(To be read in a grandma voice): Back in the good old days, when I started running in the 20th century, I bought a little red running calendar/log every year. It had a daily entry for your miles and lines for comments on how you felt during your run. It also had running tips on every page. This was before the internet age that is today, so it was my only guide when I started. The running magazines told you how to go faster or longer, this just offered useful tips. It was precious to me and when I wrote in it, I felt like a real runner! I was taking my running seriously and was tracking my progress. These are things I logged, and why:
FOOD: This entry was only a few words, but the most helpful: “9:00a.m. 3 miles. Terrific run.” “5:00 p.m. run. 8 miles. Burger for lunch. Bad idea.” “7:00 a.m. 17 miles. Bagel, cinnamon gummy bears and coffee. Feel good!!” After some trials and mistakes, and then logging them, I nailed down what my tummy could tolerate and what food my running legs like. So now, I stick to it like glue (don't eat glue).
MILES: Keeping track of how many miles I run in a week is a great monitor, especially if I have a weekly goal. And when I am training, weekly mileage (your total miles for the week) shouldn’t ramp up more then 15%. Going over that may open up a can of injury. It's also good to mark down when you get new shoes so you can see when to replace them; shoes last between 300-500 miles. Special bonus: It's oh so motivating to see what you have accomplished by flipping back and counting all those miles your legs have done. Good job, legs!
WORKOUTS: This is more of a pre-planning tool. Scheduling your runs on a calendar makes your running/workouts MUCH more likely to happen. I am a terrible planner, but I know if I fall out of love with running I can go back and map out a week of running, workouts, maybe some races, and I will get all fired up and, BAM!! I am back in action baby.
And now, in this 21st century, there are a million and one apps, websites, blogs, and watches to help you keep track. PICK ONE and stick to it. If you commit to more then one, you'll get confused, fed up and then you’ll fall back on that comfy, cozy couch. I like Strava to log in, and I am still fond of that little paper calendar, especially a pretty 'Believe' training journal from our sister hero Lauren Fleshman. Plot it, track it & do it! You'll do great!