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Track Fitness Progress with a Running Log
Download This Shareware Software, Chart and Analyze Your Workouts
Whether you are just getting into working out as part of a weight loss program as part of your New Years resolutions, already a runner looking to improve your athletic performance, or a serious age-grouper that collects hardware regularly at local 5K races, the key to success is accurate record keeping.
This will allow you to see what is working and what is not. It will also inject a degree of reality into your training program. Informed training stats are very important to keep any athlete or runner not only injury-free, but also progressing toward the racing season and lifetime goals.
The Solution? Use a Fitness Running Log
This really cant be emphasized too highly. If you are a serious runner or triathlete, you are familiar with the the concept of periodization. If you are a nubie, here is the concept in a nutshell – you plan out your target race (or races) and base your training plan on that so that you peak at the right time and remain injury free. Cant do it without records. Period.
This means you need a record-keeping system. And therein lies the rub. There are a lot of fancy commercial software apps out there that will do it for you. There are a lot of running sites that will let you track your fitness and mileage free, but if the site goes away or their server crashes, you lose your history.
Then, there is the free software I use. Its stored on my PC and since I use Carbonite backup, my data is safe.
Shareware Microsoft Excel Log Template
The Dead Runners Society put this free application out there. I originally picked it up on the recommendation of a friend and Ive been using it ever since. It does everything I want and then some. Want a copy of it for yourself?
Heres the download link. Click on the link and select Save as. Its a good idea keep the original and make a copy. Rename the copy and use it for this year. Next January you can make another copy from the original for the new year.
When you first open the spreadsheet, it may ask if you want to enable the macros. Choose yes. The spreadsheet works in Open Office as well as Microsoft Office, but some of the functionality is a bit wonky.
First Things First; Set Up Your Personal Info
Select the Setup tab at the bottom of the spreadsheet and enter your information. Most of the text entry boxes have a small red rectangle in the upper right corner. Hovering your mouse cursor over it will give you detailed information. One nice item is that you can list your various pairs of running shoes and the program keeps up with your mileage on each pair on the log page.
Here are some of the tabs and features:
- Log tab. This is where you enter information on each workout. It calculates the percentage of max heart rate (if you enter your average from the run) and keeps a running total of weekly and monthly mileage.
- Training plan tab. Handy if you plan your workouts in advance or if you set up a marathon training plan.
- Totals per month and totals per week tabs. Pretty charts.
- 30 day and 7 day tabs. More pretty charts.
- Around the world tab. This shows your lifetime accumulation of miles vs the distance around the globe and to the moon. If looking at this wont get you off the couch, nothing will!
- Weight. Enter your daily weight here and it calculates your weight trend and BMI.
- Weight chart. This tab contains a chart with your true weight and daily weight. I had to adjust the vertical axis because Im a wee bit heavier than the max shown. But its all lean muscle mass. Really.
- Races. This is where you record your races in more detail than your daily run.
- Calc. An extremely handy assortment of running specific calculators.
- Setup. We discussed this in the above paragraph.
- Dist graph. This shows your total monthly distance by type of run like easy, intervals, etc.
- Pace graph. Like the Dist graph, but displays pace rather than distance.
- Graphs. Another assortment of graphs to delight in.
- Cycles. Ive got to be honest; I dont use this one at all.
- Parrott predictor. This one is interesting. The assumption is that a runner can run a marathon no faster than he or she runs the fastest 26.2 miles in a week during training. This chart keeps up with your data and makes the prediction so you dont have to do the number-crunching.
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