Day 24 – Running Not Naked

In running circles, there is the idea that every so often you should do a “naked run.” You might think this means a run with no clothes – and in some instances, that might be the case – but that’s not what I’m talking about.

A naked run a run without any tech. No watch, music, phone. The idea is that these things have a tendency to distract us from the true purpose of our runs, and distract us from our environment. This is probably true. It is also not something I care about.

I am of the camp that if I didn’t record data on a run, the run does not exist. I sync my runs to no less than four separate running sites. Garmin to get the data off my watch, Strava for the social aspect, Training Peaks so my coach sees and Smashrun for the geeky data analytics (it’s the best). There are averages and streaks and mileage totals that can’t be messed with because I’m supposed to be one with nature.

You see, I’m great at multitasking. In fact, while I’m writing this, I’m also trolling my mom about bringing croutons to Passover next Monday (hi Mom!). But I digress. I can appreciate my environment and be one with my thoughts on a run WHILE I listen to music. I can glance quickly at my pace at the same time I contemplate my existence. The only thing I buy into is that I typically don’t run with my phone because it is literally my only break from emails and texts and memes.

I wrote a post earlier in this challenge about some sleep issues and how I hate the quiet. Running is no exception. I have a highly curated system of music that I deem “running music.” And I’m old school. I am probably the only person in the universe who still runs with an iPod Nano and buys music to put on it using iTunes. (I use Spotify literally for everything else.) Here’s what I do to curate my running music.

  • Ratings. Any song I deem worthy and catchy enough for a run gets a 3 star rating or above. Songs that I deem favorite running songs gets a 4 or a 5.
  • Smart Playlists. iTunes is a clunky piece of software, but it has some good features like smart playlists. I have created one that includes all my rated songs, and won’t play any song that has played in the last month to avoid too many repeats. If I skip the song, it automatically hides it from the playlist for the next month. If I skip it twice in a row, it gets a two star rating and placed in a reserve list until I’m no longer sick of the song and bump up the rating again. There are about 800 songs total in this playlist and when I’m on the roads for 6+ hours a week, it can get down to 150 or so available songs to choose from.
  • Super Special Music. All songs with a 4+ star rating gets put into a second super special playlist. Since these are my favorite running songs with low probability of skip-age, this is the playlist I typically use when racing so I stay pumped throughout.
  • Regular updates. Once a month or so, I rescan my ratings to ensure that they are all still worthy of 3+ stars and to see if there are any new “hits” that I want to add to the collection (like Ed Sheeran’s seminal “Shape of You” – sorry, not sorry).

Clearly, someone who is this Type A about running data and music curation is not meant for a naked run. If I did try it, I’d probably sing “Baby One More Time” really loud while mentally Mapping My Run to keep myself entertained and people on the trail would be scared. I’ll find my zen and quiet another way.

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