Many runners will agree that it is helpful to keep some kind of log of their running activities so that they can see their progress and get a better idea of when problems and injuries started cropping up. While logs don't have to be complicated to be useful, many runners today are using online tools to track their running. RunningAHEAD is a running log that I found out about when my previous running log was bought out and closed down. The RunningAHEAD staff quickly and easily imported my log and preserved my running history.
Reasons to Have a Running Log
Not everyone will see the need to keep a running log. In fact, some people don't need it at all. For new runners a running log is more important than for experienced runners.
Keeping a log will help you know when you are trying to do too much too quickly. Overtraining injuries occur when a runner puts in too many miles without letting their body rest properly. This number of miles will vary for different people and can be variable over time. If you consistently feel aches and pains each time you approach 40 miles for a week, then your running log can help let you know you are trying to do too much.
A running log can be a motivational tool. When bad runs happen, as they inevitably do, looking over your running log can encourage you with how much you have accomplished over a certain period of time. If you have fallen into a routine that is comfortable, but not pushing you to your goals, then your running log can give you an idea of where you need to work harder. If you have to miss a run and your log book shows some blank spaces, it can motivate you to get back on the road. Running logs can be the slap on the back (or a kick in the backside) that you need as a runner.
One of the greatest uses of a running log is to see where you have come from since you started keeping your log. By looking at my running log at RunningAHEAD I can see that out of my five years as a runner the most I have run in a year was 883 miles and the least was 402. Being able to get those kinds of numbers out of your running log can show you where you have improved as a runner.
There are many features at RunningAHEAD. I will not go into all of them in detail except the running log itself. Signing up with RunningAHEAD is free and you get access to the full list of features.
- Running log
- Forums and user groups
- GPS data import
- Conversion calculators
- Route mapping
- Facebook integration
- Smartphone application
- Data import and export
RunningAHEAD Training Log
You can keep track of much more than just your running activities at RunningAHEAD. There are logs for running, biking, swimming, walking and weight lifting. When I was taking a swimming class I logged all of my swimming activities at RunningAHEAD. I also keep track of my cycling, though I am not as dedicated of a cyclist as I am a runner.
On the main page of the log, called Summary, there is a snapshot of your recent activities. This is customizable. I have a weekly, monthly and all-time summary on my page. There is also a chart with distance and types of runs I have done for the last month. Since I am mostly interested in my running statistics, all of the summaries are for running, but you can choose your activity. There are several other available widgets you can use on your summary page.
The Calendar tab keeps track of your different activities and displays them in a summary at the end of the week. You can hover your mouse over each entry on the calendar to show the data that you entered into your log for that run. The Workouts tab gives a summary of each workout in a list.
With RunningAHEAD it is easy to keep track of your shoes, bikes and any other equipment you want to track. This is done in the Equipment tab. Using this feature you can know how many miles you have on each pair of shoes. You can list your bikes to keep track of separate miles that you have ridden on each one. There is also a place to put in the price you paid for your equipment. There is a constantly updated total of how much you paid per mile for your equipment. After you have several pairs of running shoes you can start to see which shoes are most cost effective. You can even keep notes on your thoughts on each pair so you can know which ones you should never buy again, or which ones were the best shoes you ever owned.
The Courses tab allows you to create and save maps of different running routes that you use. When you enter the log information for individual runs you can select the course from a drop down box which keeps you from having to remember the route distance or measure it each time you want to run that course.
A big advantage of an online running log over a paper log is the ability to quickly find your best times for each distance. RunningAHEAD has a Personal Records tab that automatically keeps track of your best performances at each of your race distances.
The Reports tab lets you create reports on any data point you have stored in your log. The reports are sometimes hard to figure out, but there is almost always someone in the forums who can talk you through getting the data you want out of your running log.
The final three tabs are Messages, Tools and Settings. Users can send private messages to one another either through the forum or from the log itself. You use the Tools tab to import and export your log data. There are also widgets you can get to automatically display your running log information on your website. Finally, the Settings tab is where you change or update your user information.
When you get ready to log a run, you are able to store several data points. You are not required to input data into every field if you want to use it as a simple log. However, if you do choose to keep track of the weather and your heart rate, there are dedicated sections for those data markers as well as weight and general thoughts about each run.
Of course there are places to log date, distance and time. You can also track which pair of shoes you were wearing for each run. If you create running routes using the mapping feature in the Resources section of the website, you can choose the course you ran from a drop down list. It makes entering the run details very easy.
The rest of the log tracks weather, health and general feelings about the run. If this workout was a race, you can input the number of entrants in total as well as how many were in your age group. Then you can record your placement overall and for the age group. When running intervals, there is a section of the running log that lets you input your running and recovery times separately and then keeps a mileage total for the whole workout.
There is an Additional Info section of the running log where you can write any notes you have about the run or race. If you write a blog post about the run, or there is a website associated with the race that this log entry is for, you can put in the URL of the blog post or event. When you look through your log in the future you can quickly find the web content associated with that log entry.
RunningAHEAD Running Log Review Summary
I have been using the RunningAHEAD log for a few years. I am pleased with the service I have gotten from the man who runs the website. I have not been as active in the community for about 2 years as I once was. When I first started I was still learning how the site worked and spent a lot of time in the forums. The community was mostly friendly and helpful. There are always a few people that you learn to ignore in forums.
There are many other features to the website. I tried to focus on just the running log portion. Be sure to check out the website by visiting my running log. While I have my log publicly viewable, you can choose to share yours with friends via a password, or not share it at all. After looking around at my log, sign up and become a RunningAHEAD user.
The running log at RunningAHEAD has become an invaluable tool for my running activities. I use the website several times a week and think it is a great resource for anyone looking for an online running log.