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A Beginning Runner's Experiment: Naked Running

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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Ohhhh yeah...THAT got your attention, didn't it??? Haha.

This past weekend, I was privileged to speak with one of SparkPeople's GREATS in the sport of running - ABSOLUTZER0. I am not gonna lie - one hour on the phone with this guy is probably the equivalent of several books' worth of race prep/running knowledge! What a great gift he gave me! We just geeked out about running and had a wonderful time doing it.

One of the subjects we talked about was "naked running", which is running without music or a Garmin or any other type of gadgetry. Runners vary in their preferences...some absolutely rely on an mp3 player and others don't.

ABSOLUTZER0 is a purist, if you will. He runs to the sound of his own heartbeat and his feet on the pavement - for a couple reasons. First, he enjoys interacting with people - other runners on the course and also the crowd. Second, without music to distract him or drown everything out, he is better able to focus on his body's cues and what is going on inside him and around him while he runs.

In light of a blog I recently read where WONDERWOMAN shared that she went to turn on her ipod at the Green Bay Cellcom Half Marathon this weekend and found that it was dead, I decided to give this naked running a try this morning. Call it a beginning runner's experiment.

Frankly, I LOOOOVE my music. I have determined that I don't necessarily use the beat of my music to pace my run...my pace stays pretty steady...but it does keep me moving and awake and helps me break the run up a bit. So, I really wondered if this would be awful. However, I refused to allow negative self-talk in and to be open-minded and give it everything I had.

The run started off well, but I will admit...I was tired today. My body was just worn out. So, I knew that would affect my overall performance. I had a decent interval at the start of the run, but walked most of the first half after that.

In addition, I had a pretty off day nutritionally yesterday. I definitely learned this morning that it is NOT good for me, personally, to try to run the day after I have had almost no vegetables. I didn't eat crap or anything...I mean, it was just all protein and complex carbs. Still stayed in my calorie range...but no leafy greens. What a lesson!!!

Oh, friends...let's just say this. There is one thing that I said I will NEVER EVER do...but this morning, I had to submit to the fact that I will need to handle this issue as I delve into longer runs. The dreaded and disgusting...port o potty. So disturbing for me! Halway through my run, I faced this fear. And, as any good runner knows, it's best to get these things out of the way during training and not have the first experience with it be during a real race. This is unpleasant, but it is the nature of our sport. At some point, we'll have to visit this dark chamber of putrid death.

I'm pretty sure I gagged for a quarter of a mile after that. BUT...any sadness I felt at a loss of music was FAR outweighed by my joy of running in the fresh, summer morning air.

In all seriousness, this naked running was not a terrible experience at all. I definitely did learn about my breathing patterns, which was interesting. And there were plenty of great sounds from nature itself to keep me entertained the entire 3 miles. I mean...have you heard these BIRDS??? They rock!

Final verdict: I'll probably stick with my tunes and my interval timer, because they give me pleasure but I've also decided to work some naked runs into my training schedule at regular intervals - if only to know how my body feels to not rely on interval times and Lady Gaga at varying distances. I feel versatility in training is important, because you just never know what's going to go down on race day.

On a side note, I had mentioned previously that there was a smiling lady about my age that I keep passing every time I run. We have that little "runners' connection" and are always happy to see each other...although we are always running in opposite directions and we've never met. This morning, before I left the house, I penned a quick note:

"Hey lady,

I don't know your story, but you should know that you're beautiful!
And I'm proud of you for running!

[Insert Leah contact info here]"

Well, as usual, we passed around the same spot that we always do and she said, "Good morning!" And I could actually hear her today because I didn't have my earbuds in! I proclaimed, "I have a note for you!" and passed it to her.

On the way back, we passed again and she introduced herself. Sarah. Yay! A new running friend!!! She said she usually runs alone, but if I wanted to run with her, we could go together sometime.

Which brings me to a future blog:
A Beginning Runner's Experiment: Running With A Partner.

Stay tuned, folks!!!
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    NOTE--darling idea! Love it!
    I actually have found it more fun to walk/run in the woods/on a road so I can make "pit stops" as needed. I hate feeling like I have to "go" when am out in public!

    2098 days ago
    emoticon for sharing
    2098 days ago
    great info!
    2098 days ago
    i just adore the fact that you gave her a note .... so fun and dear and kind and sweet ....
    2098 days ago
  • JPEARL127
    I've never done any type of exercise using earbuds; however, I know that I have liked Jazzercise in the past and Zumba is fun now.

    Keep up your great work--running with a partner does a couple of things for sure: it gives you a "buddy" whom you won't want to let down by missing a morning run, and it gives you someone to talk to so you know that you are running at the right pace!

    2098 days ago
    I love your blogs! I had my MP3 die on me during one of my 5K training runs and I thought I was going to die. I didn't, but the run seemed to get harder for me. I like to lose myself in the music so I can just let myself relax and enjoy the movement of my body. I guess I should give the naked running another shot with a more positive attitude.
    2098 days ago
    Well, I guess you won't be surprised to know that I enjoy naked running/walking!
    Sometimes the music is just way too distracting to me.

    Another great blog, my dear!
    SO proud of you!
    2098 days ago
  • MAGGIE101857
    Great blog! I do run with my music and other gadgets, but should give the
    "naked" a try. I've read that some races don't allow music, so better to be prepared! As for the port-a-potty; you just have to do it!!! lol
    2098 days ago
  • LARRI2010
    People think I'm weird because I walk without music. It just never occurs to me. I do walk with my iPhone, and I use RunKeeper to track my walk - I love how it tells me how far I walked and how long it took me. I don't love that "she" talks to me every 5 minutes to tell me how I am doing - I wish I could get her to shut up.

