To log or not to log

By Fred Deckert

To log or not to log? Running is an activity that lends itself well to documentation. My running logs go back many years, some in small notebooks, some in old diaries, etc. I don’t believe I’ve ever used a formal running logbook. But, those books contain a treasury of experiences. I used to write the distances and times, and comments regarding races etc. Sometimes I even drew a tiny smiley or frowney face following the entry to denote my feelings about the run that day. I have since dropped the times since they got too depressing, now I just enter them for races. Many logging addicts feel it’s not productive to list your times on training runs since it tends to pressure you to perform instead of train.

Regardless of your personal viewpoint, running logs or journals can be very informative, I’ve looked back in mine to see when a particular event occurred, like “when did I have that pulled calf muscle, and how long did it take before I ran again?” My wife Margarete constantly goes back to hers to settle an argument or add up her yearly mileage totals and number of races run. Neither of us are the diary keeping type so it’s hard to understand why this habit has become so addictive.

I have no idea how widespread the habit of chronicling your running activity is, but in casual conversation I hear “In my running log, etc.” from running acquaintances. For really serious competitors the logbook is almost a vital necessity in order to track what worked and what didn’t in the running program. Another oddity relates to the need to run in order to have something to write down! This happens more often than you might think. In fact I wouldn’t be surprised if it led to the phenomenon or “running streaks” where the runner prides him/herself in not missing a day. An outstanding example of streaking is Ron Hill, former Boston Marathon winner and 3 time Olympian. Hill, at age 63 has a 37 year streak of never missing a day! His minimum is one mile per day. He even ran? a mile after foot surgery with the aid of walking sticks. This kind of behavior seems a bit obsessive to me, but I bet he keeps a log!

For practicing loggers or new ones, Gulf Winds Track Club has produced a 2002 Running Journal featuring pictures of local runners and races. Proceeds will go to a fund to aid and promote local running, especially younger runners. They may be obtained from Myrna Hoover 926-5332 or David Yon 668-2236 or 425-1612.