Simplifying My Running Logs

A few days ago, I wrote a post about Simplifying My Running.

Yeah, something that I seem to attempt to do every few years, but this time when I wrote my post it felt a little different from all those times before. I have a feeling that a lot of it is being driven by the after-math of my brother-in-law’s death and subsequent efforts to deal with the estate stuff.

I learned that life needs to be enjoyed, lived and every once in a while we need to look at how we are doing things in our lives. As a part of this I am looking where I will be going with my running over the next month.

While I am still formulating and letting things percolate on what I want from my running going forward beyond continuing to run. I have some ideas, thoughts and an inkling of a few things, but I am not quite ready to write about them yet. I am kind of doing the Chi Running – Running Assessment exercise, with other variables added in, so we will see where that ends up.

However, when I wrote that post about simplifying my running, I identified a BUNCH of stuff that I can do right now.

First up is how I can streamline, simplify and make the process of logging my running a LOT easier on myself.

Running Logs

How many running logs do I really need?

  • 2+1

is the answer I came up with.

I only need one online place to act as a repository for my GPS data, then I have this blog and my spreadsheet. I suppose that I could really get rid of the spreadsheet and blog and move completely to Garmin or Strava. However, even though I might own my own data, there is no guarantees of it being where I want to be, when I want it. I gotta admit it would be easier in the long run and my blog would get just about the same number of hits daily :-).

Pen and Paper

In the direction I am going, I don’t really want or need a Pen and Paper running log, it is just one more thing to keep up with. I enjoyed the writing things down at first and I really believe that it helped me think about what I was doing and accomplishing by moving to Chi Running.

However, for me it is not something that I want to do long-term, I prefer an electronic running log over a written log. It came down to personal preference and/or getting rid of my blog – I’ll keep my blogging going for a while longer.

Blog

Speaking of the blog, it is my running log narrative and really has been for a while now. Over the past few months I have purposely reduced the amount of data that I include in my RunLog blog posts.

So, unless I do something spectacular or have a race that I want to capture how I did – don’t expect to be overwhelmed with stats about my runs.

My blog is where I get to tell the story of my running (among other things that interest me or do affect my running). That is what I am going to focus more on going forward, the story of my running – the story of an Aging Runnah.

Not that it is going to ever hit the big time, but it will keep me out of trouble and keep my writing skills somewhat reasonable, since I don’t have another outlet for my limited creative side.

Spreadsheet

The one thing that I have maintained consistently since 2011 is my RunLog spreadsheet. All the different blogs, online running logs, databases, paper based running logs that I have started, used and eventually discarded. My RunLog spreadsheet has been there, through multiple focus changes, different spreadsheet styles/software or apps, loosing/gaining data fields and repeat the cycle numerous times over those years.

It has been about the only thing in my running that has been a constant.

Data Capture is what spreadsheets are great at, but I was keeping my RunLog spreadsheet up in Google, Gnumeric and Excel. Now that I am going back to the Apple silo, I have to get reacquainted  with Numbers again. Which I have done by putting together my 2018 RunLog spreadsheet.

After I wrote that Simplifying things post, I got to thinking about all the spreadsheets I have wandering around in different places and realized that if I am going to move to Numbers – just do it. So I did.

At the same time I got rid of a bunch of columns that didn’t really add much to what I want to capture and I am still thinking seriously about getting rid of the description column, since that is what I do in my blog.

Data that is what the spreadsheet should be all about, to help me identify trends with graphs, charts, totals and averages. Plus believe it or not I do enjoy using and playing around with the data in the spreadsheet – it makes for some interesting observations about my running at times.

I’ll keep it.

Online Running Logs

I have an account and have at some point or other tried just about all of them. Over the past year I have cut it down to Garmin and Strava, which has helped a lot. However, do I really need them both? I am not crazy about the Garmin interface (it sucks), but I need it to upload my GPS data, to populate Strava, which in my opinion is a better online running log.

However, I don’t really use either one for much of anything – other than going on Strava and checking like or making a pithy comment to someone I know about their run. So I have deleted my bookmarks to Strava and while I will continue to populate data there I probably won’t do much else there, other than grab an occasional screenshot. After finishing up this post, I will probably go in and delete a bunch of runners off my list of runners that I am following. That way it will have only local runners and a few others – after all I do want to see how some people are doing that I know.

Garmin Connect – I have on my phone to upload to the website and even after going in and attempting to customize the website, it just doesn’t do anything for me. I will have data there and if I need something in particular I will use it. Otherwise, it will just be a repository for GPS data, which I do like having available – just in case someone does have a question about my running..

The reality is that

I like my blog and writing about my running here, it gives me a long form writing format to get thoughts out of my head – as long as I stay in one place long enough for people to find me. I also like the idea of keeping my own spreadsheet, which allows me to add or delete data columns as my interests or needs change, without having to stay within the limitations of someone else’s running log.

The need for Garmin is simply because I am tied to their silo, by having three Garmin GPS watches and really do not need all the other online logs that don’t really add a lot to my running experience or what I want to track in my running. Although I might peek at what a few other runners are doing every once in a while on Strava.

There is not anything I am doing here that is really earth-shattering or anything, but it does streamline the logging my runs process. Which had too many moving parts, too many data entry requirements and was becoming too time consuming and cumbersome.

Now I also have a better idea of what part I want for my blog to play in the process and what I data I want/need to keep in my spreadsheet – which is my official running log.

Now to see how it all works out over the next month or so.

3 thoughts on “Simplifying My Running Logs

  1. I used to use a spreadsheet, in the old days. When I started running I had a Timex Ironman watch. Basically a stop watch that also told time!
    I logged all of those runs on a spreadsheet. Between new computers and moving jobs, I thought I had lost some of my early data. Fortunately I found my old data in a zipped file from one of those jobs.
    Most of my data pre 2010 is on a spreadsheet. Since about 2010 it’s all on Garmin.
    Garmin isn’t the best web site and a buddy and I have joked around that we should buy the watch business from Garmin and do it right. Athletic watches are a small part of their business.
    My spreadsheets are much simpler than yours!
    Here’s to simplifying running and life!

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