Do you keep a running log? You should. It is hard to improve, or see what helps you improve the most without keeping track of what you have done. Running well involves looking at what you have done in the past. That way, you can see what works, and what doesn't.
You can track many different things as you run. Most people focus on miles or km ran, but you can also track time running, heart rate levels, weight, and much more.
There are more options than ever now to keep track of your workouts. A big tool for keeping an accurate running log involves having a quality running watch. Many of the watches today track your runs and can calculate much more than the time. GPS Watches monitor the time, distance, and exactly where you ran. Heart Rate Monitor watches track your time and how hard your heart is beating. Nike has a system where there is a jump drive in your foot that is linked up to your iPod or a Nike watch. This system records how far your ran as well as keeps track of your pace every step of the way. Here is a list of the different ways you can record your runs.
1. Web Based Running Log. 2. Microsoft Excel. 3. Paper and Pencil.
Want some details on the advantages and the disadvantages of each? Well, then keep on reading.
1. On the web there are several great online running logs. I recommend using this option for keeping a running log above all others. These web based logs can take information from an Excel program or specific watch types and can record your workouts. Some of the best online running logs include RunningAHEAD, dailymile, Runner's World Log, and Map My Run. Here is a brief summary of each popular running internet based log. The picture below is a bar graph created by an online running log as it tracks your exercise.
em>RunningAHEAD is what I recommend first. The reason why is because it is simple, and yet can keep very complex and detailed accounts of your run. To enter in each run, you simply fill out a form. You can enter in one piece of data, like distance you ran, or you can complete countless other options. Some of the things you can track include, distance ran, time ran, current weight, type of workout, the shoes you were wearing (to track how many miles you put in on them), weather conditions, and so much more. It also has a very friendly community on the message boards.
dailymile is another popular option, and is designed to feel like Facebook for endurance athletes. You can enter your daily miles, hence the name, and socialize with other runners/bikers/swimmers. Some of the nice features here include being friends with other members, and the challenge section. You can join different challenges and try to meet the requirements.
The Runner's World Log is next up. This log is very similar to the running ahead logs. It actually was designed by the same person who designs RunningAHEAD, but the Runner's World log is a simpler version. It has a lot of the same bells and whistles, but the big advantage that Runner's World has is its huge number of runners that use their message boards, logs, and "The Loop." This thing called "The Loop" is like a personal blog for each runner. Feel free to blog about your running experiences and follow others to improve your running experience.
Map My Run is the only one of the top four most popular running logs that I haven't personally tested out. If you are a wannabe cartographer, I guess this log is for you.
2. Next up is using a program like Microsoft Excel. If you are proficient at using a program like this you can generate your own stats and records according to what you deem valuable. The advantages include you can customize the log any way you want. The disadvantages include you have to know how to use a program like this to take advantage of all the computing power.
3. Finally, the old school method of tracking your runs on paper. I did it this way in college. It is a great way to record anything you can think of about your workouts. Write down how far you went, how fast. Keep track of how you felt each day and even write down how much you slept or what you ate. The options are limitless. The disadvantage is you have to total your runs and calculate your pace manually. As added motivation in college to keep track of my running, I bought a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Model calendar to write my mileage down. Don't judge me. It was college! Every week I would turn the page, and a scantily clad woman would encourage me to visit her everyday to write down my runs. I also had to turn my running log into my coach each week, and he didn't seem to mind to monitor my running progress. Let's move on, shall we?
The point is that the choice is yours. Good luck running and don't forget to log those miles.