Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Hitting Stop


The route I run is along a busy 6 lane road with three lanes in each direction.  It's a residential area, with the usual grocery stores and schools along the way but none the less, it is still a busy road that is basically a major thoroughfare for the area.  I like it because it is flat and long - I can easily rack up 12-14 miles by going out and back in each direction with no problem.  This is also the same street where I have had a few mishaps - and although they have left me a bit nervous, I think it just comes with the territory of road running.

The other "bad" thing about this road is that there is a stop light about every 1/2 mile - sometimes every 3/4 or 1 mile, but usually every 1/2.  They are all busy intersections and do deserve a stop light.  But they can really mess with your running when you're constantly having to stop and wait.  Many times I can time my run with making the majority of the lights (i.e. sprinting when I see it is going to change) - maybe only having to stop for one or possibly two.  But really it depends on what time of day I'm out there.  If it's in the 5 o'clock hour during the week, you can be sure that I will hit every.single.one.  This can be so deflating to my run when I'm in a good groove and found my stride.  Other times, especially when it's warm out, it can be a godsend.  And this is where my post is going.  I hit stop on my Garmin at the lights (I know, so sue me!).  Sometimes I can be stuck there for two minutes!  Other times as little as 30 seconds.  I feel like if I kept my watch running then it wouldn't give me a good clue of where my running was or my fitness - I would have crazy peaks and valleys with my pace and I really want it to be more accurate.  Do you hit stop when you stop?  I don't usually hit stop when I stop for a second to take a drink mid-run or fix a shoe, but I always hit stop at those damn stop lights.  Do you think I'm cheating?  Do you think I'm shorting myself?  What do you do?


The way I see it, I don't have a choice to stop.  It's not because I want to stop, it's because I have to stop.  I can't say for certain if it effects my training negatively, as in it's not helping my endurance.  So far in all my races I haven't been able to make a direct correlation to it.  But, it does cross my mind every single time I have to.  There are other routes I could take - this is the easiest for me, though.  I literally just step out my door and can start running.  I am sure this is a running debate for all.  I am sure that some are very passionate about it while others err on my side with the thinking that I just can't keep running.  My buddy Jamoosh just made a comment about this recently.  His scenario was a bit different.  He noticed people in his group runs stopping at water stops and socializing.  Here, they often turn their watches off.  I'm with him - if you're stopping to socialize, what are you doing out there?  You aren't doing yourself any favors, keep running and don't stop your watch!  But what about more legit reasons - you stop to help an old lady cross the street - do you hit stop?  Or how about when you have to stop and give some idiot in a car directions because they thought they could just stop you - do you hit stop? 

I'm not a professional runner - I never will be nor pretend to be one.  My running and my training are for me.  I get out of my runs what I put into them - much like the rest of you.  Is it a crime to hit stop when you're not actually running?  Is the stop light cheating?  Is there legit times when it is okay to hit stop?  Talk amongst yourselves - I would love to hear where you all weigh in!  I'm sure this is a touchy topic for some - and it always crosses my mind when I hit stop at the lights.

Running is going well this week - it's only Tuesday :p  On Monday I decided to stay inside and hit up the dreadmill.  There is a crazy guy on the loose in our area who is jumping out of cars and attempting to attack women runners.  No bueno for me!  I pulled off 9 miles at MP and felt awesome the whole time.  I kept checking in with myself and couldn't believe how good I was feeling.  I hope I didn't just jinx myself by typing that.  Today I got up early and hit the gym.  I just found out they have a spinning bike with a training program attached to it!  I plug in my headphones and the screen pops up with music and a personal spinning session!  I love it!  I rode 29 miles and then jumped off and did some weights and abs.  Tomorrow I will try to tackle around 10, but this week I'm attempting to take it easy - I don't want to burn out for Sunday!
Have a great Tuesday and Happy Running peeps!

34 comments:

teacherwoman said...

I hate having to stop for stop lights. I don't think you are cheating if you stop your watch. But, if it bothers you, than that's another case. :) I don't judge, that's for sure!

Jamoosh said...

I say do whatever you feel comfortable with, it's going to be off one way or the other.

Katie said...

I will hit stop if I can see I just missed the light, because I don't want 2 minutes of nothing. Although my ghettofunk garmin keeps tracking of "moving" and "not moving" time so i suppose I don't have to hit stop, just stand still.

BE CAREFUL!!!!!

Andrew Opala said...

wow - some people have it so different - I usually plan my route to stay away from lights.

Happy Running!

Becka said...

I rarely hit stop on my Garmin. So even though there are lights and I might not be moving, the Garmin is still running... I figure if it was a race, they wouldn't care if I had to stop and pee or get a drink or whatever. :D

RunKathyRun said...

I always hit stop on my Garmin; I got in the habit of doing this when I was supposed to run a specific amount of time, now it's a habit. And I agree, I hate the stoplights!

Morgan said...

I hit stop if I know my stop will be more than a few seconds. I don't think its cheating and I only really ever do that on pace workouts when speed is of the utmost importance.

Jess said...

I have a lot of lights on all of my routes too. It comes with the suburban territory. I stop. Like you said, you HAVE to. And I've never noticed it negatively impact my training.

TMB @ RACING WITH BABES said...

I was channeling you when I did my 10 miler on the treadmill last night. You are going to great this weekend!

Marlene said...

This is a great post Katie! It's something I often wonder "Hmm, am I the only one who _____"? :P

The truth is: I hit stop! I agree with you that it would wreak havoc on your average pace if you didn't and you'd never have a good idea of how well you're doing.

We often have water stations along our long run routes and I his dtop here also, but I am in and out of there as quick as possible. Quick refill, grab some oranges, "THANK YOU" and gooooo!

(Same goes for washroom stops.)

shellyrm aka jogging stroller mama said...

