QT: There is No Such Thing as an Unproductive Run

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Every run has a purpose, right?

Of Course

If you head out the door for a mile or three or ten or whatever, there is a benefit.

Even if your Garmin has the nerve to tell you that your run was unproductive.

Your Garmin is Stupid

I used to be a Garmin guy, but I’m decidedly team Coros these days.

That said, I promise I’m not trying to straight-up dump on Garmin in here.

I mean, if you like paying 2-3x more for a watch with half the battery life, I’m not going to stand in your way.

But any watch that tells you that your run was unproductive is stupid, full stop.

I’m not privy to any inside info, but near as I can tell Garmin determines whether or not your run was productive by how intense your miles happened to be.

If you’re hammering? It’s a productive run.

If you’re running easy? It’s an unproductive run.

Are You Kidding

In an effort to not come across as completely biased, Coros hasn’t always been perfect on this front either.

I seem to remember many runs classified as “non-impactful” back in the day.

Though thanks to a software update at some point along the way, those runs are now labeled as easy or recovery runs.

Which, is exactly what they should be called.

You Can Have an Unproductive Run

Now, before I get too far lost in the weeds and at the risk of contradicting myself to an unprecedented level, it’s fair to label certain runs as unproductive.

If you’re doing some sort of hard workout, but you’re not pushing yourself very hard, I think labeling that workout as an unproductive run could make sense.

Because if the goal was to get the physiological benefits of a hard speed session and all you did was cruise, you more than likely didn’t get the benefits you were after.

Sounds more or less unproductive to me.

Yet I would wager that Garmin would never label a half-assed speed workout as unproductive.

But an easy run? Where the goal is to keep your heart rate low and build your base?

Shut. Up.

The Power of Unproductivity

If I was still a Garmin guy, there’s no doubt the vast majority of my runs would be labeled unproductive.

Somehow, after years of almost nothing but one unproductive run after another, I’m running better than I ever have before.

This past weekend, I jumped into a local 10-miler with no expectations.

I had a loose goal of running the race in 75 minutes, but I honestly wasn’t sure if I’d be able to do that.

I’ve only done a handful of real workouts since we moved to Georgia, and the last time I really got after it was over a year ago.

In January of 2022, I set a new 13.1 PR with an average pace of 7:50.

With very few “productive” runs in the past 16 months, the odds of running 7:30 pace for 10 miles didn’t seem to be in my favor.

Turns out, my “slowest” mile on the day was 7:29, and I crossed the line with a 7:08 average pace.

I’m not here to brag about that pace.

There are plenty of people that are faster than me.

But what I’m trying to point out, once again, is that the key to racing fast isn’t to run fast all the time.

Most of run runs in GA are in the 10+ minute pace range.

Or, what a certain watch company may call “unproductive.”

Sorry, but I’ll take an “unproductive” run anytime if that puts me in the best position to throw down, in a big way, on race day.

No matter what your watch tells you, there is no such thing as an unproductive run. #runchat Click To Tweet

Have You Ever Had Your Watch Tell You that Your Run Was Unproductive??

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