Q&A Wednesday

Should I Keep a Running Log?

There will be a lot of differing opinions on this topic. Some use a running app, some use pen and paper, some use a running watch which has its own website and then there is me…

Let me back up a bit first.

I technically started running in 2008… off and on for about two years. But my runiversary is January 4, 2010…. Those not good with dates please note the difference between the years 2008 and 2010.

Why did I start running in 2008 but don’t count those years? Simple, because I have no record until January 4, 2010. That was the day I made my first entry in my very first running log.

And honestly, I had no idea what a running log was on that day and I certainly had zero idea what one was back in 2008. But I wrote down how far I ran and how long it took me in a paper log. Since that day, my log has changed drastically.

I can’t really say why I never bothered to keep track of running when I first started. Perhaps because I never thought I would stick with it. Or perhaps I was just THAT much of a novice. But what I do know is that I regret not having a record of those very first runs. I remember bits and pieces but that is all I have… a puzzle piece memory of something that has become a HUGE part of my life. I wish I could look back at those very first runs… the ones where I struggled to go more than a couple blocks without feeling completely winded and exhausted and see how far I have come.

So my advice… If you are just starting to run, keep some sort of log. It doesn’t have to be fancy just grab a piece of paper and write down how far you ran… even if you use terms like “to the end of the driveway/block”. And also write down how long it took. You may not want it long term but chances are you will one day look back and be thankful you have that information.

If you are one of those treadmill runners, then it should be pretty easy to collect the data… the screen will tell you.

Now, if you would like to run outside then you might want to invest in some sort of running watch or just download an app… there are tons of free ones. I, personally, HATE running with my phone but once I decided to get off the treadmill and outside (read it was spring and not winter) I invested in a cheapish watch. It came with a foot pod that I had to calibrate but it worked well. Eventually, I considered investing in a GPS watch but they are pricey so I kept holding off until my mom surprised me with one for Christmas. Both of the watches that I have used had a website that keeps the data for you. And that may very well be all you need/want.

But, if you happen to be a little excel obsessed like me… then you might want to take a different approach. Keep in mind that this has evolved for me a LOT. The further I got into my running venture, the more I decided I wanted to look at different data and thus… I have an excel for that.

Eventually you will decide what information you do and do not want. When I was trying to figure out my nausea issues, I started to keep track of how I felt and tried to compare that to mileage/temps/pace/food I ate that day. That information helped me determine that it might be my medication which then led me to go off it to see if there was any improvement. Since going off the medication solved the issue, I have since stopped tracking that data. But it was useful when I knew I needed figure out the main cause of the issue.

Start simple and then let it evolve if you want it to. You can always add/take away data and eventually you will find what works for you.

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