Trail run, Pokémon Go assisted

A great morning for a trail run around Lake Accotink!

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.

PokeRunningResults:  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”!