Monday, March 30, 2009

GEAR GUIDE: Running Logs

I think I've extolled the benefits of keeping logs elsewhere in this blog, but not in a formal Gear Guide setting. So I'll talk a little bit about overall benefits of keeping a log, and then I'll describe how I've organized my own Runner's World Log.

Things you can track:
Workout Type
Running Course
Temps & Clothing
Time of Day
Workout Time & Splits
Pre-run and During-run Fuel
Sleep / Mood
Weight, HR

Tracking these will help you:
1) Monitor progress - you can see how your times for a particular course drop
2) Look for patterns - what kind of training level makes you more injury prone? Are you in danger of increasing training by too much too quickly?
3) Explain trends - maybe it's because of increasing temps, and not lack of effort, that you're going slower.
4) Discover what works - maybe you're a tee shirt as long as it's above freezing type of person. maybe you shouldn't eat chocolate right before a run. maybe long runs are better in the morning than in the afternoon.

Column 1: Day/Date. This is a 52 week journal.
Column 2: Distance, in miles. If I do body weight strength, I put an "S" instead of a number of miles. If I do cross training, I put an "X". If it's an ultimate frisbee practice, I put a "U". If it was a rest day, I put a black rectangle.
Column 3: Time. If it's a run, I do the time. If it's strength, I put the time in parenthesis. If it's Ulty, I don't put the time, since only a certain percentage of the time would be running. If it's a random sport that is stop-and-go, I don't put the time. If it's an endurance sport, like a cardio machine or swimming, I'll put the time in parenthesis.
Column 4: Course. I write the course and the splits.
Column 5: Comments. Here, I'll write the temps, my clothing, the injury report, where and how much I felt like stopping (haha, kind of funny that it deserves a spot in my list of common forms of comments. Usually just applies to track workouts, though.), sleep, time of day, weather, fuel, pretty much the stuff on the above list, as long as it's remarkable.
Bottom: Mileage Totals. You sum your weekly total. Then, you add it to your year to date total. That results in a new year to date total.
Extra: I also track which running podcast episodes I've listened to.

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