I notice many runners using garmins, heart rate monitors, training logs and so forth. What is your view on them?
You will get a varied response depending whom you direct this question. Being a “purist”, I am not a strong proponent of such tools as the tendency with time is for most users to lose touch with their inner self and allow such gadgets to direct their running.
The best runners work mindfully to develop their mind-body connection, and by listening to their body – much like a purring car engine – they are able to assess whether they may pick their pace, sustain or should ease up. Whether they should put in more mileage or stop. And so forth. Listen, assess and adjust is the trick here.
A runner should never forget that gadgets were meant to be “indicators” to be used as support tools, and never more. Our capabilities are more driven by our heart than by hardware. The tendency is to start believing too much in numbers – pace, mileage, speed and heart rate – and allow data to impose limitations. But when you run in with “feelings” then the impossible becomes possible.
Take my own case. Initially I was satisfied with a 1.30 half marathon till I realized that there were a few capable of better timings in my age group. If another human being in the same age group was capable of running faster than it was achievable. So the following year I slashed 4 minutes, then another 2 minutes and now plan to slash another 4 minutes in the near future.
I had imposed a false ceiling, a limit set my myself and stayed within my comfort zone. Bottom line is don’t allow statistics to direct you too much and lead with your heart.