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Track Fitness Progress with a Running Log

Download This Shareware Software, Chart and Analyze Your Workouts

© 2013 ; all rights reserved; content may not be copied, rewritten, or republished without author’s written permission. Author’s Google profile

Use a running log to track your fitness progress; photo courtesy Kelly Smith

Whether you are just getting into working out as part of a weight loss program as part of your New Year’s 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 can’t 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. Can’t 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. It’s stored on my PC and since I use Carbonite backup, my data is safe.

Shareware Microsoft Excel Log Template

The Dead Runner’s Society put this free application out there. I originally picked it up on the recommendation of a friend and I’ve been using it ever since. It does everything I want and then some. Want a copy of it for yourself?

Here’s the download link. Click on the link and select “Save as”. It’s 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:

So, that’s it in a nutshell. Having all your training analyzed is a good thing in itself, but looking at the numbers and graphs is extremely motivational in its own right. And did I mention? It’s a free app!

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