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Until about six weeks ago, I never thought I was capable of running a couple of miles without losing steam completely. I’d been doing interval training at my favorite Mile High Run Club two to three times a week, sure, but the longest you’re working hard for is like, seven minutes, and I just didn’t feel like my aerobic capacity was all that great.
So, when my friend pitched the idea of doing the Brooklyn Half Marathon on April 23, 2023, I was nervous, apprehensive, and excited, but knew I had to figure out why I couldn’t last even 30 minutes before getting so breathless I couldn’t continue. After all, I was going to have to run for at least two hours on the day of the race.
In speaking with one of the trainers at Mile High, I quickly realized I had simply been running too fast. “Easy runs are the most straightforward way to build endurance,” they would tell me. It sounds ridiculous, I know, but it just never occurred to me to just run slower. I decided I needed to get a device to help me keep an eye on my heart rate so I could determine when I needed to pull back on the pace and has a devout Google Pixel user, the Pixel Watch was the obvious choice. It was a bonus that it comes with FitBit integration, too, so I could monitor my progress.
My first long-distance run, a little over 4 miles, served as the perfect baseline to see where my fitness was really at, and by keeping my heart rate at a manageable 160ish (170 on hills), I made it through the jog with no issues; no puffing, no feeling like my legs were going to fall off. The user interface on the Pixel Watch is easy to understand and with super easy music controls, I could focus on the task at hand rather than be wasting energy and concentration fiddling around with the watch face.
Another weekend down; a little over 9 miles done and by continuing to keep my heart rate in check with my smartwatch, I found myself breezing through training. It also helped with recovery. By wearing the Pixel Watch at night, I could check to see my sleep quality and it actually got me thinking more consciously about recovery. Via Fitbit, the Daily Readiness Score helped me know whether to prioritize rest or really push myself during a fitness class.
Come race day, I was ready to go, though a few first-time nerves began to kick in. The weather was a little miserable—it was a gray, damp and chilly morning in Greenpoint—but I was ready to go and the watch is water resistant. The first 8 miles went by without a hitch, but a few unexpected inclines late in the piece forced me to reassess my effort and adjust, always by checking in with my heart rate and keeping an eye on the time to ensure I was adequately fueled and hydrated throughout the race.
With the finish line finally in sight, my running buddies and I picked up the pace for that final 100 m and crossed the line with a tremendous sense of achievement. I can safely say I could not have done this without my Pixel Watch and after the rush of endorphins, I’m 100 percent hooked.
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