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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Friday, September 5, 2003

Running diary can be invaluable training tool

By Jonathan Lyau
Special to The Advertiser

Jonathan Lyau has run 61,809 miles in 8,675 days since he began logging his workouts in 1979.

Photo illustration by Jon Orque The Honolulu Advertiser

After every run, I always make sure I enter my workout detail into my running log.

I have read countless running articles and books, and attended seminars throughout my 24 years of running, but I consider my log as my most important resource.

It has become a personal history of my running career where valuable information has been gathered, and I use a lot of this information for my current training.

It all started on Sept. 10, 1979 when my high school cross country coach gave us a sheet of paper to fill in our daily mileage.

I continued to do this for almost a year until I came across a blank training log form that had space to fill in other information besides miles run.

I began to log other information such as workout details, race times and splits, and what shoes I wore. I also began to make various calculations such total weekly, yearly, and career miles run.

Today I can tell you that I have run 61,809 miles on the 8,675th day since I started running. I can also tell you that I have run 320 miles in my Nike Skylons.

Content valuable

It is the content of my log that has become so important to my running. I will go through various entries that a log can include and how it could help you in the future.

If there is only one thing that you want to write in a log, it should be your miles run for the day.

At the end of your week, you can add up your daily miles. This information will be valuable to you because it can tell you exactly how many miles and length of time it took you to get to a certain fitness level.

If you get injured, it also can give you a hint on if it was the result of too aggressive training.

Workout detail will give you more information. It can include what type of workouts you run, such as an easy-paced or hard-paced run, whether you did a hill workout, speed workout, etc. If you do a workout that you time yourself such as an interval session, write down your split times and rest periods. Workout detail can also include where you ran, what time of day you ran, who you ran with, what the weather was like, and how you felt.

Finding your running groove

All of this information can give you a more precise way of telling you what it took to get to that fitness level as compared to just logging daily mileage.

Other content that can be included in your log can be your daily weight, morning pulse and what shoes you wore.

This can be important because a higher than normal pulse could indicate whether you have been overtraining, and keeping track of how many miles you have run in a pair of shoes can tell you when it is time to change shoes.

If you have a higher than normal pulse on a regular basis, then it may be time to back off a little on the running.

Injury awareness

If you start feeling aches in places that you normally don't and you have high-mileage wear on your shoes, then it may be time to get a new pair. These little bits of information can help fine-tune your training.

Workout detail and mileage is where I get most of my useful information. It tells me how I was able to get into a certain condition and the time period it took. To this day, I will look back and emulate a training pattern that has worked for me in the past. It can take the guessing game out of training because this training pattern is personalized from past history.

Your log will become more individualized throughout the years. Initially, you may want to include as much information as possible, and as your training and racing progress, you will figure out what data is important and what is not. By looking at the information in your log, it can remind you what affects you in a positive or negative way, and it can prevent you from making training mistakes.

Who would have thought that one small entry of 4 miles 24 years ago would be the start of the most valuable training resource that I have. Not only that, it has also become a very interesting history book. Having something like this will help your training, too.

Jonathan Lyau, a longtime runner in Hawai'i, will occasionally contribute running articles to The Advertiser.