When I started to run in January of 2018, I was a novice to the world of running and runners. But, I was very much committed to the cause of running. So much so that I resolved to run 1800 km in a year.
I had no idea how I would ever do that. All I knew was the management lesson that I learned and had started to implement it in every area of my life – Measure what really matters to you. And So I did.
I was yet to get to know the world of running apps and Smart Watches. I did not even know of the various apps available on our mobile phones. So, I had a novel way of metering my runs.
I took my bike and rode it all along the running route. Using the bike meter, I marked the distance at every kilometer. I kept a stone at each 1-kilometer mark. This way, I prepared my natural running route with measurement.
I would calculate my runs using the kilometer marks and note them down in a logbook. I would look at the time available on my mobile phone and record the distance. This somewhat gave me the pace or the speed of my run. But, I was still not looking into that. I was just concerned with the distance of covering 1800 km.
(I had started to use the mobile phone app, “Google Fit” in October 2018. My Garmin Forerunner 35 was still months away. )
How did I track my goals before the mobile app and the running watch arrived in my life?
I had a manual system of keeping a logbook of my runs. I would come back from my run and note it down in the logbook. I divided my logs in months. For each month, I had drawn a few columns. Under each column, I would note down the field data.
Initially, I felt a little awkward about it. What crap am I doing? Who does it? Maybe some people if they got to know this would die laughing at me!
But, in 2018, my intentions were clear. Do whatever you can. You need to come out of our limitations. Break those barriers that have been always stopping you. Let the world laugh at you. If you believe that you are doing something that is making sense to you, then, go behind it with full force.
So, after few weeks, the intention to record my runs in a logbook format turned into a normal activity. It stopped giving me any awkward feeling. Infact, I started to feel so good about it. Whenever I got some time, I would open my log book and look a the numbers.
These numbers gave me so much understanding of myself. They showed my progress. I started to feel them. My mind started to get attuned to the idea of chasing my target of 1800 km runs. I started to take care of my progress.
The habit of manual bookkeeping 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 following day. I would get the whole mind to focus on the numbers to add up by a given timeframe. I had divided my 1800 km in 12 equal months and had allocated my monthly targets at 150 km for each month. Though, It was not always as planned but it did eventually measured up.
Gradually, my numbers added up and I hit the magical figure of 1800 km by before 31st December 2018. Voila!!
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.
a runner, a fitness enthusiast