One of the greatest things about training is that it is YOUR time. Training and racing use to be one of the few times in life when you could get lost in time and space and connect with friends (if training in a group) or yourself (if training solo) without the interruption of all life’s other responsibilities. As technology invades our life and gives us more and more opportunities to be “connected” the less and less this distraction free training can actually happen.
Smart phones, smart watches, smart trainers etc. etc. are all designed to give us feedback that we now consider essential for our training, but what these smart devices also do is keep us tied to the world of distraction and everyday BS that a good run or bike is supposed to help us get away from. I now have a heart rate monitor/GPS watch that notifies me of incoming calls and texts.
Cool feature? Sure. Necessary? Absolutely not.
One of the things I still love about racing and one of the reasons I got back into it is the ability to completely unplug and get lost in the effort. Racing allows me to focus on nothing more than where I am at in the moment.
I remember hearing Mark Allen describe his Ironman racing as “meditation in motion” and this is extremely accurate. I have tried meditating on a day to day basis and I suck at it. But, in the midst of a hard training session or race, without the trappings of a smart device beeping at me or notifying me of some extremely unimportant piece of information, I can find myself back in a place of complete focus.
Focus on breath, focus on form, focus on my surroundings.
Digital distractions surround us all of the time. Try and make sure that your training and racing are not one of these times.