I have kept one Excel spreadsheet for many, many years where I collect my training plans for races in different tabs. The evolution of these tabs is enlightening.
My training for my very first half marathon is located in the oldest tab. The cells are color coded to depict running days, cross training days, and rest days. Running days have the mileage number - no pace data, no indication of tempo/interval/recovery/base, zippo. The cross training days show "CT" - I don't know if that day was a cardio cross train (elliptical, bike) or a strength cross train (biceps, triceps, back, shoulders, chest, lower body). I didn't get hurt during the training for this race, and I remember enjoying each workout.
Over the years, that format changed. The first huge jump was made when I started documenting specific cross training. I think that was beneficial; now I'd know when I last did upper body versus lower body to even out my gains. Nobody wants to skip leg day...
Then started the running specifics. I think this is a two-way street. On the one hand, I think it's very important to remember when you do hard workouts and when you do easy workouts. Easy, easy, easy doesn't challenge you, but hard, hard, hard can injure you. The other hand will be discussed further down...
I added the same kind of components to my strength training cells. In addition to "biceps, triceps," I also recorded the number of reps and number of sets for each type of exercise.
In short, my Excel tabs have gone from containing cells that could hold at most 4 characters to containing cells that have novels written in them.
I think this kind of detail can be extremely beneficial if used for good and not evil. Unfortunately, I am a creature of comparison, and if there is past numerical data available, you can bet your ass I'll be
reviewing obsessing over it.
Why was last month's 7 mile base run faster than today's? I did 4 sets of 15 reps of bicep curls yesterday, but I did 5 sets of 17 last week! What gives!?
As my Excel chronicles increased in size, my appreciation of my physical ability diminished.
And that's why I'm going back to basics. The comparison has officially driven me crazy; I'm going to keep some record of what I've been doing but nothing that can give me the means to harass and negatively critique myself. I think the KISS principle applies to me and my Excel sheet - keep it simple, stupid.
What kind of detail do you keep for your running?