    Keep on doing what you're doing! It sounds great!
    2098 days ago
  • HEAT7918

    I either run on the treadmill while watching TV or outside with my iTunes - I'll have to think about this "naked" thing...

    And I have run with a friend a few times - it has it's pros & cons for me. So sweet of you to write that note to her though!!
    2098 days ago
    2098 days ago
    i do like my garmin, though i've run without it - and i go through periods of ipod with podcasts vs music, but mostly these days i run with DH (yay, i'm running again!) who mostly walks when i run (i'm slow) except when he runs as slow as he possibly can (i'm teaching him slow running) and i try to keep up with him - and those days seem to just disappear as we talk the whole time.

    i've never run with a running buddy who truly does run at my (slow) pace, though. i like time in my head, but i like to have something to think about.

    anyway, you are doing fabulous - and inspiring the rest of us at the same time!
    2098 days ago
    Great blog! I've tried running without my tunes, a couple of times by accident as I ran out the door and forgot by the time I'd already started running, and a couple of times on purpose. It's definitely different, and as you say, you can focus on technique and your breathing when you can hear everything.

    Where I am, traffic is always in the background, so I'd just as well run with music. Funny story, during my last 5k race, my iPod crapped out in the last mile, which is usually when I queue up my "final stretch tunes" to help maintain that extra kick at the end. I definitely noticed them missing as I hit the last 200-300 yards or so, and felt a little off.

    I'm not that much of a social animal when it comes to working out, and I generally run when there's nobody else around (late at night) so if I go without music, it's because I want to focus on one or two aspects of my technique or breathing. Having said that, I don't think I could go out without my Garmin. :)

    This running thing is addictive, isn't it?
    2098 days ago
    Oh Leah, you're giving me a big head with all these references. emoticon

    Not so sure about going Garmin-free. I like to have a record of my runs and I will use it to help pace when I'm actually racing. I do like my music, but occasionally go without. However Sunday was quite enjoyable without the music. I didn't miss the music at all, but think I would have missed a lot had I been plugged in. I just may leave the iPod packed away in Boulder Monday.
    2099 days ago
    No music? Oh, you're a braver woman than I am! I really like Kanye telling me all about being Stronger and anything from Ricky Martin makes my legs go faster, without fail!
    2099 days ago

    How emoticon
    you made a new friend.

    One of my fave movies is the OLD
    Jimmy Stewart "Harvey" with the
    invisible rabbit ? He says:
    "One can never have too many friends."

    Have you told her about SP yet ?

    Have a Wonderful Wednesday !

    emoticon WE can do it!

    emoticon emoticon


    2099 days ago
    Since it's not what I thought it was ;) I'm always a naked runner :) It's my only time to hear my own thoughts and is often a time to talk with God :)
    2099 days ago
    I don't usually use music on my outdoor walks. I've been considering it though to keep myself on track by using the beat of the music - pushing myself harder.

    The port-a-potty. I'm struggling how to plan potty breaks for my virtual 10K this summer. Not sure how I'm going to handle that or carrying water. Any ideas?
    2099 days ago
    Oh and at first I thought you were trying the natural naked shoes. haha
    2099 days ago
    Hey Leah, I have always ran with someone two out of 3 of my workouts. I like to let down and get all my junk out. The relationships you make with running partners can not be beat. I have been through much the past 6 years and my running buddy saw me through it all. I hope it goes great.
    2099 days ago
    While I still prefer my gadgetry (my iPod is my constant companion) I always try to get occasional days of running data-free... it's freeing and reconnects me with my body and the ground. GReat blog!
    2099 days ago
    I think it is great that tried naked running could to be versatile ... Even better that you might have a running buddy emoticon
    2099 days ago
  • JENNNY135
    I always run naked...lol. Never ran with music, I like to hear my breathing and try not to hear my feet cause you want to run light, not heavy. Running with a friend is great cause the run goes much quicker.

    2099 days ago
    I can not run without my music or watch I have tried and I need the music and love to see my pace mile to mile. but it is a great blog
    2099 days ago
  • WINNIE1978
    I love that you made a new friend while running! Bonus!

    I am just a treadmill runner so I think I'll stick with my iPod. I would like to try running outdoors someday, but I'll probably have to wait until Fall/Winter since I have temperature issues.
    2099 days ago
    Wow, you run naked and you get a running buddy? What a story!
    2099 days ago
    I guess I am "trendy"-- I don't have an MP3 player or anything else--so I never listen to music when I run. In the gym, I'll watch TV but outside--it is just me and the birds and car noises, etc. I like it that way!!
    2099 days ago
    the first time I ran without my MP3, it was an accident. But I actually like to run w/o music sometimes. If I'm on the treadmill, I GOTTA have music!

    When I run in town it's nice to hear the clock on the square chime. On Sundays I can hear the church tower playing hymns. And the birds.

    When I run near my church, I can hear a peacock and cows and goats!

    At the park, I need my music if it's crowded. On a quiet morning, I'll just listen to the sounds of nature.

    I run with a running partner once or twice a week. I met her in Boot Camp class a few years ago, and she has really helped me up my pace. In 1999, my best 5k time was 35:17. Now it's 30:51. Over 10 years older, and still getting a bit faster on my races. All thanks to an excellent running partner!
    emoticon emoticon emoticon
    2099 days ago
  • BECKY3126
    This is such an awesome blog. I have done both the "naked" and with music, and I like both about the same.
    I really LOVE that you passed along your note and made a new friend to possibly start running with. You definitely have to keep us posted on how that goes!
    2099 days ago
    Thanks for posting about your naked run! It was great that you could connect with a new running person this way.
    2099 days ago
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