The training plan that I map out for myself and keep on my computer is my running bible. I keep it all in a spreadsheet I designed several years ago, which has now grown to impressive proportions. OK, ready? With it, I track my mileage, the day, date, and time that I ran, what the weather was like, the shoes I wore, my post run weight, my workout times, split times, the location of my run, the type of workout I did, my weekly mileage, my monthly mileage, my annual mileage, and the total miles run since I created the spreadsheet. On a separate tab in the same spreadsheet I also breakdown my monthly totals for each year, and average mileage for each day, month and year.
I've already written a post where I let my possible running shoe fetish out of the closet (as it were). But I also use my training log spreadsheet to track how many miles I've put on each of my shoes, when the shoes were put "into service", and what kind of shoes they were. (When I was trying to recall how many shoes I own for that earlier post, I didn't actually go to the closet to pull them all out, I just opened up my training log to look them up!)
And this is all just my Training Log - I have a whole other, separate Spreadsheet that I constructed for my Racing History! (Just imagine!)
It's hard for me to explain, but the satisfaction I get from plugging numbers into the sheet after a completed workout is a large part of the reason why I get the workout in at all. Unless something major happens, I always run five times a week. I always get my miles in. I always do my tempo run once a week. Why? Well, that's what I plotted in my schedule and I hate having to go back later to log in different numbers.
Back in May, something happened that, in retrospect, kind of spooked me out a little. Right before I went to run the Madison Marathon on Memorial Day (m,m,m,m...), my computer suddenly crashed and died. I was hoping not to have to spend the money on a new machine, and while I was trying to explore repair options, a few weeks passed when I just didn't have a computer; no training log -- And I barely ran at all.
Now, it must also be said that I did run a really strong marathon - I finally broke four hours for the first time - just as my computer crashed. And I was overloaded with work which interrupted the time of day when I normally got my runs in. And I have rarely taken a true rest period after any of my hard marathons or training periods, so maybe it was just time. But it was an odd stretch for me, and it totally coincided with the complete absence of my training log. I did try to keep track with pen and paper in a notebook, but it was never quite the same.
What turned the tide and got me back out on the trails? I finally replaced my computer. I got into the old hard drive and retrieved my training log spreadsheet. I picked a half-marathon to work towards, plotted my schedule and everything returned to normal. I had a moment or two when I genuinely wondered if I could be mildly autistic, but realistically there must be plenty of other runners out there with this same problem, so I must be relatively normal. (Right?)
Now... Wait 'til I tell you about the spreadsheets I've been keeping for 14 years to track my baseball teams and comic book collection! Did I mention the spreadsheet art I once "painted"? (See, not abnormal at all!)