Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Back to Basics

I'm more or less functioning without pain now, and so I've been assessing my upcoming training and looking back on past cycles.

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? 


  1. I use daily mile to document my mileage. I pretty much run easy most days and push myself when I feel up to it, which is documented in dailymile. Keeping my workout log on my Sunday post helps too for me to see the bigger picture. I think it's important to at least keep a loose journal of some sort to help us stay injury-free (or be smart about coming off an injury!)

    1. I agree! If you have something that can show you that you're feeling/performing a little off and have been for a while, you can see you need to take a breather or back off! I'm also documenting my runs now to keep me from doing too much coming back from my IT band/hip stuff!

  2. I'm all about tracking my milage... not so much pace. Humidity, the workout I did the day before, a lot of extraneous factors can effect our run, so as long as I put forth a strong effort day in and day out at accomplishing my prescribed workout, I am pleased : )

    1. EXACTLY! And that's what I want to get back to! There are SO MANY FACTORS that can make you slower/faster/stronger/weaker on different days, and it's not always fair to compare based on rep numbers or pace. Happy workouts FTW!

  3. Logging and tracking is one of my favorite things to do! I'm very detail oriented, so I love to be able to look back on my training, or even just see how many miles I've gone. If I don't write it down, does it even happen?!?! By the way, loving that funny!!

    1. Hahah, no record --> no workout ;) but yes, I love tracking too! Especially when increasing distances and seeing where you were and where you are now!