Retro Running – Is it Right For You?

P8010002Since I returned from Minnesota, I have run mostly in just my shorts, shoes, socks, shirt, ball cap and my Timex watch.

The way that I have run almost all of my running career – pretty much what many call today – “running naked” or what I prefer to call retro-running.


For me, I left my old 3G iPhone with my son-in-law to use as he starts to become a runner. He is enjoying the GPS Apps and the data it provides (he is a math geek). All that stuff is more motivational for him, than it was for me, so I gave him the 3G as a gift to help him get started as a runner.

So I don’t have a GPS device anymore and have to rely on mapping software to get my distances or talk about old school – driving the route with my Subaru! In some ways these are actually more consistent than the GPS Apps I was using – at least the distances for the same route will be the same Winking smile.

It is also kind of liberating to not carry a bunch of “stuff” with me when I am just doing a routine run. I can just go out and focus on my running. Instead of whether the GPS is accurate, I don’t like the song that is playing and need to skip it, gee can I get a photo or who is calling or worst of all, why isn’t my electronic device not working? All these things can distract me when I am out running.

Oh on longer runs, I still carry my phone (safety factor) and take along the camera to take pictures (I like taking pictures and sharing them here). However, unless I have my hydration belt on, these things are staying at home more and more, and I don’t really miss them.

Overall, I am finding that I am much more focused when running, than when I am worrying about all the other stuff that you do when you have the electronics with you.

I have read a lot of blogs recently, (like Banana Buzzbomb’s post today) where people are leaving their electronics at home every so often and enjoying their running more.

It seems as if the pendulum is swinging back towards the center a little more, instead of everyone, who is a “serious” runner having to have a GPS device/smart phone to capture all the data that those devices capture on every run or having to listen to music while out running – more runners are choosing to leave the electronics at home.

Have you run naked (no electronics) lately, how did it feel?

Do you think you focus more on your runs when you use less electronics?

I imagine that someday I will either get another smart phone or GPS device and get back on board the electronic bandwagon, but for now I will enjoy my retro-running. Smile

What do you think is retro-running for you?


12 comments on “Retro Running – Is it Right For You?

  1. I am weaning myself off the tech. I carry my phone in an armband for both safety and GPS purposes (like your son-in-law, I find the data collected very motivating, and use Runkeeper as my running log), but I’ve been running without music or podcasts more and more recently. I also put the phone in silent mode and don’t check it at all while running – I just set the Runkeeper app and put it away. I struggled at first, but am enjoying it more and more.

    • Damian – For a while, when I first got my iPhone I wanted to use it for everything and loved all the data that it spewed out, but the more I run without the tech, I wonder if I really need it or is it just more noise in our lives that can be done without. Most of us are so connected all the time, that maybe it is a good time to disconnect during our runs???

  2. Off topic a bit but your post put it in mind… We all talk about the safety aspect of having a cell phone, but really I think everyone mostly got along just fine before carrying them everywhere. I guess I just think back to when I was a kid and I would walk all over Newport (or anywhere) with J.J. and no one ever thought twice about letting us go for hours without hearing from us – and nothing bad requiring the use of a cell phone ever happened to us. Even as a teen (I think only one of my friends had a cell, which was oft never used because of expense) I relied more on being where I said I would be when it came time for my mom to pick me up. Not saying that the responsible thing isn’t to carry a cell phone, its just interesting how things (mind frames really) can change so quickly. In my life I have gone from not needing a cell phone/ not using a cell phone, to “OMG I need to bring my cell phone because what if something happens!”

    I think this “cell phone for safety” mind frame really reflects our society’s distrust of, well, everything! 🙂 Sorry went off on a tangent there…..

    • I agree with your tangent to a certain extent, but if I am out running one of my long runs and a sudden thundershower comes in or I twist an ankle, I would prefer to have Mary come and get me than be out running in it or gimping home.

      No we don’t need the cell phone with us all the time and there are many times I prefer to just leave it home, but at the same time I like having it and not needing it, then to need it and not have it.

      I guess I believe in using technology without becoming dependent upon it.

      • I hear ya, bringing a cell phone has just turned into the responsible (and convenient) thing to do, especially since we have all become so connected to technology that we are now inherently disconnected from general (real life) society. Having a cell phone sure is a lot less awkward than getting caught in a thunderstorm and knocking on someones door to ask if you can use their phone (which nowadays is looked upon with suspicion and rightly so, since cell phones have become so prevalent that it is considered odd for a person to need to borrow a phone). I guess your post just kinda got me thinking about the changes that certain types of technology can bring.

        I imagine the changes in mentality that technology has brought in your lifetime is even greater than the meager changes I have seen :).

        • Party lines on the telephone, you had to listen in for funny background noises when I first started using the phone to make sure no one else was listening to a phone conversation and yes we had nosy neighbors who tried :-). Trying to find a dime for the old style pay phones to call home and have someone come pick me up.

          I miss some of the simplier times in life, but at the same time, technology isn’t bad, it is just how you use it and no it isn’t right to be connected 24/7. I am beginning to view my runs as a big part of my disconnect time and just carry the phone for those times I really need it or if someone really needs to call me. I don’t get too many calls, so I don’t worry about that part and no I am not pointing fingers. I just am ot a big phone talking type person and prefer face-to-face :-).

  3. I’m 100% a retro runner–always have been, always will be. In fact, I feel like to really appreciate running, you need to leave the “stuff” behind and go it alone. No distractions, just you and your footfalls.

  4. Most people think I am INSANE for not using an iPod, especially on long runs, because I don’t want to tune out the world…I want to connect with it. I like to hear the birds chirping, the sound of my feet as they hit the ground, and sometimes…nothing! I use my Garmin watch to keep track of pace/routes, but no other technology for this runner.

    • I tried running with music, when it first became popular and didn’t like how I lost touch with what was going on around me. I haven’t used music/podcasts or books being read aloud on runs in several years, unless I am on a treadmill, then that is a different situation. I do like having a phone with me, but not to just gab with someone when I run more of a just in case thing. Maybe someday, I will get a GPS device again just for that purpose, but for now running retro feels pretty good 🙂

  5. Pingback: Week in Review 8/5/12 | A Veteran Runnah

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