Sensory Overload

Posted: February 16, 2011 in Uncategorized

The new era of globalization has significantly impacted my life.  I concluded my day with a conference call with an entirely new sales force that I recruited to sell our military program.  Of all the people on the call I had only met one of them.  I literally communicated with them via various forms of technology.  It’s odd to feel connected to someone without actually having met them.

At the conclusion of the call I mentioned to Lori how intense my day was and soon realized it was a fairly typical day.  I woke up and immediately checked the messages on my Blackberry.  I’m always surprised by how late others stay up working.  I then sign onto my computer and check my personal e-mail messages.  Next up is my daily post on my running blog.  This takes at least an hour since I don’t have an archive of thoughts and ideas, I want my posts to be relevant to each stage of training.  I then work out and I’m typically listening to my iPod.   I also try to catch the latest headlines on CNN, Sports Center and the Golf Channel before leaving for work and listening to NPR on XM Radio for an hour each morning and night.

Once I arrive at work it’s a barrage of meetings, conference calls and interruptions throughout the day.  Maintaining a Facebook and Twitter account also is easily an additional hour throughout the day.  I enjoy Twitter because it allows me to have instant access to the people and topics I’m most interested in (i.e., running, triathlons, nutrition, music, photography, motorcycles, golf, cycling,etc.).  I am not so convinced that Facebook has any inherent value in my life…that’s another topic altogether and I certainly don’t want to address it here.

Having instantaneous access to information has detracted from far more important things.  I’ve made a concerted effort to spend more time reconnecting with friends I’ve not corresponded with in years, writing letters to people that least expect them and sharing my thoughts and feelings more with the people I love and care about.  This reallocation of time provides far more meaningful benefits than knowing what is currently happening in Egypt.  While that’s important, it’s simply not nearly as important as my family and friends knowing how I feel about them.  There’s a finite amount of time in a day, I want to be sure that I’m spending it wisely.  I’m tryinging to adopt a more minimalist approach to my consumption of information, just as I’ve done with my running.  Efficiency of movement resonates with me.

Just as I am aware of not wasting energy at the start of a marathon because I know I’m going to need it in the closing miles, I’m equally aware that I cannot waste time consumed by technology at the expense of far more important things.

So leave your music and GPS at home during one of your next runs.  Just run how you feel, smile and wave to everyone you pass and enjoy nature and all that it offers.  Be thankful that you have the ability to run and don’t be distracted or consumed by your average pace, heart rate or the distance you’ve run. 

I am confident that you will feel more spiritually and emotionally fulfilled than if you were focused on running a certain pace or distance!

  1. Terri says:

    Beautifully said. Everything you wrote makes perfect sense. When I ran NYC – I ran without a watch and just ran for the experience of it all. Not only was it truly an awesome experience but it felt effortless the first 15 miles.I ran a PR to boot! I too have the same philosophy as you, I really try to restrict the amount of technology that I use or am exposed to as I find that we as people can only absorb so much information at a time- and I do not believe in multitasking- that is a farce. Being present, and focused in the moment with what you are doing and giving your undivided attention to the people you are with as well, is the best use of our time.
    Thank you!

  2. Terri,

    Thank you for your message. Living and running in the moment appears to be a challenge that’s only going to become more difficult. My ultimate goal is to strike a balance without compromising the quality of my interaction with humans!

    That is only one of the many reasons why I enjoy our weekly training.


  3. Lindsey says:


    Thank you for the reminder to “unplug” during our runs. It was definitely perfect timing for me as I had one of my most enjoyable runs with our TEAM last Saturday by not having my GPS and IPOD for the majority of the time. It made me remember why I love running so much, and I didn’t want to stop when it was over!

    Thank you for all of your insight and advice!

    – Lindsey

  4. Hello Lindsey,

    I have had countless runners experience their most enjoying runs and set personal records when they weren’t obsessed with running a certain pace. Runners tend to begin monitoring their average pace immediately after the start and soon become erractic in their pacing; which is a recipe for disaster.

    Simply run how you feel and you’ll soon discover you’ve acheived a rhythm that pays huge dividends during a run or at the finish line of a race!

    I really enjoyed our discussion after training last week. I’m very impressed and inspired by your new approach to running!

    Your Coach,


  5. Kate Z says:

    Rick, this post rings true for me also – I’ve found especially during long runs that reserving music for the last few miles makes it all the more effective in providing a quick boost just when I’m starting to tire. Making the decision to mostly ignore my pace and focus instead on enjoying each step has also made an enormous difference in my enjoyment of running, I highly recommend it!

    Thank you, as always, for your encouraging words!

  6. Hello Kate,

    Thank you for following my blog and offering your insight. I admire your commitment to your training. I look forward to sharing the next several months with you as you put the finishing touches on your training.

    Your Coach,


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