I went on a 13 mile trail run today, and forgot my watch at home. I was a little annoyed at first, but since the trail wasn’t so close to my house, I figured I’d just forget about it.
It’s funny, I never realized how used to a watch I am. When I set out, I felt like I hadn’t really started because I didn’t click the “Start” button on my watch. And at various points throughout the run, I checked my startlingly bare wrist to calculate my pace. Toward the end, I think I started hallucinating, because I could’ve sworn I saw a watch on my arm… phantom watch syndrome, I suppose.
Though it took some getting used to, the run was definitely nicer without the watch. I’m not one of those runners who cares so much about my pace for long runs (it’s a different story for speed-work, of course), but today I realized that I still do worry about my time in the back of my head. And not having a watch forced me to concentrate not on my time, but on running based on how I felt, which is undoubtedly healthier and smarter training.
So, while I don’t recommend leaving your watch home for every long run (it’s good to know your long distance pace), I do urge any runners who’ve never tried it to forget about time and hit the trails. It’s worth it, believe me.