How to Track and Log Your Outside Runs

Runners have many tools at their disposal to measure outdoor runs. These tools are important for recording your distance, pace, and other key factors for the training runs you complete.

Even if you're not training for a race, this data can be helpful. If you keep some type of training log, periodically reviewing this data can help you determine an anticipated finish time for an upcoming race or set pace goals for future races.

It can also help you identify and overcome racing challenges. For example, if you are having difficulty maintaining your normal pace in hot weather, you may want to review your running gear or hydration strategies to see if there is a way to minimize the impact of heat on your performance.

Reviewing your training history can also increase motivation. Runners often go through periods when they feel less motivated or even out of shape. Reviewing your history can help you remember your substantial commitment to the sport and the accomplishments you already have.

How to monitor your runs

There is no shortage of options to track and record performance data. You may find that you prefer one method all the time. Or you can change it depending on where you are running.

Smartphone app

Using a smartphone app is one of the most popular methods of tracking your pace, distance, altitude, and other factors while running. There are numerous applications available and many of them are free. Some apps charge a fee, but allow limited use of the app's services for free. Others may allow a short free trial period.

MapMyRun has a nice distance tracking app that is quite accurate. You can also use it to plot and measure your route before heading out the door. The app and website provide saved routes from other runners in your area. This allows you to navigate various distances and routes to find new routes.

Strava is used by many multisport athletes. The app records your pace (for runners) and speed (for cyclists). The runner gets high marks from runners to measure pace and distance.

Other popular options include Runmeter, Nike Run Club, and Couch to 5K. You can use these running apps solely to measure your running data, or you can take advantage of other features like calorie counting, audio updates, and training programs. You may also want a product to take your phone with you when you are on the go.

GPS watch

If you run away from home frequently, you may want to invest in a GPS running watch. Popular brands include Garmin, Polar, and Fitbit. But keep in mind that not all GPS watches work the same way.

For "GPS connected" running watches, you will need to charge your phone while running to get moving data (such as pace and distance). The Fitbit Versa is an example of a connected GPS watch.

Other watches have built-in GPS. These watches can be a bit bulkier than watches without the feature. Built-in GPS doesn't require you to carry a phone to get data on the go. The Fitbit Ionic, Polar M430 and Garmin Forerunner are watches with built-in GPS.

Most of these watches are quite expensive. When choosing one, consider other features as well. For example, Fitbit Ionic and Versa allow you to download apps like Pandora or a music library so you can listen to music with Bluetooth headphones.

GPS-connected devices, such as Fitbit's Versa Lite and Charge 3, are cheaper. On the more expensive end are watches like the Garmin Forerunner 945, which offers high-tech training and technical resources for runners and triathletes, as well as musical resources.

Running Performance

If you prefer a low-tech approach to monitoring your pace and performance, you can simply track and record your execution times. If you are running on a certified race track, you know that you will complete the exact distance of the race. Based on your time and distance, you can calculate your pace. Also, often your pace (and possibly even your divisions) are listed with your online career results.

Also, most race tracks have mile markers, however they may not always be accurate. Still, you can do mile splits during the race, and if it's a local race, you can run the course in the future on your own and be sure of the distance.

What do split times in the race mean?

Follow-up Time

Many runners train indoors or outdoors. If you sometimes run on a track (at a local school, for example), it's easy to measure your distance. Most trails are 400 meters (about 1/4 mile) and 1 mile equals 1609 meters. This means that four laps and nine meters equals 1 mile, but to make the math easier, most runners only use 400-meter intervals.

Remember that running on a track is different from running on the highway, especially if the track is covered. You experience no variations in pavement, hills, or wind resistance when running on an indoor track. So if you are monitoring your pace to determine your estimated time to finish the race, you may need to make adjustments to account for these differences.


Although it now feels "old school" (with all the available GPS technologies), you can always take a route in your car and measure the mileage with your car's odometer. This method may not give you accurate mileage, especially if you're running on a path or sidewalk rather than the highway, but it's an easy way to see how far you've run. Then, using your arrival time and distance, you can calculate your pace.

How to register your races

Knowing your pace and distance is helpful. But these metrics are more useful if you record them and use the numbers to modify your training. There are different ways to record all the important information about your career.

Location on the Internet network

Most smartphone apps have websites too. When data is collected in your application, it is also stored on the website. Once your account is set up, you can log into the site and view your performance metrics. You can also view your run history and all recent run metrics. Of course, you can also view the data in the app. But often viewing the data on a larger screen is easier to manage.

Most GPS watches also have websites. For example, Fitbit provides users with a dashboard that includes workouts (running and other workouts) along with other data, including weight, food intake, sleep statistics, and other numbers. Polar provides a calendar view with specific running data and information on intensity and recovery recommendations.

Paper Record

For many people, using a paper registry is the most efficient way to record their running data. You don't need a wi-fi connection, phone, or computer to record or view your information. You can use a spiral notebook or other paper journal. You can also get a specific run diary, such as the complete daily runner log.

  1. Set up your charts to easily enter your data. 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.
  2. If you want to keep track of what you are eating, set up a separate column for food and write down what you ate, at what time, and approximately how many calories.
  3. Create separate entries for race results. Be sure to include the name of the race, the date, the distance, the pace, your overall position, and your position in the age group. If you did splits during the race, record them as well.

You can also use a combination of manual and computer-based registration. Use computer software like Microsoft Word or Excel to create simple charts to monitor your progress.

Once you start keeping a training log, periodically check your progress. You will learn how you achieved your goals or understand why you may not be improving as much as you would like. By monitoring your food, you can see what works best for your performance.

Enjoy Watching This Video About Running

Source: The Running Channel

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