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Why you need to keep a running journal

The end of the year means setting your resolutions, and if you’re a runner, time to plan out next year’s big races and goals!  One of the toughest parts of choosing your races, and then setting the subsequent goals, is trying to figure out how to train.

Luckily, a running journal is a fantastic tool that, when used appropriately, gives you all the details you need to track your running and set your running goals.  If you haven’t been keeping one, here’s are some great reasons why you should start keeping one in 2016.

Reasons To Use a Running Journal

  1. Identify patterns that work for you, and don’t  – Do you ever look back on a old PR, and think, “How the heck did I manage to run that fast?”  Chances are, you didn’t just wake up one morning and have an amazing day out of nowhere – your PR was the result of a fantastic training cycle.  Or, maybe you just had one of those races that completely blew up in your face, and you can’t figure out what went wrong.  Either way, reviewing data from past training cycles can help you figure out what works for you, what doesn’t, and how to help you move forward to become a stronger runner.
  2. Nail your nutrition plan – I’ll be honest, I feel like I am playing Russian Roulette when I am packing up my nutrition before a marathon….sometimes, I just don’t know how my stomach will react, especially if the weather looks unseasonably warm.  But, by reviewing my nutrition strategy from my training logs from past long runs and races, it’s much easier to figure out definitely didn’t work for me, what seemed ok, and what just might help lead me to my next big PR.
  3. Track your success – A training cycle lasts a long time – after all, 16-20 weeks can take up the better portion of a year! Keeping track of your daily runs can help you see the small improvements throughout the months – maybe you can charge up that hill a few seconds faster, or your mile repeats are getting more consistent – and noticing these changes are a great way to stay motivated to keep up with your training and keeping logging those miles.
  4. Stay consistent – I think we’ve all been there – it’s 6 am, and your alarm is going off.  It’s dark, it’s cold, and the last thing you want to do is roll out of bed, get dressed, and lace up those running shoes.  Will that easy three mile run really make a difference on race day? But, having the visual reminder of your running journal can help keep you motivated to stick to your training plan. After all, no one likes a blank book!
  5. Avoid injury – For the most part, running injuries aren’t traumatic injuries that happen in the blink of the eye.  Usually they happen slowly over time, when you keep charging through your training plan ignoring the little signals – constant fatigue throughout the week, a higher resting heart rate, that nagging pain that just doesn’t seem to go away.  By noticing these little things, you can make the appropriate adjustments, before your nagging pain turns into a full blown injury that forces you on the sidelines for days, weeks, even months at a time.
  6. Keep track of your shoes – Most runners can get about 300-500 miles out of their running shoes before it’s time to buy a new pair, and there are a myriad of factors that affect their life span – a runner’s gait, the types of roads or trails you run on, moisture the shoe is exposed to, etc.  But, but keeping track of the miles on your shoes, it can help you keep track of your shoe’s lifespan, and help you avoid injury in the process.

How To Fill Out Your Running Journal

Ok, so now you’ve made the commitment to use your running journal in 2016. Our team of runners have created a fantastic journal that has all the resources you need.  Here are some keep tips on how to fill out your journal.

Goals – The first page of our journal has a page for you to list your year’s goals. It’s important to take some time at the beginning of the year to really think about what goals are important to you, and what you are hoping to accomplish for the year.  After all, it is easy to get carried to run #runalltheraces and to want to PR in a  half marathon and finish your first triathlon and run a big race challenge etc – but, spreading yourself too thin never works out well.  Better to decide which goals are important, and make sure your training stays focused throughout the year to target those goals.

My Runs

– This is the section to keep track of your daily runs. It’s up to you to fill out as much or as little as you would like – but keep in mind the more information you write in today, the more you’ll be able to reflect on, later on

  • Date
  • Time of day
  • Weather (weather patterns often have a significant impact on the day’s workout)
  • Weight
  • Route (hills, flat, trails, maybe you covered a new area etc)
  • Distance
  • Type of run (easy run, hill repeats, mile intervals etc)
  • Time
  • Pace
  • HR (average heart rate during the workout)
  • HR Rest (resting heart rate for the day)
  • How I felt (numbered scale based on subjective feelings)
  • Calories (burned during the workout)
  • Shoe used
  • Notes (This is the spot to record any additional information – nutrition pre/post run, how you slept the night before, any nagging pains you want to document, any victories or struggles you want to recognize – any other information that might help you reflect on your running)

Weekly & Monthly Summaries – A quick spreadsheet to total your weekly, monthly and yearly miles.

My Races – Races are a great way to gauge your fitness! Keep track of your results throughout the year to help monitor your success.

PRs & Bucket List Races  – Keeping track of your PRs is not only motivating, but fun! Here’s a space to keep track of them all in one spot.  Next to your PRs, keep a running list of the races you would like to run “some day” (and work to turn that “some day” into today!)

Race Registrations – It’s no secret races are filling up faster than ever. Keep track of the races you plan to run, when registration is opening, and when you have completed your registration, so you don’t get shut out.

Notes – We’ve saved some lined pages for you to keep track of anything else you may need to throughout the year!


Customize Your Running Journal!

Head over to – and customize your own training journal. Start with choosing your favorite design out of the over 50 designs available! Then choose your favorite color, and even add your name to most design.  Your personalized running journal will keep you motivated to run strong, all year long!

The post Why You Need a Running Journal: Resolve To Run appeared first on ChalkTalkSPORTS Blog.