Why & How To Keep a Running Journal

Want to start keeping a running journal, but don’t know where or how to start?

Then you’re in the right place.

Running Journals Are Legit

Whether you’re a beginner runner or an elite marathoner, a great way to stay motivated is to keep a record of your training using training diary.

In today’s article, I’ll be sharing with some of the benefits of keeping a running journal, along with the guidelines you need to keep one effectively.

So are you excited?

Then here we go.

Why & How To Keep a Running Journal 

A running log, journal, or diary, is a record where you can keep tabs on your runs, races, injuries, diet and pretty much anything else training-related.

It’s, in essence, a written record of observations, suggestions, experiences, and events.

If you don’t already use a training log to monitor your running, here are five good reasons to start today.

Know your Goals

A running journal is an ideal place for tracking your running goals and keeping them in sight.

Further, by monitoring your training goals, you’ll make sure you’re not increasing mileage too slowly or too quickly. This can help you find the sweet training spot in which you’re challenging yourself without hurting yourself.

Monitor Your Progress

A training log can be your best tool for reference. It can help you monitor your progress as you move through your running program, allowing you to look back over a detailed record of your running history.

Monitor Injuries

By keeping track of aches and pains, you’d be able to pinpoint the onset of an injury, find the causes and prevent serious ramifications.

After all, overuse running injuries do not happen overnight. In fact, every injury comes with a list of warning signs. You just have to be able to listen and re-adjust accordingly.

Boost Your Performance

Assessing your training diary on a regular basis can help you determine which workout and diet approaches have been most effective at improving your running performance.

This, in turn, can help make the right training decision for both the short and long term.

Hold You Accountable

Think of your training journal as a contract between yourself and it. A written pledge to do what it takes to get the job done—no matter what the circumstance.

Choosing The Format

Hopefully, by now, I’ve sold you on running journals.

So, what kind of workout log should you use?

When it comes to the format of your running log, there are many options to consider. These include notebooks, a standard bound training journal, an app, an online training log, a vlog, or just loose scraps of paper.

With that all being said, there is no right or wrong way to keep a running journal.

As long as it’s delivering, you’re good to go.

The Easy Way

I suggest that you opt for the one that’s most convenient and most appealing to you. It can be as simple as a notation in a notebook or calendar.

As a result, I recommend that you get started by purchasing an ordinary paper diary. I personally love the blank cardboard notebooks from Molesky as since they are so simple to use and portable.

Digital Tracking

Are you a technically inclined runner? Then use technical tools.

These savvy tools are designed to make it easy for you to monitor your daily workout and calorie intake, providing you with a lot of tools and helpful resources—something that cannot be found in a standard paper workout journal.

Microsoft Word. Use a spreadsheet in Microsoft Excel or Google Sheet. Or a simple text editor on your desktop computer as your running log.

Use an app. Like MyFitnessPal or FitDay.

Go online. Join a website or forum. Examples include  DailyMile.com and MapMyRun.com.

Start blogging. Create your own blog, or vlog, to keep up with your running and fitness results.

As you can see, you have so many choices to pick from. Just whatever you choose.

So, find the method that works the best for you, and keep doing it day after day, week after week, month after, etc.

You get it.

What to Log? The Main Running Data to Monitor

Once you choose the format, the next thing you need to consider is what to log—what information to write down and keep track of.

A good training log can record virtually anything you find relevant to your running routine.

Here are a few of the details to include:

  • Prescribed run, and actual run completed
  • Average pace.
  • Time and date of your run
  • Average running speed (using an app).
  • Record aches and pains. This can help prevent injury shortly.
  • For speedwork sessions, record your distance and splits.
  • Your running route.
  • Your pre- and post-run foods and drinks, and if possible, the night before.
  • Your heart rate.
  • Pre-run dynamic warm-up moves and post-run stretches.
  • Running shoes. Noting your shoe purchase date, miles, and which shoes you wear in each session.
  • Your short and long-term goals
  • Statistics related to your cross-training exercises, especially resistance training.
  • Virtually anything else or additional information you find important about your running program.

The Minimum to Keep Track of

If this feels too much, then don’t feel overwhelmed.

At a bare minimum, especially if you’re crunched for time, there are just a few essential types of information you need to record.

Most recreational runners start by recording their distances, times, and little else.

Therefore, a running log entry could be as simple as “3 miles (30:41).”

Also, make sure to estimate your average pace per mile by time rather than by distance.

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David Dack

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