Why Should I Track My Runs? The Science Behind Fitness Tracking
From beginners to marathon runners, we believe everyone should be tracking their runs and workouts and we are here to tell you how and why.Â
Before discussing why you should be tracking your runs, we first want to explain how to do so on any budget.Â
Define your goals
As a runner, it is easy to push yourself too hard or not do enough. So how can you motivate yourself to stay on track with fitness goals?
Setting tangible fitness goals which are personalised for you are super important. It is important to pace yourself, especially in the beginning, so you don’t over-do it and lose motivation. Gradually adjust your fitness goals over time, as your ability improves.Â
Running is a type of exercise which really benefits from tracking. Every runner’s individual goals will be different, whether it be to run at a faster pace, be able to run longer distances, or improve cadence, they are unique to you. Whatever you goals are, make note of them. By defining your goals and writing them down, it allows you to be more accountable. Your goals may transform and change over time, especially as your ability improves and you meet initially set goals.Â
Over time, you will see your progress start to take shape and you can start ticking off your goals.Â
We have also listed some free apps down below. No matter if you are a casual runner or a marathon runner, these apps are handy for everyone.Â
Get tech savvy with running apps
So now that you have your clearly defined goals set, you might be thinking ‘how do I track my run?’. There are numerous running apps available for you to track your runs and your progress, and most of them sync perfectly with running watches. Here are a list of the best running apps on the App Store (iPhone and Android) to allow you to track your run.Â
1 – Strava
We enjoy Strava’s community feel. This app allows you to share and compare your running apps with others on the app. You can also create groups with your friends and work peers to organise competitions and encourage each other.Â
If you aren’t someone who likes the competitive side don’t worry! This app also has the basics for tracking your distance, speed and current location at all times.Â
Alongside the free version, there is also a paid one called Strava Summit, which included additions such as a map with new route suggestions.Â
2 – Runkeeper
A super popular app with runners, this app can also be used for cyclists and hikers. This app can record your pace, distance, calories burned and exercise time. The app is easy to use, including accessing the information from past runs.Â
3 – Nike Run Club
This app is the best app to connect to your Apple Watch, as it is only designed for the Apple Watch. It is free to use, and comes with guided runs with Headspace. You can connect your Spotify or Apple Music to your app and curate your perfect running playlist. Perfect for those who love accompanying their runs with music!
4 – MapMyRun
This app comes with real-time coaching, and a way to track when you might need to buy new running shoes. This is exceptionally handy, as it provides you with a reminder if your current shoes are getting to worn down and if its time for a fresh pair!Â
5 – Google Maps
Google Maps might be the most simple of them all and it is the most accessible. You can track your runs through your Google account and create your own running routes.Â
If you want to purchase a running watch and elevate your tracking experience, we recommend Coros watches. Watches are great for tracking your runs, hikes, cycles and swims at all times. Coros watches are lightweight and have a great battery life. These watches will learn and analyse your workouts, heart rate and distances, providing you with an up to date and accurate analysis of your progress.
Coros watch features
These innovative watches come with a range of feature and abilities, including;
- Built in thermometer
- GPS navigation
- Accurate GPS distance tracking
- Heart rate tracker
- Fatigue and recovery metrics
- Stride length
- Ground time
- Multisport tracking
- & lots more!*
*Individual features and capabilities depend on the watch model.Â
Tracking watches are a great investment for your overall health, as they also track your daily steps. This acts as a reminder to keep you moving, which can be especially helpful if you work in a more sedentary desk job.Â
Why should I track my runs?
By tracking your runs you can see when you’ve run further, faster or more efficiently. You can run the same distance for 20 minutes a day and start analysing how you feel after each run. You may notice that over time, you feel less fatigued, your recovery time is faster, and the runs themselves feel less strenuous. As your stamina improves, you may feel more inclined to add more challenging aspects to your daily runs, whether that be increasing your distance, or running on a different incline, such as uphill.
Check out our previous blog about running uphill, and find out why that is crucial to add to all runners’ routines.Â
If you are a new runner, you will find the most benefit from tracking your runs. You will see the most improvements in your early days, and this will motivate you to continue on your running journey.Â
How do I stay on track with my fitness goals?
Most watches and apps allow you to set goals daily, weekly, or monthly. This will keep you well on track and allow you to have a realistic routine in place. Your watch/app can let you know what parts of your fitness journey you are improving on and what parts are in need of a bit more effort.Â
The psychology behind tracking your runs
As human beings we are always looking for patterns in life, and tracking your progress across is an example of this.
During your time at school and university, you may track your progress via academic achievements, such as your grades. In the context of exercise, including running, we have the ability to set individualised goals. This may include how many times we exercise per week, and for runners, we may track our pace, distance and running times. Intangibly, we also may make note of how we feel over time; do we feel stronger? More energised? These are also measures of progress that are important to keep us going on our exercise journeys.
If you are getting serious about running, it is handy to create a table or spreadsheet where you can insert data from each run, and allow you to see your progress over time. You can include whatever statistics are most important to you, whether it be pace, cadence, distance, time or terrain type. Many apps also have inbuilt features to do this in real time as well.Â
Tracking your runs is crucial to your goals. By setting yourself larger overall goals, and supplementing these with smaller goals, you are encouraging yourself to keep going and you will start to see real progress.
Motivate yourself by treating your body with delicious, balanced meals and snacks. Go easy on your body and listen to its needs, this includes rest and recovery days. It can be easy to fall into a space where you’re seeing so much change you don’t want to stop, but remember to take breaks, your body deserves time to process the changes, and recover in its own time.Â
Pure Running is your ultimate one-stop shop for all things running. Stop by and check out our collections of running shoes, running headphones and Coros watches. Be comfortable, stylish and efficient, and join the Pure Running family today!