Benefits of Keeping a Runner’s Log

by Louise | March 27th, 2013 | Fitness Expert

bookTo start things off, I should clarify what I mean by a  runner’s log. A workout/runner’s log is generally a physical notebook where you jot down all of the relevant details and commentary on your workout, but it doesn’t have to be. I don’t know about you, but despite having enough energy to get in 6+ miles of effort on a daily basis, I find it a cumbersome task to actually open up a notebook and write down a particular day’s effort; selective laziness is a bizarre thing.

I do use a computer on a daily basis, so I’ve chosen to use that for tracking my workouts. I like to use an Excel spreadsheet, because I can let the program do the math to find my weekly total or average. I leave a column for date, mileage (if I know it), duration of run, and general notes (where I ran, the weather, any complaints that I may have had, etc.). Let your runner’s log be in whatever medium you are most comfortable using!

Benefits of keeping a workout log:

  • Accountability: Have you ever had trouble getting yourself out the door? Taking an unexpected day off here and there is perfectly fine, but having to add yet another zero into your work out log might make you think twice about letting it become a habit.
  • Health Concerns: Imagine that your most recent shin pain has gotten to the point where you want to see a doctor about it. Your doctor will undoubtedly ask you when the pain started. If you made note of when that shin pain started in your log book, you won’t have to sit there scratching your head. Knowing when the pain started, and its severity over time, can help your doctor make better informed decisions.
  • Tracking Progress. For short term purposes, your workout log can help you decide how much mileage to run next week compared to this week, or something along those lines. As your log grows, you will have much more data to look back on. You can check to see how your mileage this year compares to the same week last year. Did you want to be running more or less? Along the same lines, you can set goals on your workout log and easily check to see if you achieved them.

If you don’t care about how many miles you ran, don’t write it down. If you would like to keep track of weight alongside your workout, simply add in a column. Personalizing your runner’s log in a manner that makes you most likely to use it will help you get the most out of it in the future.

Editor’s Note – Louise is a three season athlete for varsity sports teams at Div. III MIT. She runs cross country, and she is also a mid-distance runner during indoor and outdoor track. She currently holds the school record as an individual in the Mile, and shares the title for the 4x800m relay and Distance Medley Relay. A junior this year, she earned All-America status (Top 8) at Indoor Nationals in both prior seasons, and has high expectations for the upcoming indoor and outdoor seasons.

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All health and fitness information is provided for educational purposes. Please consult with your physician before beginning any exercise regimen.