Many runners have a go-to route that they know like the back of their hand. I certainly have one, and I often do more than half of my weekly runs at the same trail. I know exactly where each mile is, roughly how long it takes to complete the run and how much effort I’ll need to put in. Yet nearly every day, I strap on my watch, wait for it to sync and carefully hit start and stop at the exact times I begin and end my run. The habit of tracking each step is so ingrained in my training that I rarely run a mile without my Garmin Forerunner.
Mileage is the runner’s badge of honor. From people brand new to the sport to seasoned pros, setting mileage records is an exciting sign of improvement. However, putting the training emphasis on mileage can often lead to fatigue, burnout, or worst of all, injury. Slight increases in mileage each year or season can be a great way to build strength and shave down PRs. Unfortunately, every season runners succumb to overuse injuries due to a determination to hit a prescribed mileage. So, while a good watch is a great tool for a runner to have, there is also something magical about going sans-GPS every now and then. And here’s why.