Your digital calendar is probably cluttered with appointments, meetings, events, and social obligations. For runners who have a full schedule, keeping track of training and upcoming races can be motivational, but also tedious. Those days of jotting down your ‘to-do’ list in that messy Filofax are long gone (if you don’t remember those pricey and bulky leather journals that required paper refills, you didn’t miss out on much). Instead, we’re more likely to use digital calendars, apps, and notes on our cell phones to remind us of our daily tasks.
The art of leaving paper trails behind for future generations to appreciate has slowly eroded, typically rendering them useless and extinct. However, in addition to writing a quick food shopping list or a quick reminder on a calendar hanging in your home/office, runners can benefit from logging their mileage and detailed training routine in a journal dedicated solely to their fit life! There are many advantages to leaving paper trails behind recording running endeavors that will motivate you and provide priceless sentimental value at the same time.
A Running Log is Worth The Work!
Maybe you don’t have a choice when it comes to scribbling down some of your runs inside your running log and when upcoming races are scheduled. Chances are, your scribbles and markings will wind up in the trash when you change your monthly and yearly planners – who’s actually going to need that 12×12 calendar acting as your running journal hanging in your kitchen in years to come anyway?
While you may think it’s a lot of physical work now, investing in a couple of running logs/journals exclusively dedicated to your running life can make you a better athlete and help you step up your training game. Scrapbooking itself isn’t a lost passion in the crafting community, but runners may find it more challenging to keep track of their feats in the midst of their obligations.
The hardest part of maintaining a physical journal or log is actually sitting down and taking time to fill in your calendar with completed daily activities. When you find a monthly or weekly datebook that’s thin, lightweight and simple to keep organized (some datebooks have a combination of both monthly and weekly sections in which to put notes), make sure you only use it for your runs and strength training! Calendars used for everyday purposes, like family functions, work reminders and so on, should be kept separate from your running log. If you’re really feeling creative but you’re on a budget, you can purchase an inexpensive blank notebook and make your own custom-designed weekly/monthly/daily calendar to meet your athletic needs – complete with charts and graphs to be filled in after your treks.
What may seem like a time-consuming obligation can wind up being a fun and enjoyable post-workout routine that gives you perspective on how often you run, how long your runs generally tend to be and how you feel afterward. The paper trails you leave along the way can be a blueprint for pride and improvement.
Make A ‘Date’ With Your Love Of Running in Your Running Journal
Sometimes, having a visual of our goals pushes us to accomplish more and meet/exceed our long-term expectations of ourselves. Your running log or datebook can be your own reminder to get moving or training. So how can you organize your running journal in a way that makes you a better runner? Consider these pointers:
- If you’re slacking off on running or going to the gym to strength train, create a “goal day” each week and mark it on your running journal. Identify your exact target – is it a 5 or 10-mile run? Do you need to work on your upper body at the gym next week? How many days do you want to hit the weights? Creating a “weekly goal” can help you hold yourself accountable and also help you look forward to running or working out more often to accomplish those goals.
- Each time you complete a run, write down the exact time and pace on your calendar. If you had a desired finish time/pace, make a note of the different obstacles that may have held you back or slowed you down. Seeing your own improvements will be a confidence booster and push you to reach the mileage you’ve been training for.
- Love to run different routes and trails? Make a list on your running log of the top running locations you can’t wait to conquer. On the days you know you’ll have ample time to cover new territory, make a “date” with your run and then put a ‘check mark’ next to those scenic locations! Having a physical running guide and mapping out different trails also builds challenging foundations where you can test your stamina and endurance. If your city or community organizations hand out free greenway trails and bike/running path maps, snag one of them to mark up and plan your next trek. Paperclip or affix the map to your log book for quick reference where you can mark it up and draw lines of your ‘conquered territory.’
Make It Fun When Recording That Run!
Female runners may be more apt to get colorful, crafty and artsy with their record-keeping. Adhesive notes, motivational stickers, and wacky colored pens/pencils are fun accessories to add to your ‘filing system.’
If you’re using a monthly date book, mark up every day that you ran – and how far you trekked – with assorted highlighters. You could use different colors for different mileage as a guide to viewing the diversity of your runs at a glance. For example, blue can represent 3 mile runs, yellow can represent 6-mile runs and orange can represent 13 mile runs, etc. The more variety of colors you use as a ‘key’, the better! Looking back at those highlighted dates can be a fun reminder for future runs and will motivate you to add more color-coded miles to your files.
