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What To Do About The Stopwatch

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DAEGU, SOUTH KOREA - SEPTEMBER 04: Start for the men's Marathon Final during day nine of 13th IAAF World Athletics Championships at Daegu Stadium on September 4, 2011 in Daegu, South Korea. (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)

Accounting is a thing that's important sometimes, and also something that actually effects us as runners. In this week's roundup, mentioned that he's been stopping the ol' GPS watch during water breaks and the like on long runs. I do that on occasion, but save it more for bathroom breaks and bench-sitting. I used to stop my watch at every stop light and road crossing after I first moved into the city.

After a year or so I decided to keep my watch running during red light stops and the like. I noticed a 'decrease' in my average pace (I also forgot to re-start my watch from time to time). My rationale for doing such was this: at the time I was training to run a PR marathon. While the race obviously doesn't have cross-stops and the such along the way, they also don't stop the clock for runners who take a walking (or bathroom) break.

d.w.r's comment got me thinking: what's the typical accounting method for runners? Certainly there are shades of gray in when to stop the watch (if at all) and when not to; it's possible to leave the watch going some times and stop it others, after all. I stop mine in some instances, but not all.

How do you all take your running accounting? Do you care at all? Have you (somehow) spent more time thinking about it than I have?