Electronic Friction

If you are like me, you like to track your mileage, heart rate, pace, and other things when you bike or run. I have done it for so long now, that I pretty much know the pace that it takes to keep my heart rate around a certain level. At the end of the year, I will enjoy tallying up my totals.

I asked myself the purpose of this exercise, and reflected on the answer. Why do I need to track all of my workouts? Is this data really helping me? A few articles out there suggest that this kind of tracking does not lead to better gains. It probably has something to do with the ‘friction’ that these electronics and tracking devices might cause.

The Friction

It is 5:30am and it is time for a run. If it is going to happen, it has to happen now. What do I need to do to make this happen? I need to put on my running shoes and clothes. Then, I need to attach my heart rate strap. Let’s get Bluetooth going on my phone and connect to the heart rate monitor. Open up the app and get it set up for a run. I’m going to have to carry this on my run somehow. Do I just carry it or get an armband? I’ll carry it this time.

Notice how we could have stopped at “I need to put on my running shoes and clothes”? If I didn’t allow the friction that followed, I could be running right now.

Last week, I remember asking myself what a morning run would look like if I made it easy. It involved leaving out the friction of electronics. There was freedom in the run that morning.

There is another type of friction that tracking devices can cause. If you’re too competitive with yourself, then you’ll want to see good numbers every time. Suppose you’re not feeling like putting in that kind of effort today. If you read my last post, it is better to show up anyway. It would be easier to show up if you didn’t have to see what those numbers were.

This post is somewhat hypocritical, as I track most of my runs and bike rides. However, lately I have experimented with not bothering. I am trying to reduce the friction between me and my workouts. Hopefully, it will help me workout more.

Maybe it isn’t electronics for you. Perhaps you have other ‘frictions’ in your way of exercising more. Think of ways you can eliminate those frictions and become a better you!

Feature photo by Filip Mroz on Unsplash

2 thoughts on “Electronic Friction

  1. Thanks for the useful reminder. As a fellow tracker-of-everything, I sometimes have to remind myself that just because I didn’t track something (like a workout) doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.


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