As a business owner I have to keep records of everything from taxes to inventory to distributors. But as a runner I’ve never kept a running journal. Maybe I should. Keeping track of things and actually writing it down on paper kind of forces you to remember and quantify what you’re doing.
If you want to improve you need to know where you started and far you’ve come. It also helps define what works and doesn’t work in your routine.
Here’s a great article from Judy Micks on the importance of keeping a running journal:
Running logs are great to have! And, they don’t have to be fancy. You can just use a plain old notebook if you want. The important thing is to get the information down.
Here are my top 5 reasons to keep a running log:
1. Keeps you motivated. A running journal can keep you focused on your goals. You can look back over your week and see the miles you’ve accomplished. It can get you excited for the next week and the next…
2. Future injury prevention. If you incur an injury – you can look back over your log and see where the problem may be. It could be running too many miles too soon, too many hard runs in a week, too many miles in a pair of shoes, etc. Knowing this information is important and can keep you from making the same mistakes again.
3. Confidence. Your running journal can give you the confidence and the positive attitude that you need to accomplish your running goal. If you are planning a big race, the week before can really mess with your mind. You can look back over your log and see the miles that you’ve put in and “know” that you can do it!
4. Planning future training. If you’ve trained successfully for a race – you ran a great time, felt good the whole race, finished strong, don’t you want to know how you did it? Your journal can show you how you prepared and then you can use that as a guideline to plan for your next race.
5. Personal running history. This is my personal favorite! I’ve kept a running journal for every year that I’ve been running. I love to go back and read through them. What was going on at that time, who I ran with, what I may have seen on the road, etc. It’s a great diary!
So, whether you’re a super serious runner and racer – or you strictly run for the fun of it, a running log is important to have.
Now, let’s see what you should include in your journal. Here are my top 7 things that I feel should be included:
1. The route you ran and the distance covered. I’ll include things like the terrain, if there was a lot of traffic that day, etc. Also, if it was a treadmill day.
2. Time it took to cover distance. I’m not too hung up on time, but I do like to keep track of it. The time is important if you are training to break a certain time for a race.
3. Weather conditions. I’ll record temperature when I started and when I finished. Also, if it was rainy, humid, foggy, windy, etc. Anything that may have affected the run, including the time of day (morning, afternoon, night).
4. What type of run it was. Was it an easy day, long run day, speed work, etc.
5. How you feel after the run.
6. What shoes worn during run. I like to do this so that I keep track of how many miles I have on a pair of shoes.
7. Anything that may have happened during the run. Sometimes this is my favorite part. Finding money along the road, people I may have run with, animals I may have seen – just anything that notable. It’s so much fun to go back and read old running journals!
Your running journal is your personal diary. There are no set rules on what you put in there. Make it your own. The important thing is to have one.