How do you keep a Running Log?


Do you keep a running log?

Some people are diary/journal people. And some people aren’t. I’m in between.

I love to keep journals of all sorts - personal, spiritual, things my children do and say that I want to remember, and of course a fitness journal - but finding the time and remembering to do so is always a challenge.

Writing in a journal at the end of a long day usually gets scratched as I tend to value sleep more. 


I do love to reflect weekly and doing so only once a week, at this time in my life is much more sustainable! 

What is a running log?

A running log or journal is simply a place where you keep all of your records of each run and race that you embark on. 

  • It could be a specific book or notebook made specifically for recording runs (some ideas below!)
  • It could be an app on your phone (I love using Google docs and OneNote for note taking on my phone).
  • Or it could be a simple notebook or paper that you write what you wish in. 

Why Keep a Running Log?

This was the same question I had asked myself.

As a marathoner, my dad always kept a running journal.

Many of the great runners keep running logs. Running books and magazines always talk about training logs.

What was it all about? Was it just another piece of running gear that I might not really need?

I decided to give it a try when I started training for my third marathon.

Looking back, I am so glad that I took the initiative to start a marathon training log!

It was easier to pinpoint what seemed to help me in my training and what hindered me. Plus, I could keep track of the miles I ran building up to a race, as well as my tapering methods. It was a huge motivational booster. It made me want to run longer, faster, add more miles into my log.

My early running logs became even more helpful at the start of my 6th marathon training program. I could look back and pinpoint where mistakes had been made in my training.

Things such as:

  • what stretches or running workouts worked for me or didn’t work for me.
  • What boosted my energy
  • what hindered my progress
  • what made me faster or slowed me down
  • How many miles did I run the weeks leading up to my race? 
  • What was my longest long run ? 

All these questions I could look back and see where I went wrong or right.

My advice for runners: Keep a running log. There is no way you will regret it and you will learn so much about yourself!

How do you keep a running journal?

Quick Tip: call it a "log" and it won’t seem as high maintenance as a “journal”.

It's very easy and highly effective to keep a running log! Simple write down or take some "notes" after each of your runs so that you can learn, reflect and grow as a runner from them! 

It's incredibly helpful to look back on and see how far you have come whether you are a new runner or a runner training to achieve a challenging goal! 

Keeping track of your runs doesn't have to be something stressful.

The key is making it something that is sustainable! 

For me that means scheduling just 10-15 minutes per week to sit down and record my runs. 

If I ever come back from a run feel the urge to record an entry then I do so and chalk it up as a win. If not though, I don't sweat it. 

Here are some other tips to keeping a running log:

  • Make it easy on yourself and record just after you have run maybe before you hop in the shower. 
  • Make it part of your workout time that you have set aside for the day and then it will become just something you do before you have “completed” your run.
  • Make it a weekly routine vs. a daily routine. A weekly log routine works well if you have a smart watch that keeps track of your running time, splits, etc. (I use a FitBit Versa watch for my runs and daily life.)
  • Keep it in your running clothes and gear stockpile. Having it accessible and visible is a must!

Occasionally, you may forget to record your run but usually you can remember it after your next run and so still get accurate recordings.

What to Record

Whatever you want!

Some things are helpful to some runners and other records are helpful to other runners.

It is up to you but here are a few ideas that I always liked to keep track of.


Of course you will want to record how many miles you ran. Be proud to log them down!

Tracking your mileage will help you determine if you are increasing your mileage too fast or too slow. You might be able to pinpoint the reason for an injury by looking at your weekly mileage or even see patterns of where you might be over training.


How long did it take you to run the distance? It’s always nice to challenge yourself to keep up with your old times or even beat them.

Keeping track of your time will be very motivating as you become faster.

Something fun to do is to keep track of how many minutes or hours of running and at the end of the year see how much time you spent running throughout the year.

Recording your time will also help you visibly see how much faster you have become within a certain time frame.

This will help you determine if your choice of speed workouts have been working for you or not.

Route or Course:

What course did you run on?

Was it hilly, flat, on the track, on a trail?

Recording the terrain you have run on will give more meaning to your running times.


Did you eat or drink anything before, during or after your run that might have affected your performance?

If you used an energy drink, record which one you used and if you had any issues with it. This is especially important to record for your long training runs as these are where you will want to hone in on your fuel and what exactly you will do during your marathon race so that you don't end up hitting the marathon wall. 

Feelings or Mood:

How did your run go? Was it hard to keep your feet moving or did you feel as if you were flying? Did you mentally feel blocked or drained?

Did you have any thoughts that kept you going and motivated? Did you do anything beforehand to help give you motivation during your run?

Recording how you felt will help to reveal a pattern of something that is working or not working for you.

Remember though, it's up to you what you choose to record! Write down what you will find helpful to you. Make it helpful for yourself. They are then a joy to go back and read!

Some Running logs you & Your running might enjoy!

In Conclusion: 

Keeping a record of your runs:

  • Allows you to see what works for YOU and pinpoints what didn’t work for you.
  • Keeps track of your training methods.
  • Motivates you to log more miles, and keep up your training!
  • Ultimately leads you to faster times as you will be a smarter marathoner!

Each one of you will find how much it will help you specifically. Only you will find the benefits of your log by keeping one. You have nothing to lose!

The end result: a better marathoner and if used correctly a faster marathoner! Who wouldn’t want to keep a running log?! 

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