My iPhone is hurting my running

Okay, what am I talking about.

Really it is me, not my iPhone.

I think too much!  My mind is constantly thinking, analyzing and running and just doesn’t stop.  This is something I didn’t realize until I started running, especially my long runs.

As I run, I am constantly thinking.  It didn’t used to be that bad.  But lately I think about EVERYTHING regarding my run.

  • Where am I going?
  • How far will I be running?
  • How am I feeling?
  • Am I running too fast?
  • Am I running too slow?

Yesterday I tried an experiment.  I’ve talked about this before on my blog some, but I wanted to really put this into practice.  I really wanted miles yesterday.  I took off Monday. Tuesday I ran 2 miles.  Yes, 2 miles.  Tons of things got in the way of my run.  I finally got out and started way too fast.  Then as I was at the 1 mile mark, I got a warning that serious storms were coming.  So I stopped and just couldn’t get started again.

So, yesterday it was important to me to not only do my run, but try to make up for some of Tuesday’s miles.  I left my house and began to run.  I thought about how I was feeling, would I be able to run further, was I starting out too fast, etc.

Finally I just stopped thinking and began running.  I started looking at the trees, grass, houses.  I ran at what ever pace I felt good.  I ignored my pace, I ignored how far I went, I ignored everything.

I ran.

It was great.  I ended up running over 9 miles.  The most weekday miles in one run ever.  At mile seven I started getting thirsty, but I kept going.  It was cooler, which really helped.

It was awesome.

Okay, how does my iPhone hurt my running?  I didn’t start my constant thinking until I got my iPhone.  I notice that I am always looking at it.  I pull it out at stop lights.  I look at it during meetings.  I am constantly distracted by it.  My mind never stops.  It doesn’t even stop at night.  I wake up in the middle of the night and my mind is reeling.  Moving at the speed of light.

So I am going to try to ween myself from my phone.  I need it, but I am going to try to no look at it as much.  I am going to try to stop the distractions, the bombardment of all that is happening in virtual world.

Funny, but I would not have put two and two together without my need to be able to run far.  To be able to get into the zone.  To be able to not think.  I never thought I would say that I don’t want to think.

I need a break from my mind.  I am starting with my iPhone.

26 thoughts on “My iPhone is hurting my running

  1. We actually dropped to 73 this morning. Decided to not check my pace but just run at what felt comfortably easy and enjoy the stars. Ended up doing 7 at a 7:45 pace. And enjoyed every last minute of it.

    As for the iphone, I totally agree. There should be a rehab for phone addicts – I belong there. I wake up in the middle of the night and check facebook. WHY?!?!?

    • It was 77 here yesterday. What a difference. Yeah, I guess I’m an official iPhone addict. It is really bad when you feel the need to look at your phone in the middle of a run! I may give it up in my last two weeks before the marathon. It would be a neat experiment. Congrats on the run. Great pace.

    • Thank you! Unfortunately, being in IT, I can never totally get rid of the phone. Honestly, I never thought I’d want to, but it has become a much bigger distraction in my life than it should be. Crazy it took running to help me figure that out.

  2. I JUST read a Runner’s World article about this very subject! I totaly agree about being too distracted. I recently started running without music (or just music on my armband at a low volume with no headphones) for safety reasons, and realized it was better for my running. I was able to really focus on my breathing and my pace. My husband says my phone has lots of “bells and whistles” going off all the time and he’s right. I start back at work next week so I need to get to sleep earlier. My plan is to stop checking my phone around 9pm and read a book.

    • Thanks for the link. I’ll check it out. Funny, when I started running, I refused to listen to music because I didn’t want anything to distract me. Now, as you said, all the “bells and whistles” have me totally turned around. Even without my phone on a run I can’t stop thinking. Good luck getting sleep. 🙂

  3. As you know, I stopped taking my phone with me sometime ago. The pressure to constantly achieve and exceed certain goals made running a chore. Without it, I run more relaxed and let nature determine my stats. While said stats may not be as accurate doing it the old fashioned way, they are improving, and i enjoy my runs much more.

