Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Running with a Cell Phone

There was a time in the not-too-distant past—like, a few months ago—that I laughed at the thought of running with a cell phone. I would see people running with their cell phones in arm straps or in their hands. And, I'd think, "Why are these people running with their phones? Are they so addicted to being connected and reachable that they can't put their phones down for a run?"

not my cell phone, but my cell phoneFast forward to a month or so ago when I decided to run during my lunch break. I'd neglected to bring my watch with me. And, being the stickler for recording time that I am, I figured that my cell phone's clock would be an adequate means of keeping track of my start and finish times.

But wait, perhaps my cell phone has a stopwatch feature. Of course it does! I imagine that most any cell phone has a stop watch feature. It's such a basic thing. How could any cell phone manufacturer neglect to include a stopwatch feature in a cell phone?

So, there we go: Carrying a cell phone is a legitimate thing to do while running when you need to track your time!

That revelation got me thinking about the other benefits a cell phone might have for a runner:
  • Photograph your route with the cell phone's camera. I've often wished I could photograph a particular scene during a run. If I'm carrying my cell phone with me, I can do this.
  • Safety. Duh! (Okay, I realized the significance of this benefit long ago. Shame on my for laughing at the thought of having a cell phone in the past) Having a cell phone with you while running alone in the woods can certainly be useful if you happen to fall or get chased up a tree by a bear.
  • GPS mapping. Aside from the obvious apps available to iPhone and Droid users, there are lesser known tools available for download on other cell phones. These are subscription services, though. And, I don't see the point in paying for such a thing, especially if you already have a Garmin, or whatever. But, hey, it's there if you want to have such a feature on your cell phone.
  • Being reachable when necessary. Say, for instance, your wife is pregnant; and the due date was yesterday. You'd probably want to be reachable via phone at all hours of the day. In such cases, you'd want your cell phone with you while running.
  • Emergency services. If you're running on a trail and find someone who's injured and can't move, you'll be glad to have a cell phone handy so that you do not have to run far to get help.

Granted, I still prefer not to carry a cell phone with me when I run. But, when I do it, I definitely have a reason.

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