The Runner's Log

How does a training log qualify as equipment? Because without a training log, you're running in the dark. There are three main reasons for keeping a log. First, it provides a history of your running, crucial to finding a possible cause of a running injury. Second, reviewing a running log helps determine which training methods have been most effective in prompting one's best performances. Finally, keeping a log is highly motivating, since few runners like to leave too many empty lines. (See Table 3-1 for a sample log.) Additionally, it's useful to keep a shoe mileage chart (see Table 3-2), which makes it easy to determine when it's time to purchase a new pair of shoes (when your shoes reach an upper limit of 350–500 miles).

What to Log

At a minimum you need to record the distance you have actually covered in your workout. This total should also include your warm-up and cool-down mileage because, after all, you did cover that distance on foot.

You should estimate your average pace per mile running by time rather than by mileage. To do this, you can visit a track and run four laps at a relaxed pace; four times around most high school or college tracks equals 1,600 meters, or very close to a mile (0.9942 miles). Then run for a specific amount of time and determine the mileage covered. For example, if your easy pace for a mile is 9 minutes, run for a little over 36 minutes, and call the workout a 4-miler.

The next item to log is the time duration of your workout. In other words, determine how many total minutes you were moving and running, walking, or a combination of both. If you are using the run/walk method of training, you can be even more specific if you like by recording the actual minutes you were running and the minutes you were walking.

TABLE 3-1: RUNNER'S LOG

TABLE 3-2: SHOE MILEAGE CHART

For runners who rotate two or more pairs of running shoes for their training from day to day, or even if you own just one pair, it's also important to write down the shoe model you used for your workout and the respective miles run in that particular shoe. This will enable you to track its wear. Many injuries can be traced to training shoes that are worn out.

To log your information you can use a blank calendar or a spiral notebook. Runner's World also produces a comprehensive training log that you can use to record your workouts for an entire year. There are also a variety of free websites that enable you to record the specifics of your workout (mileage, shoes, duration, etc.). In short, the choice is yours.

Other indicators you can record include, but are not limited to: heart rate (for those runners who use a monitor before and during exercise), weather (temperature, wind, conditions), the specific route you ran, how your legs felt during and after the workout, other cross-training activities done that day, what you had to eat, how much water you took in, and so on. Some runners record their heart rate (pulse) at bedtime and upon awakening in the morning to determine if they are overtraining. The key is to have a program of what you are willing to record on a day-by-day basis.

Using a Calendar

Another way to keep a log is by using a calendar. This can sometimes be better than a separate log because you can also use it to record other events in your life. This gives you an understanding of how other events can be distractions or hindrances to your running. One drawback to calendars is that they are not always easy to write on and don't offer the space to write more extensive notations. Even so, calendars are easy to maintain and give you the opportunity to make running part of your everyday life.

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