My Year of Running by Feel 2017

One of my New Year's resolutions for 2017 was to tune into my inner coach and run by feel. This means I’ve put away all my electronic devices that chart my performance like my heart rate monitor (HRM) and my GPS watch. Instead, I’m relying on perceived exertion to guide me.  Nevertheless, I’m still using an interval timer (a Gymboss one day per week) and a watch (for telling how much time before work starts and for start and finish times of my long run).

For my year of running by feel I'm no longer keeping a written plan detailing my training schedule. Although I follow a general framework and do the same number of runs per week and the same time per runs.

At this point in 2017, am I faster? If I go by race times, I'm about the same time as last year, if not slightly faster. Nevertheless, by relying on my inner coach, I’ve been paying more attention to the different paces of running based on perceived exertion, which is proving to be different and, yet, satisfying. While there are established scales of perceived exertion, like the attached Borg Scale, I use my own scale based on a 10-speed bike model. In the 10-speed bike model of perceived exertion, running starts using the big chain ring of your bike:
6th Gear- Your comfort zone for running. Easy runs and warm-up & cool down are done in this gear. Long runs start in this gear.
7th Gear- Your aerobic gear, can carry on a long conversation with running partners. Some long runs may end in this gear.
8th Gear- Your upper end aerobic zone, can speak in short sentences and breathing becomes noticeable and easy for you to count. Runs targeting lactate threshold are done in this gear. Some long runs may end in this gear.
9th Gear- Hard but controlled, can speak in single words in between taking deep breaths. My weekly “speed” run using my interval timer is done in this gear with my recovery interval in 7th gear.
10th Gear- Just about all out. During my easy runs, a series of short sprints or strides is done in this gear.
Each week, I use all these gears for my runs which has proven to be satisfying!

How's my health? So far so good on this front. Right now I'm in a place where no muscle or joint presents me with grief before, during, or after a run.

Do I want to break out my electronic devices? I've been giving this question some thought recently. I’ve signed up for a fall marathon and while it would be nice to have some confirmation of my fitness by HRM and GPS devices, I'm going to hold firm and train with the 10-speed bike model as a guide. Moreover, on race day, my strategy is to run the marathon by feel with just a watch to get me to the starting corral on time. When I head down the finisher’s chute, I’ll look for my finish time then. Right now, my plan is to run the first 16 km holding myself back, 2nd 16 km keeping it relaxed, and last 10 km pushing the pace.
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I updated my approach to running by feel in 2021, check out:

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