In Brighton, on the beach, in the buff, the birthday suit, brass monkeys. Well almost. In running terms, what is better known as, not wearing a watch.
In the week prior to the Brighton Half Marathon, I had a chat with friend Simon about the benefits of training and racing without a watch. Not being shackled by the constraints of time, finding out how fast I might really go? For how long I could comfortably maintain a level of discomfort without teetering over into the red? And so I thought I’d give going naked a go in Brighton, a liberal City that would surely welcome such shenanigans.
And indeed there was something very liberating about 13 miles of nakedness. Of not being instructed as to how fast you are or aren’t running. Of panic as to how far you have, or have yet to, run. Instead I judged the race by effort, by how much I was exerting myself rather than 13 miles of fastidious clock watching. Low and behold, this new race plan was quite enjoyable! And I definitely took in more energy from the crowd than I have in other races as well as the sights. Of course some of the pitfalls of running for an extended period at threshold remain, i.e. the dreaded toilet break; had I not have encountered the need for relief I’m sure that a higher placing would have been obtained!
Going into the World Half Marathon Championships in Cardiff this weekend – a goal race for the year – I think I might revert to watch wearing. I don’t think I’ll follow it religiously, but I do think it will help given that a PB is very much the desired outcome of the race rather than for fitness, fun or frolic.
And I think this might be the case moving forward for me. If I’m racing I might wear a watch. If not, I’m definitely up for going naked more often. Who’s with me?
In Like the Wind Issue #8 (a fabulous read, you really should check it out!) Heidi Davies explores a similar idea. Of course her article, ‘The Power of Time’, is more considerately addressed and with a fair amount more craft and penmanship!
Like The Wind Issue #8 is available online from their shop or from all good retailers!
You can enter the 2017 Vitality Brighton Half Marathon on their website.