How To Calibrate Your Feel

Dr. Jeff Moreno breaks down how to train by "feel" and move intuitively to enhance the way we train with smart watches.

I have two amazing kids that have recently developed their own unique relationships with sports. From the sidelines of their practices and sporting events, I’ve witnessed their uncanny ability to experience sport in the purest form. They don’t look to data from a smartwatch to tell them how they feel or how they are performing, they simply immerse themselves into an activity and intuitively move. When they are tired they slow down and when they feel energized they sprint full speed ahead.

Adults, on the other hand, have slightly complicated things. Our GPS watches dictate how we feel, tell us when we should move, and act as mini-coaches on our wrists. There’s no denying the power and usefulness of these tools, but they also conflict with our body’s internal monitoring systems. So today we’re highlighting how to recalibrate your feel and become more in sync with your body’s ability to listen, feel, and adjust.

Don’t get me wrong, at PWR Lab we love GPS watches and the data derived from these tools. However, in the midst of trying to quantify every activity, we’ve let our body’s internal ability to listen and respond take a backseat to the tech on our wrists. Internal awareness and attention are direct competitors with technology. Consider this, if the human body was a GPS watch it would be a top of the line model with premium features including state-of-the-art internal sensors and intuitive response systems. So how do you know when to listen to your body’s internal system and when to use your GPS watch? Watches and the corresponding data should add value to your running experience, but never be the final decision maker - save that job for your body. 

Recalibrating your feel starts with a concept I talk about frequently with my kids and athletes, it’s called “seeing space.” This idea focuses on observing what’s happening in and around the body, then reacting to those feelings appropriately. It is a high-level skill that we as humans are always developing, especially in a world filled with devices that suck our attention away from seeing and feeling. For runners, this concept is about being aware of how we feel during workouts, easy runs, and everything in between. Rather than constantly looking to your watch for feedback during a run, focus on the data post-run and learn to connect the insights with how you felt.

Ready to practice the art of seeing space? Try the PWR Lab 2020 GPS Watch Challenge, a five step plan that will help you recalibrate your feel and become a more intuitive runner.
  1. Create a Plan: Just like you purposely plan your workouts for a specific goal, set a clear intention for the run. Decide if it’s an easy, moderate, or hard day. 
  2. Press Start: Don’t worry, we’re not asking you to leave the watch at home. Commit to executing the plan you set in step one, press start on your watch, and avoid looking at it during the run. 
  3. Own the Moment: Take full advantage of the opportunity to “see space.” Listen to how your body feels and respond appropriately. Remember, your internal GPS watch is a premium product, so feel confident following it. 
  4. Stop & Save: It’s that easy! 
  5. Sync & Calibrate: Upload your run to your PWR Lab Dashboard. Compare what you planned with what you executed. Now connect how you felt. Ask yourself how hard the workout was and did your perceived effort match the data (ex: pace). Connecting your data to how you felt can help you execute your training more skillfully and ultimately train smarter, run healthier, and improve performance. 

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Dr. Jeff Moreno
About Dr. Jeff Moreno

Jeff, co-founder of PWR Lab, is a Doctor of Physical Therapy and Board-Certified Orthopedic Clinical Specialist. Passionate about running and playing, Jeff fundamentally loves people and movement of any kind. He strives to raise the bar in sport by finding ways to proactively prevent injuries and prioritize the long term development of athletes. He has been successful in employing a data-driven, hands-on approach to physiotherapy with National, World & Olympic Championship medalists in Track & Field from USA, China, Canada, and Mexico as well as many NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, Judo, and Triathlon athletes