Days when you’ve gone for long runs, celebrate by plastering that planner with stickers and other embellishments that echo your achievements. Crafting shops carry a slew of athletic/sports-oriented decals and stickers that can spice up your boring calendar pages.
Inspirational stickers with phrases like: “You Did It!” and “Way To Go!” are also great additions for your log or calendar. Think of these post-run crafting activities as mini inspirational boosts that will keep your energy flowing — the same way teachers place stars on students’ papers for a job well done!
It can also be fun to add food stickers to your log book as a nutritional guide during training. Are you limiting your calories but can’t resist that slice of pizza the day before a race? Putting stickers into your log book of meals like pizza, loaded hamburgers, and other naughty treats can be a reminder of when you had a cheat meal last or when you’re allowed to splurge again.
Record The Real Story Behind Your Run
Runners face a lot of obstacles in the midst of their journeys. For example, a perfect run can turn into a rainy trek. What began as a fast mile-making milestone can become a slow jog through the streets. The short run you planned through the park can turn into the longest run you’ve ever had in your life!
So, what really happened on your run? If you had to stop in the middle due to unforeseen events that prevented you from reaching your goals, it’s all part of your story! Other “stories” behind your run could be epiphanies you had or decisions you’ve made as you covered more miles. When you return from your run, get out your log book and record the ideas/feelings/thoughts you had. Your next big project – whether it’s personal or professional – may have mentally hit you as you were on your 4th mile running up a hill.
Running has been known to open up a world of self-discoveries and realizations – many that we don’t bother to write down or document. Keeping a running log can motivate you to experience a type of “self-therapy” on paper that you didn’t have before. If emotional events transpired before your run that made the trek less enjoyable, record your feelings before and after the run. You may find it interesting to see how your “running story” has changed.
You’re Making Your Own History
Need another reason to value your long running journey? Think of logging in your accomplishments as a form of making your own “history” where you’ll be able to reflect on how many times you ran a certain course or how many races you completed in record time.
Some runners hang their race bibs and medals on a wall. Others tuck them away in a photo album or perhaps store them inside of a keepsake box. Here’s one way to organized and file your racing history: place each bib in a clear plastic sleeve along with notes about the run. You can scribble down your finishing time, what the conditions were during the race and any other memorable parts of the day. Many stores sell presentation portfolios that already have clear cellophane sleeve pages inside. You can also purchase a box of three-hole-punch 8 ½ x 11 page protectors and place them in a binder.
The benefit of storing your bibs in these top loading sleeves is that they’re made of acid-free plastic and will prevent your prized possessions from fading and discoloration. Even if you store the portfolio somewhere in the depths of your closet, the pages and content will remain in good condition for years to come.
If your ultimate goal is to pass down your racing bibs to a loved one, your running history will be in one awesomely organized and creative presentation book. It’s also pretty cool to compare the evolution of race bibs and their diverse designs from an assortment of race organizations (some bibs may even have your name on them, making them true relics for your archive!).
A Picture Tells A Thousand Words
The art of printing up photos has nearly vanished! With social media being the main ‘portfolio sharing outlet’ of our lives, we don’t need to have as many hard copies of photos framed on our walls to remember every event.
For nostalgic runners, taking pics of races and runs are now utilized on social media apps like Facebook and Instagram. Take it one step further for your running log! Print up some of those photos and race shots and tape them to your book. You can also file your photos in a “running box” in order of race distance and location, for example.
Add A Vlog To Your Itinerary
Okay, so you’re getting it all on paper and documenting all of the vital aspects of your running experiences. Some athletes still want to document and archive their stories so that they can actually watch themselves online for years to come.
Of course, it’s priceless to record a clip of yourself right after a run when you’re exhausted, sweaty, tired and hit the wall. For those who aren’t embarrassed to try new school “digital filing systems” like vlogs (video blogs), creating a YouTube channel where you reflect on your runs can be a great online footprint for yourself and motivate other runners. Making your vlog unique can involve pausing your run to record a short video clip in the midst of your trek. Want to stay private about your running endeavors? Saving the clips from your cell phone to your computer, and then to a hard drive to watch later on, could also be a great tool to help improve your performance. Literally seeing yourself in action and hearing your own feedback about your runs may influence your future goals.
Whichever form of “filing” you prefer – and whether it’s private or shared with others – the end result should be a fun exercise that’s beneficial and transforming! Sure, having extra datebooks and calendars to fill in and organize may sound like a lot of effort, but over time you’ll reap the benefits of getting artsy and in shape. Happy crafting!