I hit stop on my watch or garmin if I stop. If I can do a "baby dropped something again" pick up on the fly then I don't. While on the trails this weekend I stopped my garmin for the first two "intersections" when I had to refer to my trail map but then got sick of it and just didn't care about the pace/time.

I think if you are stopping you are not running so stop the timer BUT each runner has to KNOW why they are stopping and realize that if you can only run 3, 6, 10 miles at a certain pace IF they stop then they probably won't pull that pace in a race. I guess it's all about what each runner is after. Me. It's not a race most days so big deal if I stop my watch or not. The only bad thing is FORGETTING to re-start it! Bummer!

Please be careful out there. :-)

Teamarcia said...

glad your running is going well! Stopping at lights throws me out of my groove. That's why there's only one on any of my routes--and the odds of my getting that one are slim because I'm usually so early I can cross against it. :0
I think I'd have more of a problem with all that car exhaust!

ShutUpandRun said...

I like having my Garmin on auto pause. That way I don't forget to restart it. But that's just me.

Michelle Simmons said...

I hit stop. Though not ideal, I do think its more accurate that way. I have a couple runs I do with no stop lights so I do those most often, but when I am not running b/c of a stop light it doesn't make sense to me to let my watch keep going.

Heather said...

First, dont get snatched by any crazies! :)

I'd like to give you advice about the stopping problem, but I just have no personal experience since the only time I have to stop is off a cow or bear cross the road in front of me. And then I just keep the watch going, because I'd probably forget to start it back off if I hit stop.

J said...

It is prolly cheating but if I stop during a run to eat or drink or for a stop light I usually stop my watch. I know its not "race like" conditions but sometimes I just need a break.

Tricia said...

I stop mine if I have to take a potty break. :)but dont stop it for lights. (that seems a bit backwards though...)

RunWithKate said...

Definitely not cheating. I would have never even considered that. If people stop to chat and drink water, so be it. I certainly don't care whether or not people do this. To each his own. Right?

Bethany + Ryan said...

i always keep my watch going but only because i'm afraid i'll never stop it again! if i get to a light sometimes i will run back and forth waiting for hte light to change. but not in like a 10 foot line, that's silly, or i'll turnt he corner and run a little bit and then run back. my main reason for NOT stopping is bc i'm afraid i'll forget! i'd rather have accurate distance than pace.

ajh said...

Be safe! That guy sounds scary.

sisterbison said...

I think it's fine to stop. My Garmin has an autostop feature that stops when it senses I'm not moving. There is a 5 second delay from when I stop moving to when it stops counting but that's no big deal to me. Then it auto-restarts. A good thing about this is that stopped time is then reported as "paused time" on my run stats so if I want to calculate pace including the stops, I can (though rarely do!)

Marathon Maritza said...

I always stop my watch at lights. I'm not running. So I stop it and I think it's fine.

Run safe out there, girl!!

Ewa said...

I avoid busy streets because I cannot stand breathing car exhausts. But I think if I were to run in a city I would be hitting pause on my Garmin.
I would probably also do my runs very early in the morning (my favorite time for workouts)and then I would just ignore the lights altogether.

Layla said...

I hit stop for stoplights. Like you said, it's not my choice for the light to turn red.
If I'm trying to give myself an idea of a reasonable goal for an upcoming race, I always factor in the stopped time and figure I'll be a bit slower during the race. Then, of course, I get all that extra racing adrenaline and go beat my predicted time -- so I think there's no harm in pressing stop for lights!

Nicole said...

I have the same problem when I run to and from the trail (about a mile on a busy road). My OCD makes me hit stop, and I have no control over it. I realize you get some extra rest, but at the same time, I don't think it's really "cheating" or anything. You lose momentum and I think your time would actually be faster if you ran through the stop light without having to stop and turn the watch off (or maybe I'm just rationalizing my "stop?").

Denise said...

if i'm going to be stopped for more than a few seconds, i always stop my watch.

one time, while running with a friend, a dog came at us pretty quickly. the first thing we both did was turn off our watch! who cares if the dog is going to attack me, i don't want my average paced messed up!

Angela and David said...

I never hit stop on my garmin but that's more because I don't really ever have to stop on my runs and because I really don't know how to use my Garmin other than to glance down at it at any given point in time and see what my pace is right then. I'm terrible with gadgets.

Amanda - RunToTheFinish said...

i always hit stop too...seriously I don' think I could run on a path that forced me to stop that often, bugs me!

Kristen said...

I am with you - I hit stop when I am forced to stop but not when I chose to stop. I don't think that is cheating all.

Love that training program on the spin bike - awesome!

GOOD LUCK THIS WEEKEND!! I know you will kick butt. Maybe we could meet up next week for your recovery run.

Jill said...

I think you can do whatever you want - it's your run :). Don't you wish the clocked stopped in a marathon when you gotta pee or something? Oh, that'd be so sweet! I was just going to send you an email and wish you luck this weekend...but you don't need it, you will ROCK!! Good luck and have a blast. Will be thinking of you!
xoxo

zbsports said...

This is a very nice post, so informative and interesting. Thanks for sharing such a great post.

Teresa said...

I don't have a Garmin, I have a NikeID but I stop it when I stop. Also, I run on a major road like that as often as I can. It's very close to my house and easy to get to. It's safer than the side streets which tend to get much darker quicker with terrible street lights. Yes, we give up the perk of not having to stop but I for one don't have a great trail or even a great route right out my front door. I am a one car family. It's convenient to just shoot out the door. The six lane road is my best bet...exhaust, stop lights and all. Run on.

N.D. said...

that stinks about the stop lights - but I do like the idea of the long road. That is what I love about running at the shore.

N.D. said...

byw- how long does it take to ride 29 miles?