In this age of the ubiquitous cell phone, people are constantly connected. How many people? You can figure over 90 percent, and if you consider the population under 40 the number is closer to 97 percent. The average person checks their phone 150 times a day. What are we looking for? It raises the question of whether we own the phone or the phone owns us. Runners are no different, as almost every runner I see has a phone somewhere, oftentimes with earbuds popped in. I have seen people checking their phones, texting, and even talking while on the run. Obviously this is a matter of personal preference and the phone can also be a safety precaution, but I believe the run is the perfect time of the day to just unplug.
I started running 18 years ago, long before the advent of cell phones. Most new runners have already been in the habit of constantly carrying their phone, and to continue that into running only feels natural. The ease of using running apps to get various kinds of potentially useful data can also make a case for that. But how much of that is really necessary, especially for a casual runner? Is this information used, or just saved to publish on social media sites along with the obligatory selfie, to brag about the workout?
The use of earbuds to listen to music while on the run is a nice perk, something I have done a few times. I tend to do it on a long easy run by myself for the most part. One must consider the safety of this act, as it can make you less aware of your surroundings. Also, focusing on the music may make the athlete less receptive to messages from their own body. Running can be a great time to really find out how you feel and if inclined, where your limits lie.
Life in general is full of people and tasks, stresses, and events. A run can sometimes be the only way to escape all that and really be free. Free to think, to breathe, to relax. If the timing is right, one can even manage to run without worrying about returning at a certain time. That is a true feeling of getting away and hitting a mental reset button before getting back into the daily grind. Carrying the phone can minimize that sense of freedom, as it is a virtual tether to the demands of daily living. Sometimes, it is a hard break to make, but the benefits of stepping away from it all for a short period of time are many.