As many of you know, I’ve been on rehab for my Achilles for quite some time, and have stayed on treadmills for the most part, so I can keep my speed constant and resist the whole ‘race’ thing.
I finally ventured out onto the trails this morning, with a different kind of run in mind. I wanted to test out a couple of theories.
But first, the backstory: My daughter has gotten me hooked on Pokémon Go. While I refuse to be one of those teenage zombies walking the neighborhood with their heads down, staring at their smartphone, I could see where this could actually help me in a couple of ways.
Before you start rolling your eyes, I’m completely serious. I’ve got a terrible competitive streak, which goes beyond just races – it includes racing against the clock, even on slow training runs. It’s likely a major cause of the injury/rehab/reinjury cycle I’ve been stuck in for years.
So I tested two theories this morning:
1) Having the Pokémon Go app open (not much of a stretch, since I run with an iPhone anyway for music) would force me to keep the pace a little slower, as I’d slow down a little while passing PokeStops and while actually catching the little critters.
2) Since the app buzzes the phone when critters are near, and since I don’t do the whole ‘tracking’ thing, which requires one to zero in on specific types of Pokémon and actually hunt them down, I shouldn’t have to run with my head down. I’m happy with whatever pops up along the trail.
Rules: To keep this a training run, I refused to stop for more than 5 seconds, if at all. Also – no backtracking – always move forward, and stay on the planned route. The run is #1.
Results: To my surprise, the run actually worked out great. I ran at an easy pace – probably around 9:15 min/mile, as compared to my 8:00/mile healthy pace. I covered 4.8 miles in a little under 45 minutes. I did occasionally slow down while passing stops to pick up items, and did stop to catch a couple of Pokémon. (My daughter tells me my best catches during the run were a Pidgeotto, a Poliwag, and a Nidorino. I’ll take her word for it….)
Most importantly, other than a few 5-10 second periods, I was heads-up and enjoying the morning on the wooded trail.
Net result: Having the app open did help keep that competitive beast in check, helping to force me into a slightly slower pace. I have to admit, though, I felt kinda sheepish when a runner passed me while capturing this little guy….
I wouldn’t recommend PokeRunning (did I just make a new word?) to anyone training at a high level, but for those of us just trying to muddle through rehab, or for more recreational runners, I’d say to give it a “Go”!