Sunday, December 28, 2008

Running Logs

Most coaches, sports specialists, and athletes advocate maintaining an activity journal or a log. This is different than a plan or schedule, which put forth future activities and goals. A log is kept as a retrospective, a frame of reference as to what you did, where you were, how it felt, what the conditions were, who you were with, maybe even insights that you had while running. They are typically not something you share with other people, unless of course you want to! Some runners I know even log the particular pair of shoes they wore for that workout. What a good way to keep track of the mileage on your shoes.

A log can be helpful to recall races and times, weekly, monthly, and annual mileage, and possibly certain conditions that might have lead up to an injury. I know one runner who is very committed to keeping a journal and promotes it as a way to cherish all the effort and discipline that she puts into maintaining a running lifestyle.

I keep track of my mileage and races in an abbreviated way, usually writing them down on my monthly schedule, which is a month-at-a-glance type calendar. I also often use a Garmin heart rate monitor which allows me to download each workout to my computer, and keep track of a lot of information that way. But I'm a low-tech person and mostly appreciate the monitor for simply being able to see my heart rate and pace relative to terrain, and to see the neat map of where I just ran. I honestly don't do much with the stored information. At least not yet. Sometimes I track my weekly mileage in my head. I know where I like to be at the end of the week so it's pretty straightforward.

Sundays mark the beginning of my running week because this is when I do my long(er) run. Today being Sunday, I met up with a great group of people in Cape Elizabeth to train on the Mid-Winter Classic 10-Mile course and ran the ten miles. I really needed a fresh start today after a very long, low-mileage, sluggish Christmas week. Ten is a nice way to kick off the week and sets me up for a hopeful entre to the New Year!

Speaking of the New Year, maybe I'll add a running log to my short list of new behaviors. I say short list only because I want to avoid setting myself up for failure when I can't possibly accomplish a long laundry list of goals. Two goals that I have articulated are 1) to keep my business, A Running Conversation, healthy and productive, and 2) to follow the strengthening workout plan I received from Erica Napuli at Health Coaches in Portland. I also keep my list short because I have a second list of old behaviors to remove from my repertoire as well!

How are you lining things up for the New Year? Please feel free to make a comment below. I'd love to hear about your experiences and ideas, and I'd love to know you're out there reading this. Which leads me to one last topic - this blog. I've had some interesting feedback about it: One thought was that is should be more frequent, and another idea was to nail down a specific day each week to publish it and then stick to that. My interest is in doing it at least twice weekly, possibly more if I can, and to write about whatever comes up! What do you think?

Have a very happy New Year!


paul2e said...

Thanks for the excellent tip. I once had a fairly extensive log in excel. Date, distance, time, and notes. It had a running previous 7 day total distance column too. I kept it for a few years and it was cool to see the trends when I lined up the weeks in one row across those years. Like you, I measured the weeks beginning on Sundays. So I lined up the spreadsheet on those days, not the dates (the 1st Sundays of the new year not Jan 1). Not only did I see each run, I could put an occasional injury into a mileage based context. AND I could put my recovery into that same context.
Bottom line: I agree, my log really helped my running.

Jeanne said...

Terrific. I hope you revive the log for your Boston 2009 training. Good luck with it!