Track your running progress
In order to improve your running and fitness levels, it is important to track your progress diligently and be in touch with how your body feels.
With this, you will be able to reward yourself for the small progress you make and also work on areas in which you are weaker.
Ask yourself these questions:
- Am I running at a faster pace compared to a month ago?
- Have I been keeping up with my training consistently?
- Has my endurance improved? How much longer can I run without stopping for a recovery walk?
- Am I improving on my hill climbs?
- How do I feel after my runs?
- Keeping a training log is one of the best ways to track your progress and stay motivated.
Some data to note would be the distance covered, running pace and a small section to record your effort and how you feel about the run.
Referring to past data will remind you of how much you have accomplished and whether you are on track to achieving your goal.
Here are some ways to track your running progress:
USE A FIXED DISTANCE
Keeping track of your timing over a fixed distance (ideally set up a base training route as your test) would be the most direct and easiest way to track your progress.
Ideally, the start and end points should be consistent for every one of these runs and it would be good to run around the same time of the day to minimise variables which may affect the results.
USE A FIXED TIME
Alternatively, you may track the distance you run in a fixed duration (for example, running for 30 minutes).
However, keep in mind that the data from our GPS devices may not be the most accurate due to dead spots.
Therefore, running on a track would definitely be ideal in obtaining a more accurate measurement of the mileage clocked within the set duration.
MONITOR YOUR EFFORTS
Taking note of how much effort you require to perform a similar workout at different times would be another indicator to gauge your progress. As your fitness improves and you become stronger, running at the same pace as before will feel easier.
By identifying the differences in how you feel and how your body reacts during and after the workouts, you will be able to track your progress easily.
Some indicators you can use from your workouts would be your average heart rate, breathing pattern, as well as muscle-fatigue levels. As most smart watches (and all step trackers from the Health Promotion Board) are equipped with a heart-rate monitor, it is easy to use this data to track your progress.
If you are monitoring your heart rate, it is best to monitor it over a period of time.
A reduction in average heart rate over time for workouts of similar intensity indicates that your overall fitness has improved and your cardiovascular system is stronger.
However, an important note to keep in mind is that there can be other factors, such as adequate rest and hydration, that could possibly affect your average heart rate reading.