To be clear running naked has nothing to do with clothing – or lack there of. It is about running without measuring. Every once in a while we should just run. Don’t turn on the GPS watch or whatever it is that you use to measure time and distance. Running is more than analytics. There is a spirit to running. When we measure everything that we do, we can go flat. We are constantly trying to improve. That is alright. I get that. There is proper balance. Everyone’s is different.
I tend to over analyze everything. Part of my job is to analyze engine reports. I look at small differences in idle time, load factors, acceleration histograms, average RPM, average road speed etc. and study those number to look for ways to improve fuel mileage. Trucks are machines. Runners aren’t. Sometimes we need a different approach.
This marathon training season started out well for me. I got myself started in late October. It meant time in the gym, lifting weights and running on the treadmill. The efforts were paying off. My pace for the 6 mile training run was about 10:30 per mile. That improved to about 10:20 on the 7 miler and dropped 10:06 on the 8 miler. Getting close to the 10 minute mark was my goal. I was trying to do this by not looking at my watch the first half of the training runs. Everything was looking good.
The weekend of the 9 mile training run, I was out of town for a truck show. I pushed a little too hard during the week. My body does not respond well to 3 consecutive days of hard running. That week I challenged my history and got back spasms as a reward. It changed my routine for a few days, but I got through it. Then in my typical fashion I pushed hard when my back felt better and I got in a rut. Improvement stopped. One of my February goals is to get my 5k time below 28:00. It has been a struggle and the goal seemed to be getting further away.
Then on Tuesday, I ran naked. I had an hour to run while in Dubuque, IA. I left the downtown hotel and their treadmills behind. At 06:00 I left without starting my GPS. I ran towards the river, and explored the area, that included a museum, paddle boats, and a museum. As it started getting lighter I went up the big hill to check out the view. The hill was a little too steep for me, so I walked some. I ran through the neighborhoods at the top of the hill and enjoyed the older homes as well as the view. I just ran until it was time to stop. It felt great to run free.
The good new is after my “naked” run in Dubuque, I am feeling positive about my training again. On Thursday I ran a 28:02 5k. On Tuesday, I will take another stab at it, and I feel positive that I will be under 28:00. Sometimes the best way to hit your goals is to quit aiming at them and just run.