We make big investments in running technology. Heart rate monitors, altimeters, and accelerometers, usually housed in a watch, help gauge performance and give us an idea of where to focus our efforts as we improve. These tools are useful when you're getting to know your base fitness or trying to reach your next performance level; however, race day is the day to put it away. I get it. You've trained hard and your watch has been there for literally every step. Why would you leave it behind when you want to be sure to make your goal time?
You Can't Control the Body You're Going to Wake-Up in on Race Day.
Not that long ago I planned a 20 mile training run, 7 miles in I found myself eating a bag of potato chips in a Walgreens, waiting for a Lyft. My legs were dead, my heart rate was soaring, and my head felt groggy. For whatever reason my body wasn't recovered enough to run 20 miles that day. If you follow your taper plan you shouldn't have a meltdown less than halfway through your race, but you might. You might also wake-up with a cold, have a bad night's sleep, or a multitude of other things that have you feeling crappy on race day. If this happens, the last thing you need is a watch reminding you of the fact every mile.
The Weather Doesn't Care About Your Goal Time.
Just ask those who ran the 2018 Boston Marathon. It will rain, it will blow, it will beat blistering heat down on you and these things will impact your pace time despite your best efforts. If you're racing in less than optimal weather take a deep breath, remember that everyone will be effected, and do what nature will allow. There is no sense in fighting back, nature always wins.
Your Watch Might Be Slowing You Down.
By race day you've logged hundreds of miles with your watch, hopefully using it to help you learn what different paces and heart rates feel like inside your own body. You know what "good" feels like. If you're heart rate and muscles are telling you you're moving at the right pace you should listen, even if that pace is faster than you expected. Don't let a little device, especially one that isn't always accurate, slow you down.
Race day is a celebration, not a test. Just showing-up feeling ready means you completed months of training through tired days, bad weather, and sneaky little aches. You're strength, cardio, nutrition, and mental health improved. Enjoy the last day of your season!
I've run most my races without a watch, phone, or music. Without a doubt, my technology free races have been my most enjoyable. I get to take in the scenery, chat with other racers, fully articulate why that hill was the worst, AND still PR sometimes.