Yet I am hearing more and more whispers of pushback from the blogosphere against the amount of technology and how more and more runners are beginning to run naked more often (no that is not without clothes, but without electronics).
How is this affecting me?
I have noticed that I am started to look at technology and how I use it for running a little differently over the past week or so.
Instead of focusing on enjoying my runs, it seems I have been more worried about whether my GPS is connected to its satellite correctly, are my splits are accurate (did I run at a 1.02, .97, or 1.45, instead of 1.0 mile) , how far off is the GPS is at the end of a run (was this run 13.1, 13.33 or 13.67), did it sync to the website(s), can I go in and adjust the mileage to what it actually was, did it post to Facebook, Twitter or DailyMile, instead of enjoying my run.
If the GPS device, App or web site I am using isn’t working just so, then I have been thinking, do I need a different iPhone App/website – one that is more accurate or more visually appealing than the last one or do I need to go out and spend several hundred dollars on a new GPS device that is supposed to be much more accurate?
Over the past few weeks I have spent a lot of time and effort researching the answer to these questions, with no solid answers.
After all I want to accurately document my mileage/times/pace and have the graphs/reports be visually appealing, so that I can share it with my running community.
I do remember a time
Yes I am that old and no we didn’t always have digital methods to capture, collate or display data. The truth is that I am not a digital native and don’t always believe that having things in a digital format, solves all the world’s problems.
It used to be the biggest worry I had was finding a running log that I liked in December (for the next year), finding a pen, remembering to log my runs and transfer the data to the back of the books where the summaries were located. Usually, it took all of 5-10 minutes (often less) to record everything I needed to document my running.
In today’s age of GPS, websites, social media and digital everything else, it seems that simply recording, interpreting and then publishing/posting my running data has taken on a life of its own and become something that ends up taking a lot more time than it should.
Sure GPS and the associated websites are useful tools, to record your data quickly and easily (when it works correctly), allows you to display the data in ways that make sense to the developers and sometimes you, have graphics to aid that interpretation and to show the world that you are not a fantasy runner, but at what point is data, simply too much data?
What I really need to know
These are the questions that I want to be able to answer about my running:
- Yes I am improving – a lot
- Yes I am improving – slowly
- No I am not improving
- No I am getting worse (getting old sucks)
- Boy it sucks to be injured
Do I need mountains of data to prove any of these – nope a quick review of my weekly mileage or monthly summaries, race or tempo workouts results, my weight (yes this is important) and how I am feeling will answer those holistic questions.
I am not an elite runner or even a very good local one, but I am trying to be as good a runner as I can, while still enjoying my running and not being an asshat or being stupid about it.
The mountains of data might give me a specific numbers about how much better or worse I am doing. i.e. I am averaging an 8:55 mile pace for my runs this year or that my average run is 5.6 miles versus what ever it was last year. But do I really look at this data very often – no and I don’t believe that any one else is looking all that closely at it either.
No Pen/Paper Logs
I am not going back to pen and paper and my remarks are going to be here on my blog and be less concerned about showing data points to the world and focus more about what I am seeing, thinking and hearing when I am out running.
Yes I will keep up with the latest and greatest technology as it applies to running, but will look a lot more closely at the added benefit that something actually brings to my running versus the “cool” or “geek” factor of having the newest gadget means.
The reality is that
Does this mean I am going to stop being a geek, hell no, but it might mean that when I am out running, it is a time that I can disconnect a little and be less of one. Who knows maybe my age is beginning to show a little and the old curmudgeon is coming out to pay a visit – darn Boomer.
Not everyone will agree with me one the direction that I am going (rather retro) and many might want even more data then they have now. My question will be, how much data do we really need to run and how will you actually use the data and for how long?
After all it is just data and creating data is not why I run, the data is a result of my running. Sometimes I think that we forget that, when we get so caught up in analyzing data and stop enjoying the running.