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Role Mothers Talk: the Importance of Running Logs

There's the running of the miles and the logging of the miles. For some, the latter is just as crucial as the former. It's how you see performance, improvement, weak spots, and reflect on the work. Here, our Role Mothers explain if and how they keep track of running and/or training. Maybe you'll find a kindred logging spirit in the bunch, or even a new way to keep track of it all.

RM collage revised

Pam, the grandmother
About two years ago I got a FitBit and love that it syncs with Strava. Since I was picked to be a #RoleMother, I have been using Strava. I have toyed with the idea of keeping a written journal, but I have never been good at writing things down and electronic logs are so easy to scroll through to compare numbers. I go back and check numbers on occasion, usually comparing races. I also try to note how well a run went in the description.

Ashley, the beginner
My husband gifted me my Garmin for my birthday and it has been extremely helpful in pushing myself to run longer and faster. I log my runs with it, which sends the data to Strava. The community of runners is fantastic, especially those in the TLAM Club. You can see who is running that same long 10 miler as you, or find motivation in those runners training for full marathons that just demolished 18 miles!

Melissa, the marathoner
These days, I plan my running days well in advance, and for many years they have simply all fallen on the same days—so not too much logging involved. But things are about to change: I'll be joining a wave of the Heart Rate Training Club soon and will use the plan to keep track of my runs, which will be a change of pace for me!

Nicole, the regular runner
I log all workouts (runs and barre/pilates) on an app on my phone called Digifit. I also wear a FitBit and keep track of my exercise/runs that way. Over the years I’ve tried a few different running apps, but have been digging Digitfit since 2013. To be honest, I don’t typically look back at past workouts I’ve tracked unless I’m training for a race or I’m embarking on this birthday thing I started doing last year. (I try to get in at least 150 miles between January 1 and March 8. Don’t know why I started it, but it’s my little quiet thing I do.)

Sarah, the triathlete
I love a good, old-school calendar notebook. Each night, I try to take a few minutes to write down the results of my workout from that day. I love to use Strava as well just for the interaction with other runners (who doesn't love getting kudos after a great workout?!), but it's also effective to have a tangible reminder of my efforts. Before a big race, I tend to review the past few months of training to remind me all of the work I've done and give me a bit of a confidence boost.

Tania, the sputterer
I'm a little relaxed with logging my training, because really I rely on my Garmin. I save my runs and then I'll go over the data about once a month just to see how my runs compare. My sister did give me a running journal/calendar, though, that I've started using. The journal reminds me that, "Hey, you haven't run enough this week, you should probably get on that."

We want to know: Do you keep a running log? If so, what's your preferred format?

13 responses to “Role Mothers Talk: the Importance of Running Logs

  1. I use Nike Plus and Garmin Connect. I also use the Charity Miles app and earn money for charity while I run!

  2. I use Garmin with the downloaded data from my runs and add notes about how I was feeling, what the temps were (feels like temps too), how the run went, what might have been aching, and what I wore. This last part about what I wore really helps when trying to figure out what to wear to a race or on a run when it’s 9 months later and you’ve forgotten how to dress in the heat or cold. And because it’s hard to scroll through pages of data in the Garmin app online, I also keep all this information in a spreadsheet with the same notes. I can easily add up mileage for the month/year, compare race stats, etc. In that spreadsheet I also have separate tabs to track race expenses by year, race results, any monthly run challenge workouts I might want to follow, etc. It’s all there at my fingertips.

  3. I got a Believe journal and started using it this January. I still log my miles and workouts on Garmin Connect, but I use the Believe Journal to keep notes. I’m really enjoying it! Before I used DailyMile to track my workouts and make notes.

  4. I second Rachael’s recommendation of running ahead.com
    I’ve been logging my running mileage and other workouts there for quite a few years.

  5. I use runningahead.com. My garmin talks to it, so I just download runs and add comments. I’m a geek, so I love that my homepage pops up with a graph of my mileage, and that I can graph pace vs elevation and distance, and see a map of where I ran. I also use it to track the miles on my shoes. I have years worth of data in there, which is fun to look back on. If you like an online running log, imho runningahead is the best 🙂

  6. I’ve used MapMyRun in the almost 4 years that I’ve been running. It’s nice to be able to see the month to month (and year to year!) comparisons on mileage. I also write down my daily miles to track shoe usage. Usually the body lets me know when it’s time for a new pair though!

  7. I’m a fan of spiral running diaries, like the ones Runner’s World and Matt Fitzgerald put out. Went back to see how long I’ve been keeping one and yikes! it’s been over 16 years. SBS is trying to convert me to Strava but I’m a hold-in-my-hands kinda gal so for now I’ll keep logging my workouts on paper; however, last week I purchased a FitBit Blaze and have to say I’m hooked by several of its features. Perhaps it will drag me into the 21st century.

  8. I have been using my Garmin for the past few years and I now sync to Strava when all the stars are aligned. I try to include as much info for myself so I know when I’m aching or “off”, I look back and see that I ran with Johnny Too Fast, a little too often or too many loops that include loads of hills.

  9. I have a small pocket calendar that I write my miles on. If the run is a memorable one, I’ll also jot down who I ran with and where we went. I put my weekly total in the corner on Saturday with a circle around it, too.

  10. I have been using the “Believe” training journal by Laura Fleshman for a little over a year now. I love it! I also use a Garmin, but I write down how I felt and goals in my journal.

  11. I’m a total nerd…in addition to using Runkeeper I keep a spreadsheet with a tab for each month to log the distance,time,pace and any notes. I use this to compare months, look at progress, etc.

  12. I use a regular calendar to track my runs, including mileage on various shoes. I also jot down other things going on in my life. I have a spiral notebook that I use to track races, but it really needs to be updated.

  13. In 1972 I got a Runner’s Log book with photos, motivational quotes and spaces for daily mileage and thoughts. I write in a journal every night, still, usually more about my day than my runs, but I like the old fashioned way of being able to track mileage and the mindset that goes with it. Have never missed a run or race because of it!

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