Logbook Keeping

I started to run in January 2018. At the time I had started, I did not know much about running. I did not know how I will attain my running goal. I had set my running goal to run 1800 kms.

I did not have a running watch then to monitor my runs. I did not even know about the existence of the various apps available our mobile phones. I had started to use the mobile phone app, “Google Fit” only by October 2018. I got my smart watch from Garmin only in January 2019. So, How did I track my goal before the mobile app and the running watch arrived in my life?

I had a manual system of counting my runs. I would come back from runs and note it down in my diary. Every day. I was maintaining my logbook.

This one habit of manual bookkeeping has taught me a very valuable lesson in life. Measure what you want to change and Keep a Record of it. And this is possible by keeping a logbook for the same.

I would come back from the runs and login to my notebook the distance and the time I ran that day. This way I could see how much I had run for the day, for the week, for the month, and for the year so far. Sometimes, I would sit with the logbook in my hand and look at those numbers. I noticed that I could see a trend in them.

This would motivate me for giving my best shot for the ensuing tomorrow. I would get the whole mind to focus on the numbers to add up by a given timeframe. Like, I remember, I had divided my 1800 into 12 equal months and had allocated my monthly target at 150 km. Though, nothing went as planned. The progress was highly uneven.

But, my numbers added up and I was able to hit the magical figure of 1800 km by mid of December 2018.

After the successful application of maitaning a logbook of my runs, I have now this habit of converting my goals into number and keeping a tab on them through a daily logbook.

It helps a ton. When you see your progress in Quantifiable terms, you know exactly where you stand. You can look at the series of numbers and find your trend. You would even predict which way you are moving: towards the goals or away from it!

Daily keeping of data brings FOCUS towards the goals. You get to visit and revisit your goals. Your mind starts to see the vision and starts to gain clarity. So, you then start to find ways and means to concentrate on the goal better. Had I not myself that I will run 1800 km, I would failed myself by a big margin.

When you know your stats, you become a person who can see the flaws. I am of the opinion that the best way to bring a positive change in our lives is through Self-Reflection. And seeing your daily numbers leads to Self Reflection.

I now have a good smart watch now to record my data of running and throw up wonderful analysis from time to time. But, the good old habit of keeping a daily habits has not stopped. It has infact progressed and moved to helping me in my other areas of life. I now have a log for my sleep time, my wake up time, my daily intake of foods, my sleep hours etc. This is one million dollar habit that has brought a change a transformative change in my life. And I am sure, it would do the wonders to you too.

Before you do it, let me help you with the few tips:

First and foremost, please don’t get consumed by the data. It is ok if you don’t make the desired cuts. For example, if you had a target of running 100 km for the month, and you ended up running 90 km. Give yourself a BIG Thumbs Up and tell yourself that you completed 90% of your target. Please don’t crib on the unfinished 10%.

Keep your log simple. Don’t stuff too much data into your logbook. You would be better off buying a smartwatch for that. Your logbook should be able to contain 2 – 3 parameters. Like, I would keep the log of only 2 parameters. The distance I ran and the time I took. But, I would ignore my pace, my splits blah, blah. The fewer parameters you have, the more pointed your focus would be.

Be Consistent with your logging. Do it diligently and on a daily basis. Don’t tell yourself that you will do it tomorrow. Don’t give a reason like you are running short of time. Do it once in a day. That would be enough. But, do it every day.

So, this is how you find the golden nuggets of wisdom while running. Do let me know in the comments below if you liked what I have shared. I would be deeply interested to know your story too! Keep running and keep sharing.


Run to grow

Recently, I came across an idea called growth mindset. It was one of my insta friends who had read a book on it and put up a insta story.

The book is called mindset, written by Carol Dweck. I googled for more info on the book. There are plenty of pages thst you can find. I was able to find a TED talk.

So, I thought of watching it. It was a great talk. I loved it. As the talk ended, I could see some correlation between the mindset that she talked about and my progression as a runner from 2k to 42k. And therefore, I wanna share some insights here :

She talks about two kinds of mindset.

Fixed mindset and,

Growth mindset.

She says that people who are afraid of failure are those who have fixed mindsets. They can see only two things: pass or failure. When there is an equal probability of failing at something, chances are it will lead to fear and a lot of fear.

On the other hand, there is a different and a more powerful mindset to embrace: growth mindset. It is about looking at the gains despite not making the desired cuts.

When I look at my own journey as a runner in particular, I can see today that I was embracing the growth mindset as a runner.

This mindset became possible for me because I was not focusing on the fruits of running. There was no outside force involved to either prove something to the world or to myself.

I loved the process of running. When I get up in the morning, I was not just interested in running fast and long. I loved the whole process. The rising of the sun, the scenty fresh air of the morning, the vast and quiet roads and the transition from a city to the country sides on weekends.

I felt like running was a complete package for unwinding. And I chugged along as a runner. It never bothered to me if I wanted to run like someone and tell the whold world about it. Never.

I rather loved my habit of showing up on the tracks every day. I loved adding up the kilometers I ran and summed them up. But, I was in no hurry. I had planned my running for the whole year.

Every day came as a learning for me. I went for running with an open mind to simply experience the freedom. Yes, freedom from every thing. No pre conceived notions, no performance anxiety.

When you are free, there is no fear. When there are no expectations, everything that you do is a plus. I found a lot of things to talk about from running.

I started to read a lot of stories of runners, about making improvements but never compared my self with anyone. I have been a sole runner all along.

Don’t expect. Go out and run. Experience the spirit of freedom. With my running, I started to learn and apply new principles to my living.

I found that I could experience the same freedom at work and among the peers. I started to grow.

And I am still growing. I know my limits. They are limitless. I can go on. And currently my mind is set on running a 100 km race. But, without any set expectations. All I am doing is pushing myself to see how far I can go.

And this quest to improve is the only motto, the only goal.

Let me leave you with a quote from the great Indian epic :

Karmanye wadhikarastu,

Maa faleshu kadaachana.

It means, “just do your work, and forget about the fruits. That’s the secret of joy.”