with someone else’s hand would probably be even greater…and definitely outweigh the benefits of not wearing a watch.

  2. Dr Dave, please can you explain the intricacies of hand wrestling, in particular the offside rule. Thank you, Paul, Man-at-arms.

  3. Pingback: Freedom (part two) | Born to Plod

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s