Why I Tape my Garmin Watch during Races
You’ve probably heard me mention that I “tape my watch” during races, and judge my pace based off the feel of my legs. It’s something I’ve been doing for just over a year, and it’s worked wonders for not only my running, but also my mind.
Before each race, I literally put two strips of black electrical tape over the face of my Garmin watch so no part of the watch face is visible.
I started doing this in October 2016 because I found that I was staring at my watch too much during races. Constantly looking at my watch was distracting me from my race, and too much of my focus and attention were on numbers.
After crossing the finish line of the Providence Marathon in May 2016, Kyle told me that every time he saw me on the course I was looking down at my watch. And he was right. When I think about the Providence Marathon, a picture of my Garmin literally comes to mind. How horrible is that?
So in October 2016, I taped my watch and ran the Tufts 10k for Women in downtown Boston. I remember focusing 100% of my attention on my legs, and how I felt. I remember starting out conservatively, and clocking my sixth and last mile at a 7:39 pace, something back in 2016 I didn’t know I was capable of running.
I know I would not have run this well if I had been distracted by my watch.
I was so proud of myself, and knew this new trick was working well for me. Since I began taping my watch, I have been working so hard to learn how to judge my pace based off the feel of my legs. Since October 2016, I’ve been able to find a given pace all on my own, and stay with it, all without relying on my watch. It’s been freeing and I feel like it’s helped me grow tremendously as a runner.
Just a few weeks ago, I ran the Baystate Marathon and ran a consistent, steady paced race. My Garmin had tape on it, and the entire marathon was based off of the feel in my legs. It led me to a 3:44:28 marathon PR (8:30 average pace), with less than ten minutes to shave off until I run a qualifying time for the Boston Marathon.
Every single mile was run by feel of my legs.
The only thing I use my Garmin for during a race is the vibration every mile. I count four vibrations (four miles) and then I know when to take a Gu gel (I take one every four miles). Other than that, I don’t rely on my watch for anything during a race. I press the “start” button as I cross the starting line and forget about it until I press the “stop” button after crossing the finish line.
After a race, I transfer the run to my Garmin app and look through all my stats. It’s interesting to compare my actual pace to what I felt I was running. It’s also helped me a lot with increasing cadence and lowering my heart rate.
This trick has worked so well for me and my mental strength. I will continue doing this during races, and I’m so excited to see where it will take me!
Hi Elizabeth! We have the same name and started running last year. My first full marathon was April this year in Paris. I️ will start training again in a January for the London Marathon. I️ think taping your Garmin is a great idea. Do you suggest I️ do that while training too? Especially on long runs?
Thanks for your comment, and congrats on the Paris Marathon! I bet that was beautiful!
So I don’t tape my watch during long runs, only during races. I don’t tape it during long runs because my coach assigns specific paces for those, and they’re always slower than goal marathon pace, so I keep it uncovered to actually make sure I’m going slow enough and not any faster. The only kind of training run I would consider taping it for, but haven’t yet, are tempo runs, just because those are faster and harder miles, and I can see that constantly staring at your pace to make sure it’s fast enough would be challenging. But, like I said, I haven’t tried it yet for tempos, just races.
I hope this helps! Please let me know if you have any other questions.