Thursday, January 28, 2010

Keeping a Running Journal

I have a confession to make. I am obsessive compulsive about keeping my daily runs/activities in only one type of Journal. No other brand, manufacturer, or other book will do it for me. I have a yearly Journal that go back to 1983 on the shelves in the basement and the first ten years were Running Journals from MDRA (Minnesota Distance Runner's Association), from Runner's World (they used to give you a free one with a year's paid subscription), and ones from Racer's Edge. I even tried an on-line running diary (which I paid a 3 year subscription for and didn't make it six months of keeping it up-to-date).

If you're not keeping a running journal, you are missing out on a great resource as you develop your running as a life habit. There are times that it will feel like we are not getting better and a running journal has a great impact on putting that into perspective. There are other times where you may get sick or injured, and a journal will give you a record so that will give you clues on what could've caused it. There have also been running years where you hit a bunch or PRs (Personal Records) and this written record will show you how you did it. It's like finding a great combination of ingredients for a new dessert and having the only recipe book.

So what should every good running journal have a record of? Here's what you should look for when selecting a journal:

-Day of Week/Date/Time of Day


-Heart Rate – Resting/Training Heart Rate/Low High ranges/Average

-Miles/Distance ran that day

-Temperature – Type of Day (Sunny, Cloudy, Humidity, Dew Point, etc.)

-Pace – minutes per mile

-Time – how long did it take you?

-Course – that you ran that day

-Comment Section

-Form: Wire Bound Paper Back that you keep in your gym bag.

Other optional information:

-Rate how the run went A through F

-Mileage to date – weekly, monthly, YTD

-Shoes – if you wear multiple pairs or how many miles YTD on these shoes

Appendix with training plans for various distances, pacing charts, wind chill temperature index and heat stress index, and other running information quick information charts.

So, this brings me back to the journal that I keep. I tried a number of them. The online ones, I found difficult because you are limited to the program's flexibility. I also like to compare one year to another and there is something about being able to hold each of them when taking notes. The paper ones can also be limiting if it doesn't have the items I have listed above.

My choice is The Runner's Training Diary by Coach Bob & Coach Shelly Glover. $10 and change on I offer this not as the only journal you should buy just my own personal choice. You need to find one that meets your needs. But I strongly encourage you to start keeping a journal now if you haven't already. The feedback that you get from this will become invaluable to you in future years.


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