This article contains information about running logs, such as what is a running log, what are the benefits, and what are the most common features. For illustrative examples, I have used LogARun.com – which my kids and I use and like – there are several running logs available that you should check out.
What is a running log?
For many runners, what starts as a simple log grows into a personal and lasting running diary. A running log is where you record your runs. It could be a notebook, spreadsheet or website. Basic information you should include is the date, distance, time, route, and any personal comments about the run.
Why use a running log?
- Setting goals – the log will help kids visualize, plan and commit to goals, and kids are more likely to achieve their goals if they track progress on a daily and weekly basis
- Building confidence – as the runs and miles accumulate and your kids achieve their goals, they will build confidence as runners
- Running legacy – kids record and celebrate their favorite running experiences, allowing them to look back and reflect on goals achieved (or missed), what they learned and the progress they made as runners
- Managing injuries – parents can help kids avoid overuse injuries and recognize patterns that may have led to injuries
- Training program – parents and kids together can evaluate what works and what doesn’t when training for a particular race/event
Continue to read below the screen captures.
Monthly calendar (not filled out) from LogARun.com
Popup screen for entering daily running and workout information
Setting goals and tracking progress
Personal page showing shoes tracker
Setting up teams
Sample LogARun.com Features (as of September 2011)
- Set goals:
- For running and other wellness activities
- Log and track:
- Progress towards your goals
- Distance, time, pace (automatically calculated), weight, heart rate, personal notes, with simple pop-up to enter information
- Workouts comprised of warm-up, intervals, warm-down (including splits)
- Double runs on single day
- Calendar (weekly, monthly, team) to track and view running and other wellness activities
- Personal records (PRs)
- Shoes (accumulated mileage)
- Share your information with others (public profile) or keep it private (what I recommend for kids – see more below)
- View but not edit other users (if public or on same team)
- Create, configure, join teams, and share your information with teammates and leave comments for them
- Configure, view and print standard reports and charts
- Create, print and save custom reports and charts
- For more sophisticated analysis or to re-upload elsewhere, export user data through an XML file (compatible with Excel)
- Garmin upload using Garmin Communicator plug-in
- Web-based, accessible through internet browser at LogARun.com
- Export user data through an XML file (compatible with Excel)
- Cost: Free!
What we would improve (as much as we like LogARun.com, here’s what it lacks):
- Integrate with map software (e.g., view routes on Google maps)
- Improve usability of reports and charts (e.g., create dashboard)
- Update look & feel
Helpful tips for kids
- Ask your child to fill out the running log after the run. Kids are more likely to fill out their log and write a vivid description of their running experience in the moment, not hours or days later. With my 9 year old, after a refreshing shower works best, latest he will do it before he goes to bed. My 15 year old is on the school cross country and track teams, so his coach expects daily logs and I seldom need to remind him.
- Fill out the running logs together if you are running with your child (either if you are literally running together or your child is running at school and you are running separately during your day). This will reinforce the practice of logging your runs, and allow you to share your thoughts and reflections with your child. Today’s run was great, we both ran a nice pace and it felt easy. It was awesome that we witnessed a family of deer cross the running trail. Mom/Dad struggled a little with the last couple of intervals.
- Use the opportunity to talk with your child about the run, share experiences (whether or not you run together with your child), and give feedback and encouragement. How was your run? Did you enjoy it – why or why not? Was the pace comfortable? Did you struggle a little bit today with the heat and humidity?
- Make it interactive. Once in a while, have your child look at other teammates’ log entries (could be family members, friends, teammates on the school team) and encourage him/her to leave comments to motivate others.
- Track all of your child’s wellness activities in a single place. My sons and I track cross training, e.g. strength and core training, swimming, biking, tennis, taekwondo, etc. We can view the weekly/monthly duration of our activities, and understand how much time we spend exercising.
- Create a team in the running log for your school cross country and track teams, local running club, or just for family and friends, which allows you to manage/coach a team and share information among the team and keep it private from the general public.
Running logs that you should check out (not an exhaustive list):
Log That Run
Garmin Connect (integrates with Garmin Forerunner GPS and HRM products)
Polar Personal Trainer (integrates with Polar GPS and HRM products)
Running Training Log (affiliated with Runner’s World)
Nike (various websites)