Monday, December 23, 2013

Writing, Running, Tracking Both

by Bert Carson
For the past few years I've recorded my runs with a Garmin heart rate monitor watch, with built in GPS.  In addition to the cute little map of the run, I get more stats than you can imagine or that I know what to do with.  For example, the watch records average heart rate, peak heart rate, time and duration of the run, weather, elevation gain and loss, average pace, peak pace, etc. etc.  There's also a place for me to put comments, like, "Why do I do this when I could be sitting in one of the cozy little pubs I just ran past."  That's just an illustration - I don't drink or sit in pubs.  What I do note in the comments section is traffic, which is pretty important since I usually run at night, and how I felt; "strong, fast, smooth," or more often,  this year, "fading, slow, couldn't find the pace."

You might be thinking, 'well, Bert, you're 71, you should be fading, and slow, and off the pace, but that isn't true.  This has been a tough running year because I didn't run enough.  Enough for me is six days a week.  Six times 52 means I should have run 312 times this year.

I ran the run in the illustration at the beginning of the post last Friday evening - it was #126 for the year.  I will, run eight more times this year, giving me a total of 134 runs.  That means I failed to run 178 times.  That's why my speed has gone down the tubes and that's why, in 2013, I've used the words slow, tough, and fading far more than the words, fast and strong.

I love my Garmin watches, and seeing a print out of my runs, but if a running log is going to be an incentive to running it must be more than a collection of illustrated, dated, and numbered sheets of paper.  So, in addition to printing out the stats on each run, I'm going to keep a running journal - it will be a journal with space for every day of the year and I'll make a notation beside each day.   The daily entries will not be elaborate - simply a statement of what I intended to do, what I actually did, and my evaluation of my performance.  At the end of each entry I'll write a cumulative total for the year to date.

As I wrote that last paragraph, I realized I could do the same thing with writing - keep a writing diary, make a daily entry that includes my writing objectives, actual accomplishment, and my thoughts regarding both.  Being a fountain pen addict, I wanted a book that was fountain pen friendly, was compact, and had sufficient page space but not more than I needed.  I found all of that in the Rhodia Meeting Book, available at many online stores - here's the link to the book on one of my favorite sites, JetPens.com - Rhodia Meeting Book at JetPens.Com

I began a trial run of my new tracking method last night.  If you're interested, I'll keep you posted on the results.  If you have suggestions, I'd love to hear them.

Merry Christmas,
Bert