Saturday, February 25, 2017

Tracking Exercise

Since October of 2009, I've yet to go on a run I haven't tracked in SportTracks, a fitness tracking program. SportTracks makes it easy to plug in my Garmin, load the run, and examine fitness statistics like pace, mileage, distance, and locations of runs.

I've done a handful of runs without a watch, but each time I've logged that run manually into SportTracks. One may ask, "Why? What's the benefit of tracking your fitness activities?" The answer is different for everyone.

I like to track my runs for comparison and to see where I'm at fitness-wise. Am I running more or less than I did for a previous marathon training cycle? Am I running faster or slower? How many miles have I run this week, month, or year?

I like to do this, but is it useful? While I think some of the information can be helpful, I probably learn more about my fitness through races than I do comparing mileage or pace from previous training cycles. When I'm aiming for a goal race, I usually schedule one or tune up races before my goal race. If I'm running faster race times, I'm more fit. Slow race times mean I may have to temper my expectations.

I'm toying with the idea of ending tracking my runs after running Grandma's Marathon, but I'm hesitant for a couple of reasons. First, I like looking at how many miles I've run each year. It's not really useful as far as tracking my fitness, but it's interesting.

The other reason I like tracking my runs is knowing how long my shoes are lasting. SportTracks allows me to enter my shoes, so it's interesting to know how many miles I'm getting out of them. Again, this isn't overly useful information--I buy shoes that are comfortable, and while I like them to be durable, it generally doesn't affect my buying decisions.

You may find tracking your exercise helpful, and there are a variety of programs that do it. Here's an article from Runner's World that describes some run tracking apps (along with some other running apps):
I use SportTracks, which I highly recommend:

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