Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Running Reading: Too Much Data?

I know that I'm a bit late to the game on this one, but late is better than never, as they say.  As part of The Ringer's "Inefficiency Week" special feature (from just earlier this month!), Molly McHugh penned a great article that examines contemporary applified exercise routines.  "Can an app make you a better runner?", she asks.  It's a great read, so spend a couple of coffee breaks, or a commute or two, checking it out.

For my part, I think I've done a decent job of avoiding app intrusion on my workouts.  Those who know me well know that I am very much a Luddite--still to this day not possessing a smartphone. Therefore, I don't have the means to participate in various social media workout stuff.

Beyond that, I have deliberately avoided the incessant tracking of calories burned and pounds gained (and lost) and miles logged.  I have always been a bad keeper of statistics.  I have a general sense of what my PR's are, but I never seem to know how many miles I've run in a fixed period of time, and I usually very quickly forget what my race performances have been.  When I was in high school and college--back last century!--I had an uncanny knack for running pace-perfect 400 meter repeats without a watch. Things were so much simpler in 1996.

These days, I do use a GPS watch, and I do upload my data to my online GPS account.  That's about all I do, though, and even with that meager app application, I have noticed that I'm more conscious than I should be about my daily pacing and making sure that I'm always following my scheduled workouts to the absolute letter of the law.  All of that is good for discipline, but I'd argue that a hyperconsciousness about our workout details can override a more intuitive awareness of how we are feeling on any given day.  Sometimes our bodies are telling us to back off; sometimes they are telling us that we can push it a little harder.  We need to be able to listen to those instructions without app-assisted clutter, I think.

Again, though, read McHugh for yourselves, and weigh in down in the comments.

P.S.  I spent a not insignificant amount of time wavering on "much" vs "many" in this post's title. Here's a good blog post on whether or not data is a plural count noun.  It's not a simple matter at all.

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