Follow Your Body and Pace, Not Your Garmin

SteamtownWhile plenty of running apps guide you on how to run a marathon, how to achieve your target finish time, the target pace, average speed, and all sundry, the best advice I have received is “Follow your pace and your body, not your Garmin.”

Not from Garmin, but a buddy, with whom I ran my first marathon. After a couple of marathons, I now know more than ever what he meant. For, I have paid the price each time I did not take his words seriously.

Sometimes I have listened too much to the running app instead of my body. Yet running apps lie, lie and lie! Those moments their GPS locator fails! It did not occur to me [stupid as it sounds] that running apps timing is based on GPS availability!

Well, I had never paid serious attention, until that sweet-bitter race! My finish time was totally different from the official marathon finish time, I learned that my running app did not correctly record the time, in plac
es it was MIA! It just continued on from where it had stopped recording.

Sometimes, I listen to the paces of fellow runners, and either follow, maintain my pace or slow down. This could either be both a good and bad for achieving my race goal.

A week and a-half ago, I did my second marathon of this year, after Boston in April. For this last marathon, it was a great idea to strike a balance between holding back and following “the crowds”. For most the run, I decided my own pace; oh I take that back, MapMyFitness [and sometimes RunKeeper] decided my pace.

Then and again, I tagged onto a runner or a group of runners. About three miles to finish, I found myself a pacesetter who pulled me along to finish. If she did not come along when she did, I would have slowed down, especially at Mile 25. I did not expect that nasty hill near the finish. Let me just say, from mile 23, it was all uphill. But she was still running as fit as a fiddle, and had done this race before.Pacesetter

So, I just tagged along, and that helped me conquer the steep hills. In fact, she saved me from a would-be shocking terrible finish. I had no idea, my apps were not telling me correct timing! I was holding back, thinking I am running faster than my target pace. All wrong!

I know that going too fast can also be detrimental to a good finish. Boston 2015 comes to mind. I had a great time, running out there with lots of cheers, the weather was not too bad and my legs felt in the best shape ever. I was not listening too much to my running app, but my body.

But for the last six miles, particularly the last three miles, I experienced the most difficulty, staying the course. Plenty of times, I wanted to quit and walk. It was gruesome climb after climb. The course is a pain in the butt, plus the wind velocity of the day. Damn! It beat me so bad. But I am proud because I had great pace/mileage.

For my next marathon, I plan follow my body and legs more than my Garmin. Yes, I am going to invest in a Garmin again! You know, ever since I started running with my phone [which is kind of for security purposes] I put off buying another Garmin after my previous one broke. I thought, running apps work as good as a Garmin.

But there’s no better GPS technology than a Garmin to locate you, while mobile network provider sleeps off. Implying, the “security phone” is actually not secure the entire course. Your mobile network provider might not rescue you, if you run off in the thicket of the forest!

Above all, remember to have fun running a marathon, color your hair, read the placards and give a power touch whenever a spectator asks for one. High 5 the kids, stretching their hand out to cheer you on along the course. Respond with a “Thank You” to the spectators as much as possible. It means a lot to acknowledge those who have foregone their sleep, standing out in the freaking cold, the heat or pollen to fuel you up.

Next up, Chic-Town?Pacesetter too

Good Luck Charms for Runners

To quote Ulysses S. Grant,

“Everyone has his superstitions. One of mine has always been when I started to go anywhere, or to do anything, never to turn back or to stop until the thing intended was accomplished.”

I have my own superstitions, which I have also dubbed Good Luck Charms for Runners. Here is one, “If you run the first day of the month, you get good luck throughout the entire month. You will run literally all the 28 or 29 or 30 or 31 days of the month! Ok, maybe I made that up. At least I live by it, and it works for me! Try it; you may like it!

I consciously try to go for a run every first day, and last day of the month. So, I am ‘haunted’ throughout the month to stay on course. Plus, Monday is a Running Day for me, since I joined my first “Hash” with the Kampala Hash House Harriers (KH3) in Uganda back in 2011. Though now I physically run solo where I live [except once when I did the New Years Eve Run], I feel and stay part of a running community.

I virtually run with KH3 on Monday, even though their weekly six O’clock run happens before or after mine. I am subscribed to a couple of running Apps –Runkeeper, MapMyRun and MiCoach, through which I follow my running-mates around the world. Following my friends on mobile Apps helps boost my morale and commitment to keep running, always aiming to top the “Leadership Table” every week and at end of the month. I enjoy observing their running and other fitness activities, which boost my running morale.

Thankfully, I have started off March running the 1st day, and the 1st Monday. The last week of February 2015, I put in 47 miles in four days. My target of 50+ and five days did not happen due to a combination of necessary rest and conflict of schedule: Monday was a resting day, because I had ran 12 miles the day before in sleet and freeze; Wednesday became tres occupé for me, when I should have put in a run; I rested on Saturday because I ran 18+ miles on Friday, then went out on Sunday. This Monday, I did it again, because the schedule permitted!

I am glad for what I was able to do. Keeps getting better by the week. I am pounding the road, the tarmac and trying to put in all the mileage. It is cold, it is snowed out, it is icy, all the conditions that could discourage one from going out running. Especially, solo running is more dreadful! Thankfully, I sucked it up and did my mileage. I was not able to run the last day of the month, per my plan, but I ran the first day of the following month.

I always say that running the first day of the month helps fuel my running for the entire month. I didn’t do that bad at all this month. In fact, February is my best month, thus far. I broke many records: 1) Farthest Distance in a Month; 2) Longest Duration in a Month; and 3) Most Calories Burned in a Month. 🙌🙌🙌

Hopefully, March will march along so good for me. I need to put in those mileages, as the marathon draws nigh! And these Muzinos need a final rest.

Rest in Peace, Muzino

Rest in Peace, Muzino

So, if you still wanna support me on my journey in six weeks, please click on this link to make a donation that could afford me a new pair of shoes. Most importantly, please help me raise money for the Tufts Medical Center, on behalf of the Tufts Marathon Team I am running with. I would be most grateful!