Keeping a Log
During my thirty years as a competitive runner I have logged some fifty thousand plus miles over rural and urban roads. Most of those miles are documented in a journal or running log. You may be wondering why I keep these records, but there are several benefits to tracking your workouts. Like all runners, I have had good years and not so good years, good races and those not so good, and I have logged them all. I now have a small library of my past thirty-five years of running.
1995 was my best year as a competitive runner. I have logged every workout during the year. By having a log I can look back on training techniques that worked and which didnít, or my pace on specific courses leading up to important races such as the Big Boy Classic( sorry, it will always be that to me) . My log books act as a training guide and give me an idea of my fitness level at a specific time of year.
So you have started a log. Now what? What kinds of things should you put in your log? Here are the things I document the most.
The Course Most of us are creatures of habit; therefore, we run the same courses often. Log the times on each particular course so that you can compare. I had a key twelve mile run that I did close to May. I would time it and compare it to previous years. This gave me a gauge of my fitness level at the same point in time.
Weather The weather is a key element to your log because it can give you answers to why you didnít run the course particularly well on a certain day. Naturally a hot and humid day would be tougher than a day in the sixty degree range. Record any rain, snow and yes, Iíve even been caught in a few hail storms in my day. Log the weather and temperature. It tells you plenty.
General Overall Feeling Did I feel good? Did I get enough rest? Did I feel sluggish? Was I running with a cold or flu? All are important to track when keeping a log. Remember, you are not making excuses in your journal; you are simply specifying how you feel. This information can help when you go back months later or even years later. The more information you write, the better the chances are of avoiding the same problems in the future.
Injuries This one is a biggie. By logging your injuries you may be able to see what types of workouts cause injury to certain areas of your body. Many times I can see why I have gotten injured by just looking at my logs. Sometimes I put too many hard workouts close together or changed my terrain drastically. No matter how simple the injury may seem, write it down. I have prevented some injuries by reading my logs. Itís like the old saying, ďThose who donít learn from history are destined to repeat it!Ē
Shoes Log when you purchased your last pair of shoes so you will be able to calculate the number of miles you have on that certain pair and when to change them. I always have a tendency to lose track of my miles on my shoes. To help my regular customers, I put their purchase date into the computer and when they return, I can tell them the exact date of their last purchase.
Weight As much as we all like to avoid this one, itís a key element to any log. During the months of November, December, and January we all have a tendency to gain those winter pounds. Over the years I have fretted about the additional five to ten pounds gained during the winter, but thankfully when my training picked back up in early spring I lost the extra weight.
My running logs were my best resource for my training regiment. History is so very important. It tells us how we got to where we did and when we did it. With the new year beginning take it upon yourself to start that log.