Even though you’re running for time — not distance, not speed — it’s helpful to know how much ground you’re covering in any given workout.

I need variety and rarely run the same route through my neighborhood, so it’s hard to gauge how far I’ve gone. Other times, I want to make sure pre-run that I’m not going to end up way further from home than I anticipated, leaving a very long cool-down walk.

There are a number of online sites that allow you to map your run. I use the one named, cleverly enough, MapMyRun.

Another reason to know how far you’re running is so that you can see your progress and know when you’re making improvements in distance/speed within your timed workouts. Not to mention having tangible proof you can look at during Week 9 to remind yourself how far you’ve come!

Spiral notebook, spreadsheet or online … where doesn’t really matter. The advantage of online tracking is that most programs will generate all sorts of reports for you to admire about your progress.

The online tracker I use is found at RunningAHEAD (which also has a mapping function). I keep the basics in there to feed data into my blog. However, I also keep a second log with much more data/variables. SportTracks does not have online access, but the program itself is free and can import the data from GPS/heart-rate monitors if you use them during your training.

Even without fancy gadgetry or online access, there are plenty of variables you’ll want to track. In addition to distance and time, think about including the time of day, route conditions (hilly, trail, concrete, treadmill), weather conditions, how you felt physically both before and after, perceived exertion, the shoes you wore (so you know when to replace them), etc.

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