A blog by runners. For runners.

Tracking your training: running log options

Track your training: different ways to log your running workoutsOne of the coolest things about being a runner is being able to see how far you’ve come over the years. I’ve kept a training log since training for my first half marathon back in ’06.

After a bad race or during a lull in training, I crack open my first running journal – a spiral-bound, training log made for runners – for motivation. Back then I was much slower and ran shorter distances, but every entry includes smiley faces and exclamation points because I was so proud of myself for getting stronger. (here’s more on creating quality training diary entries.)

My pace isn’t the only thing that’s changed since the old days. How I keep track of my training has, too. I no longer use pen and paper (since I lost all of my ’07 data in a move). Now I use a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet, but there are several other options available to runners, including:

  • Running-specific log. Several companies make running- and triathlon-specific training logs (such as this one). Most are one calendar year long and each page has a week’s worth of days for you to fill in. There may be a line for the date, distance, pace, workout type, temperature, nutrition, and how you felt. The pages may also include running facts, training tips, and motivational quotes.
  • Old-fashioned notebook.You can create your own version of a pre-printed running journal for a fraction of the cost by using a blank notebook. Or type up a week-long customized training template on your computer and print out 52 copies, use a hole puncher, and stick them in a binder and – voila! – you have your own fancy running journal.
  • Electronic notebook. If you don’t want anything fancy and are afraid you’ll misplace a hard copy of a training diary, create a table in Excel, Word, or a similar program. Tailor the fields to keep track of what training components are most important to you. Tip: save your file on Google Drive so you can access it from any computer or your phone.
  • WalkJogRun training diary.  If you have the app, the training diary is a perk of your membership (you can also become a member without the app – for free). Your training log will always be at your fingertips because you can access it on your phone, computer, and other devices where you downloaded the app. The diary tracks your distance, duration, pace, workout type, ascent, cadence, heart rate, weight, and calories burned. You can even view your workouts in graph form over the past 30 days or by year to further analyze your running history.
  • Workout social sharing site, such as dailymile.If you want to keep track of your training electronically and connect with other runners at the same time, a running social sharing experience like dailymile may be for you. You can customize your entry – complete with photos and videos – and comment on others’ training runs.
  • Regular social media sites.Bloggers often recap their workouts on a weekly basis, so this is another option for those wanting accountability.  Some athletes share details of each training session daily on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and other social media sites. A word of caution, though – since this method isn’t well organized, it can be easy to forget to log a workout. Also, it can be cumbersome combing through old posts trying to analyze your data over time.

How do you track your training?

Written by Jen Matz.

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