    • Great point. I am also addicted to tracking total mileage. I’m up to 2,000 (almost) miles now and love tracking. I would be better off doing what you are doing. That may be my next step.

  4. I turn my phone on “do not disturb”, that way if it does go off, then I know its really important. Music really helps me get in the zone and once I am there, aside from snapping photos of hearts if/when I see them, I wait until I get home to check my pace etc. 🙂

  5. We’re so caught with this- over reliant on the info that the iPhone provides us with instantly, but knowing that it affects our attention and being present. Classic Catch 22?

    • Very. Perhaps going back to the old days of running by effort. Also living with less distractions in general. I can’t say I’m doing this right now, but I think the day is coming.

  6. For the longest time I ran with an armband listening to music because I was afraid of getting bored or on long runs. Earlier this year in January, just a few months before my half, i was informed that listening to music wouldn’t be allowed due to safety reasons (it was a trail run which formed conga lines if you couldn’t hear people coming up behind you).

    Anyways, I got used to not running with anything I didn’t need. Besides clothes and shoes all i had were sunglasses,Garmin watch, and the hand-fitted camel back for excessively hot or long runs. I found that since I’ve stopped listening to music I’ve had a lot more time to think. While music is very motivational, running is the one time of day that I have “me” time. I can’t hear anything besides my own breathing and thinking.

    It gave me a lot of time to reflect on life and myself. I think having an hour to just think or day dream is very important. I wouldn’t think about everything I needed to get done, or if I did, I thought about it in a very non-stressful way. I tried to dream about the future or traveling the world. A few runs I would even do math the whole time. I would try to calculate paces. It kept me busying and I would end up running faster than I wanted to when I wasn’t thinking too hard.

    I wish you luck in running without your phone and trying to ween yourself off of technology.
    I’ve been trying, and the only place I can do that is in running. Maybe you can find the same peace I did!

    Best of luck,
    – Auston

    • Thanks. I agree. The only “tether” with my iPhone is my wife being able to get me on a run if she needs me (or to know that I can call her if something happens). Of course work also, but that doesn’t happen too much. My biggest issue is just the “running” of my mind and I think it is my iPhone usage before my runs that cause it. I wish I could run in the morning, but I refuse to get up at 2:00 AM. I appreciate the comment and encouragement!

  7. It sounds like you’re approaching this iPhone “addiction” in a healthy way. I don’t personally have a smart phone, but I have a sneaking suspicion that I would use it 24/7 if I did! Congratulations on the nine mile run, btw. 🙂

  8. I always bring my iPhone with me, not only for my music, but really just in case something happens, I want to have a phone with me.
    I read a great article (wish I had bookmarked it!) about smart phones and technology in general that are supposed to make our lives easier but actually stress us out, make us busier and make us impatient and immature.
    I keep my phone on airplane mode to avoid texts and phone calls when I’m out there.
    Awesome run!

    • My issue is more about my phone making me think too much and be inpatient. Not as much of an issue during my run. Plus my Lovely Wife won’t let me run without it!! Ultimately I have to have it with me for work, but NOT during my marathon though! 🙂

  9. It looks a lot like you finally found the zone. At least the way you describe it sounds exactly like what I call the zone. I set my phone (GS3) to blocking mode so I can listen to music without interruption and I refrain from actually looking at it, which took some doing I have to say. Since it tells me how I’m doing every mile it made it easier to not have to look. I do have exceptions to my blocking mode like my home phone and wife’s phone so I can be contacted in an emergency. If your phone allows exceptions it might make you feel better about DNS mode. I feel running with a phone is as important for safety as ID and being able to be easily seen.

    • I agree. My wife wants me to keep my phone while running, so I have begun to put it on Do Not Disturb except for phone calls. That way I don’t have to feel like I have to read texts, etc while running. I am still learning the zone. I appreciate your post from a couple of weeks ago. It has put me on this journey of running and trying not to “think” as much. It has made long runs much more possible and not as difficult. Thanks!

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