The Everyman: Geeking Out On A Run

There has to be a better way of bringing your cell phone to a race than just carrying it. Photo: www.shutterstock.com

As runners, do we really need all this technology stuff?

Like it or not, we’re a tech-driven society filled with geeks.

I’m one of those folks—at the moment I’m typing on an Apple keyboard connected to a Macbook Pro tethered to an extended monitor. The computer is sitting atop another Macbook Pro, and it’s next to a Macbook. There’s an Apple Magic Mouse, too.

Next to all of that is my iPhone 5s. Across the room is my Garmin 910 XT and its charger.

I use Garmin Connect and Strava to manage my cycling and running life, and just Garmin Connect for swimming.

I’ve been contemplating adding an Apple sticker to the bike rack on my car for some time—and I’ve just about convinced myself to do it.

So yes, I’m a huge nerd.

Thankfully I don’t have to haul all this stuff with me when I’m on my bike or on a run. But I do take my Garmin and a cell phone. (Always bring a cell phone. Safety must come first.)

But therein lies my dilemma: I don’t have a pair of shorts with a good pocket for carrying my iPhone. I already have a gel or two in my other pocket, which causes it to swing wildly to and fro when I’m out there pounding the pavement. Adding a cell phone to the other pocket makes me look kind of foolish.

Last week I was out for a quick midday 5-miler when my iPhone, which I always place into a plastic bag if I’m running or cycling, flew out of my pocket and landed on the road. The geek in me internally panicked and flipped out, but thankfully there was no damage. I carried it the rest of the way home. That was a major hassle.

A quick Google search reveals other options for carrying phones—armbands (not for me), fuel belts (only if it’s a long run), and rear pockets in tight-fitting triathlon tops (only for racing). Now I’m on the hunt for a pair of shorts with an insulated iPhone pocket (I welcome your ideas).

RELATED: Should You Ditch Your GPS Watch?

This brings me to my next point: Running apps and music. We published a short photo gallery this week of four running apps available to runners. And there are other products that allow us to listen to music via wireless headphones. Some people circumvent that and simply play music on the speaker of their phones while running.

One look through the photos of any race reveals that almost everyone—except for the elites—has white earbuds sticking out of their ears. For safety reasons, listening to music during a triathlon is against the rules. But for running races, it’s fair game.

What will be the next big thing to hit the running world? An app that dulls the pain of running a marathon? How about a microchip implanted in our wrist that serves as both a GPS watch and a music player?

RELATED: Running To The Sound Of Music

Don’t get me wrong: Technology is great and it makes our lives easier and safer. But sometimes being plugged in too much takes away from what’s really important. Next time you head out for a run, bring your phone with you but turn off both the ringer and the vibrate feature. Put it in your armband/fuel belt/pocket and forget about it.

Listen to your feet hitting the ground and the birds chirping around you. Look at the clouds above you and glance at the sun. That’s what running is really about. It’s not about measuring your heart rate, counting your cadence, and staring at your watch every minute to check your pace (I do that).

Try to run completely unplugged once a week. You’ll enjoy it.

Are you a geeked-out runner? Tweet me @jason_devaney1.

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