Since I started running mid-2008, I’ve kept logs of pretty much every single run. The problem is that those logs are spread between a slew of different websites: Nikeplus, Buckeyeoutdoors, DailyMile, Training Peaks, and Garmin Connect. Those are just the ones I remember, there might be more. I have yet to find one that satisfies what I’m looking for. TrainingPeaks was the best match, but they are changing their website and a couple of the analysis features that I use seem to be going away with the free version (I primarily used the custom date ranges to show me my mileage over a specific time period). Their paid version has a lot of graphs and charts, but at $129 for a year, it’s just not worth it to me.
What does my ideal training log look like? I want to be able to:
- graph weekly and monthly mileage for running, cycling, etc.
- easily differentiate between commuting miles on the bike and “regular” cycling
- compare my pace/speed throughout the calendar year
- separate out pool swimming from open water swimming from tethered swimming (in my backyard pool)
- see how the pace of my lunch runs changes over the course of a year
- do all of the above for free
The more I thought about it, the more I realized that a (relatively) simple Excel spreadsheet fits exactly what I’m looking for. I can have options for all of the different cycling that I do, all of the different swimming that I hope to do(!), and have an endless supply of graphs and charts by taking advantage of Pivot Tables in Excel.
I figured that there’s no better time to start a new training log system than the beginning of the year. So I sat down and created my ideal spreadsheet. I can always change it later if I find I’m missing items, and I haven’t finished up with all of the graphs, but I can at least log data in the manner I want. Here’s what the main data tab looks like:
All of my runs will be in the same grouping, but I can differentiate what type of run it was. Pace is auto-calculated. Later, I can use a Pivot Table to find my average pace of all lunch runs or how many miles I ran with one of our dogs.
Bike Commuting miles have their own column, and I’ll be interested to see how my speed changes throughout the year (my commuting speed is heavily affected by traffic, but if I have a rolling average, it should be relatively accurate of any long-term trends). I also created a column for regular cycling and another for time spent on the trainer.
I have no good data for my swimming last year, but that’s ok since there really wasn’t much swimming to speak of. But this year I plan on putting a lot more effort into my swim (and I picked up this book to help me with that). I’m sure I’ll be geeking out over my swim data before too long.
I may add some columns for heart rate data (since I almost always run/bike with a heart rate monitor), but I’m still thinking through whether or not I want to go through that work. I don’t think I’d regret it though, since I could easily compare my average January running pace and average heart rate with the same in August. Ok, I just convinced myself that I should add columns for heart rate data. Tomorrow. Maybe. If I have the energy.
Once I’m done tweeking the spreadsheet, I’ll probably throw it up on Google Docs so that I can access it from home, work, and my phone. Probably the biggest benefit I’ll see is that I will now “own” my data. No need to rely on websites and other for-profit services to keep track of my data for me.
What would your ideal training log look like?
Is there something that I’m missing that you think I should include?