The running log book can be one of the most effective tools you have in your quest to becoming the best runner you can be. Below you will learn exactly what needs to be included in your running log and how that information will help you reach your running goals while remaining injury free.
If the day was spent training include:
This one is simple. Input the date of the run for record keeping purposes.
How many miles did you run. Was it an easy mileage day or a workout? If it was a workout what was it (ex. 8×400, 4×1 mile, etc.). This helps you keep track of how quickly you are building your mileage up over time. This is where you should following the rule of not building your mileage up any more than 10% each week. If you are building mileage quicker than 10% each week then you are running the risk of hurting yourself. This is because your body takes time to recover from each run. Building your mileage any faster than 10% a week is asking your body to recover faster than it is probably ready for. While some people can successfully increase mileage by more than 10% a week for a few weeks it will eventually catch up with them and result in an injury.
3. Time achieved for run or workout and where the workout was performed
What was the total time of the long run or what was the split for each repeat? You should also keep track of which course you ran. Keeping accurate records of your time was for a workout or what your time was for the course you ran that day is very important. You can look back weeks, months, or even years later to see how your time compares when you run that course or workout again. You can also look at the other factors that day and see if there was an outside variable that caused you to run slower one day as compared to the other (ex. extreme heat) or were the variables similar and you ran faster one day due to better fitness.
4. Time of Day
Was it 6:00am or 6:00pm? Some people feel better running in the morning while others feel better running in the evenings. There are also studies, which will be discussed in future entries, which discuss the likely hood of injury when running in the morning as compared to the evenings. Keeping record of what time of day you train is also important because many experts suggest that you should train at the same time of day you are going to race. If your goal race is a morning race and you spend all your time training in the afternoon then you can compare your race result to another time when you trained in the morning for a morning race.
Were you running in the heat of the day, winter blizzard, or rain? These factors will be crucial to one in the future when you are looking back through your training log. If you see that one day you ran in very hot and humid conditions then you will know why your time was so much slower on that day. If proper care is not taken after some runs you can get sick from the elements you ran in. If this happens then as you look back through your training log then you can see what conditions you have to be weary of.
6. How you felt about the workout (scale 1-10)
I use a scale of 1-10 to determine how I felt about the workout. “10” means I felt great and could not have felt any better. “1” means that I struggled from the first step to the last. When you keep this information you can look back and see if you were not recovering from your previous workouts and need a couple days off. If you see a consistent decline in your ratings it could be a sign of needed rest.
7. Rate of Perceived Exertion (Scale 6-20)
The RPE scale is based upon a scale that you use to estimate the perceived exertion for each run. The scale listed below shows you that a level of “6” mean no exertion at all and a level of “20” mean a maximal effort that you can only maintain for a few seconds. The scale of 6-20 is also used because it can be used to estimate heart rate. If you say you are currently running at an RPE of 13 then your estimated heart rate might be around 130. Basically take your RPE score and multiply it by 10. Please remember that the heart rate estimates are just an estimate and could not be very accurate depending on a number of other factors.
6 No exertion at all
7 Extremely Light exertion
9 Very light exertion (walking at a slow and comfortable pace)
11 Light exertion
13 Somewhat hard exertion (You feel tired, but you can continue for a while)
15 Hard exertion
17 Very hard (strenuous and causes a lot of fatigue)
19 Extremely hard exertion (you cannot maintain this pace for very long)
20 Maximum exertion
8. Aches or pains (if any)
In the past I have written about small aches and pains that I ignored and down the road those aches turned into major injuries. When I went back and reviewed my training log I noticed that I had ignored the warning signs of injury for quite some time. Instead of taking a day or two off to allow the injury to heal before it was bad I ended up having to take a month or two off to let the major injury heal.
9. Any outside workouts (swimming, biking, bball, soccer, mowing lawn)
If you are constantly working out in the pool or the bike and you do not change the amount of running you do according to the other workouts you are doing you may be flirting with disaster. Too much running and swimming or biking could result in stress that your body can not recover from. The result a few days or weeks later could be a major injury.
Keeping an accurate log of what you eat each day will help you in the future. I have learned that there are some foods that I must avoid for a few days before a race. I have learned this from previous training. Certain foods do not sit well with my stomach and running. If I eat these foods anywhere close to a hard run then I have stomach issues. Knowing what foods to avoid and which foods work well will allow you to have a much more enjoyable workout or race.
I sweat a lot more than most people when I run. On hot days it is essential that I hydrate before, during, and after a run. Sometimes I still start a run dehydrated and as a result I feel awful. If you are constantly making notes about feeling dehydrated then you know that you need to increase the amount of fluids you take in.