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3. Always Pushing The Easy Days
Perhaps the most common mistake I see with runners who are addicted to their GPS devices is not listening to how their body feels during easy recovery runs. As a data-obsessed runner, it’s easy to record each mile split and compare to previous runs or what a normal easy run pace may be. Unfortunately, sometimes the body isn’t feeling great and requires a very slow pace to recover. Maybe it’s from a previous workout or perhaps it’s general life stress, but feeling tired and lethargic on an easy day is part of the training process. When a runner has the GPS strapped to their wrist, they neglect to listen to the signs the body is projecting. Instead, they try to maintain what they think is their easy pace. Consequently, they don’t recover as fast as they should and hinder their performance in subsequent workouts.
It’s also common for runners, beginners and veterans alike, to challenge themselves to run just a little faster every day. With a GPS, it’s easy to monitor how fast you’re running on a commonly run route and, when the realization occurs that a PR for the course is within reach, runners tend to push themselves harder to beat their previous best.
What you can do to counter your dependency:
Ditch the GPS watch on your easy recovery runs and cooldown miles. The purpose of these runs has nothing to with pace and the speed at which you complete them has no bearing on their effectiveness. When you free yourself from the constant data of a GPS watch on an easy run, you learn to listen to your body and maximize the value of each mile you run as opposed to being a slave to inconsequential data and hindering your progression.
No doubt GPS watches have made training easier, more effective, and allowed runners and coaches to be more creative with their workouts. However, be mindful of the dependencies you might be forming and implement these ideas during your current training cycle to ensure you can maximize your physical and mental preparation for your next race.