Precise or Round-It-Out Logger

Although I’ve been running a long time, I didn’t start keeping a training log until January 1, 2010, just one month before my daughter was born. I wanted to track my fitness during the end of pregnancy to remember for future pregnancies and to just have something fun to look back on. In the back of my mind I know I also wanted some exercise accountability after giving birth and the running log was sort of like my journal.

running log

My training log, January 2010. I had my daughter the first week in February. For a detailed view, click the picture.

Once I started logging my miles, I was addicted. Then came running with a Garmin. I started by mapping my runs on gmap-pedometer but it was time consuming and I had enough on my plate once my daughter was born. One day I remembered we owned a Garmin that we never used. I instantly fell in love with GPS running and have been obsessed with the thing ever since.

Since I do most of my running alone, my GPS is like my training partner. It tells me when I’m doing well, and when I’m having an off day and need some rest. When the Garmin messes up (very rarely, but it does), it gives me a little chuckle (oh you silly little thing, I know I didn’t just run a 4:30 first mile!) I have definitely become a better runner since using the Garmin and logging my miles.

For me, GPS running and logging miles go hand in hand. Seeing my true mileage build up day by day and adding it to my log makes me want to run more miles. Doing a great workout and seeing the splits reflected on my Garmin makes me want to do another great workout. When I look back at my training log, it makes me feel confident about racing. Seeing my workouts, exactly transferred into my running log, makes me have no doubt as little doubt as possible about my peak race.

I’m what I would call a “precise logger”. I log EXACTLY what my Garmin says, no rounding allowed. For me, rounding is like cheating and it makes me less confident about the work I put in. At the end of a training cycle, I know at least one thing – I did everything in my log. I’m not saying this is the “right” way. I think it has been the right way for me and my personality the past few years. Lately, I’ve been talking with all sorts of runners who are more in the “round-it-out logger” category. They finish a run where Garmin says 5.76 miles and they call it a 6 miler. Initially, this gave me a very uneasy feeling. However, the more people I talk to who do this, (and still run well) the more interested I am in this approach.

So tell me friends, do you log your runs? Use a Garmin? Are you a precise logger or a round-it-out type? Will I ever change my precise logger ways?

14 thoughts on “Precise or Round-It-Out Logger

  1. I use to log my miles as exactly and obsessively as I could. I don’t bother to be that exact anymore. If I run for 45 minutes I just log it as 6 miles even if it might have been 5.8 or 6.2. My speed workouts I do still write up in great detail.

  2. I may “round” a 5.9 to a 6 but haven’t made a jump from a quarter mile. Every once in a while, especially once fall comes round it’s nice to see that per mile time dip on the garmin Nice job!

  3. Hey Jen! I love these little snapshots into your running life. Do you still use the running log calandar with your GPS data? I am actually going through a “running slump” and need some technique to make it a fun again. I love charts and am motivated by the numbers, too. Thanks for sharing!

    • I use my “garmin connect” to see the elevation profile and splits and some of the info automatically connects into my running log (like mile splits). I manually enter any details I want that don’t transfer over. I love looking back at what I did exactly a year ago. It’s so much fun and motivating for me to watch progress (and even slumps!)

  4. Hey Jen! I was precise jogger with my garmin till I did a workout on the track and it was measuring short, and it just added up. It kinda shocked me. It wasn’t by a lot, but with every lap it adds up especially if adds up with every mile.

    • Yes, the garmin is always wrong on the track! I don’t do very many track workouts and when I do I figure “oh well” or I wear the garmin to and from the track and just use a timex and add up laps later when I’m logging.

  5. I used to use nikeplus and log every mile exactly as it said… Then I realized that technology can be wrong, and it gave me more confidence to simply say, “I’m running at 7:30 pace, so I’ve gone 4 miles now.” plus it helps me develop that ‘inner clock’ that helps me to know what pace I’m running without a watch, or gps, or nikeplus thingy. I do like my watch though…

    • Yes, I used to run 30 mins a day and I’d call that 4 miles and I was totally happy with it… now that I’m living in this gps world, I am addicted! Maybe I will go back to my old way of thinking… someday…

  6. I used to be a precise logger. For one bc if my training plan said run 6 miles, that’s exactly what I wanted to run. And second, when I first got a garmin I thought it was the end all. But in the past 6 mos I have become more of a rounder. again for multiple reasons… one being the garmin is not exact and I have run the same route multiple times and have it vary by 1/4 of a mile (15 mile route). second bc being so accurate and precise kinda drove me a little nutty and took the actual fun and enjoyment out of training and it felt too disciplined.
    so now I just log what it says… if I ran 5.98 I do round up to 6. But 5.9 will be 5.9. I mean what’s .1 of a mile short or long in the grand scheme of things of mileage.

    • I’ve considered going completely without a watch for awhile. I have done it on a couple runs but it just gives me an uncomfortable feeling usually! Sometimes it feels so good to just let the garmin go which is why I’m so curious what everyone else does. Thanks for sharing Kristy. I kind of knew what you would say based on our conversations. I think you have a really good perspective on training and are really getting to know yourself and what works. :)

  7. This is great b/c you and I couldn’t be more opposite! I hate Garmins, don’t map my routes out and never round up. I’m very loosey/goosey–I have a good idea of my distances and paces but really have no interest in getting precise about it. It would probably make me a better runner, but I also think that it would take some joy out of it for me. It takes all kinds, right?

  8. Jen~I am addicted to my Garmin too. It is great, especially when on vacation and you are not familiar with loops and their mileage. It can also be a pain in the butt because it lets me know if I’m not running as fast as I should be.

    As far as logging, I log exactly how far I ran…no rounding here! I somehow feel I cheat myself if I don’t. It’s just me…but I’m the same person who has to run to the nearest half mile as well…

    Good post!

    • Haha, I never understood why my brother would run these little loops to get to the exact mile (like 6.00 on his Garmin) until I started running with one. The thing can control us!

  9. Pingback: The Garmin Only Works… | The Local Elite

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