How to Start a Training Log for Running

runner on computer
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Whether your goal is to run your best marathon time or to lose some weight, a training log can be a useful and motivational tool. Your log can be as simple or as complicated as you want it to be. Here are some basic guidelines for how to keep a training log.

  1. You can use a spiral notebook, a composition book, or computer software such as Microsoft Word or Excel to create simple charts to track your progress. You can also get a running journal such as the Complete Runner's Day-by-Day Log.
  1. If you prefer to track your training online, some running sites, such ​ or, offer online training logs.
  2. When you set up your charts, make sure you have columns for date, distance, duration, and course. You can have another column for other notes, such as mood, weather, temperature, and how you felt. If you're not sure of the distance of your route, use a site or running app such as MapMyRun to trace and measure it.
  3. If you want to track what you're eating, set up a separate column for food, and keep notes on what you ate, what time, and approximately how many calories.
  4. Create separate entries for your race results. Be sure to include the race name, date, distance, pace, your overall place, and your age group place. If you took splits during the race, make sure you record those, too.
  5. Once you start keeping a training log, make sure you check back periodically to review your progress. You'll learn how you reached your goals or understand why you may not be improving as much as you'd like. If you're tracking your foods, you'll be able to see what works best for your performance.


    1. If you don't already own a running watch, it's a good idea to pick one up. You'll be able to easily record the duration of your run using the stopwatch functionality.
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