Back to grid

How to Go Tech-free on Your Run

There are so many ways to add to running using technology. From measuring our time to monitoring heartbeats, listening to music to mapping where we’re going. Technology has crept into every part of the run. But do we need a digital detox?


Here at On, we love sharing apps, smartwatches and our favorite digital tools for optimizing our run. But just like anyone who spends a lot of their time in front of a screen, sometimes a break is needed too. When the technology doesn’t work; the music doesn’t play or the GPS doesn’t track, the run can be ruined, leaving you feeling out of place and like the run was a waste of time and effort. Perhaps we could use a break from connecting Bluetooth, and rather reconnect our minds to why we love the sport.


For some, disconnecting from tech can be just the change needed to feel more in tune with how their body feels. For others, a lack of stimuli can free the mind for clearer, distraction-free thinking and the opportunity to concentrate on technique and form. Just like breaking any habit, going cold turkey on tech can be hard, so to help you get started, we’ve listed the three most commonly used technologies people engage with while running, and the “remedy” for giving it up.





Music can be a great training partner and source of motivation. Some studies even suggest that listening to music can improve your performance by up to 10 percent, which is a bonus when it comes to chasing new records. But run after run, time after time, it’s possible that the effects of music can do more harm than good. If the BPM is inconsistent, or the music stops, it can be hard to maintain a good rhythm. Plus, if you’re not feeling the track that’s playing, you’ll have to divert your attention to find an alternative. We’ve all been there. 


Remedy: Run a major marathon.


42 kilometers, thousands of spectators, and hours on the road. But when it comes to the major marathons, everyone who has ever been lucky enough to cross the finish line says the same thing that surprised them on the day: the crowd. The sound of applause and cheers from strangers calling out words of encouragement, telling you they believe in you– it’s an unmissable experience. The noise of a major marathon is incomparable to the sound of any running playlist so sign up to take part (see our guide to running the marathon here). As your miles increase during training, try to ditch the headphones. Once the race starts and the crowd is cheering you on, you’ll be glad you did.





Never to be found far from us, the phone has fast become one of our favorite running companions. Phones are used for listening to music, tracking the run, taking photos as we go, and even a few mid-run notification checks. Not to mention the safety of having your phonebook to hand. However, smartphones are getting bigger and heavier so running with the added weight can be an unwelcome distraction. For so many, the point of running – and any form of exercise – is to disconnect from a world and many of the challenges being constantly connected can bring.


Remedy: Run with someone else.


So, the best way to give up running with your smartphone? Run with someone else instead. Running with a friend not only allows for like-minded conversation but can be an opportunity for some healthy competition and encouragement. Plus, running together means you’ve got each other covered from a safety perspective. And if your friends aren’t runners, a short online search should help you find a club or meet-up in your area.



Time trackers.


Around a third of runners track their running in some way. Whether it’s a smartwatch, smartphone app, GPS, or other device. Knowing our run times is the best way to gauge where we’re at, our improvement, and to see if we’re reaching the goals we set ourselves. Of course, before we had all of the latest multi-hundred dollar measuring devices, people still managed to record their runs.


Remedy: Go old-school.


Believe it or not, you can still keep track of your time without the aid of technology. Check the clock before and after your run. Writing down your time manually with a pen and paper has a satisfying charm. Or, go a step further and don’t track at all. Without the confines of tracking and mapping, it’s a sure way to enjoy a truly freeing running experience.


Ultimately, disconnecting from our tech, even if only for a short while can help us feel more in tune with our run. By ditching the notifications, the music, and the rest of it, we can bring awareness to the sensations that made us love running in the first place.


Since we’re on the topic of elevating sensations… 

The Cloudflow
The new lightweight, fully-cushioned training and racing shoe with Helion™
See the Shoe

Be first to hear about our latest releases, special offers and training tips by signing up for the On Newsletter.