GEEK ALERT!!! Welcome to the Techno-Geek side of running. Truly, technology can be a blessing to help your running but it can become a curse if you rely on it too much–you’re not “running free” if you are too tied to technology! For now, let’s focus on the positives: how can technology help you in improving your runs? Particularly, how in the world can one keep track of 25+ years of racing and track your PR’s? And do you really have to even write them down on paper anymore? For me, I use a Garmin 410 Forerunner watch, linked to GarminConnect as my primary tracker. (That only goes back a few years, though.) RunKeeper is my backup. But what about all the old races from way back when? It’s much tougher to keep track of those.
Fitness friends told me that there is a free website called athlinks.com which can collect your race results for you. You just create a profile and it shows you potential race results for you. Some will be for other runners with names that might be phonetically close to yours so you must verify or disaggregate the data and check the results that look like yours (your age when you ran them is a good hint). This was a surprise to me, never heard of it. So I tried it. WOW! In minutes, athlinks located 16 races for me (8 of my marathons), dating back to my 1989 Dallas White Rock Marathon (P.R.). Unfortunately, I had to feed the website my 1988 Dallas Marathon results with a weblink. No big deal. I manually entered that one and sent athlinks.com the weblink to the ’88 Dallas race PDF.
So I poked around athlinks.com a little more to discover my 5K PR was faster than I thought (23:14 from 2005). I ran within a minute of that this week so I have some work to do to break that one. Maybe I ran faster than that in high school cross-country but I didn’t keep any of those results. I think I found my 10k P.R. in athlinks.net. With my preference for full marathons, I never really kept track of half-marathons much but with athlinks.net, now I can.
I’m thinking of retyping the athlinks.com results into Evernote (wonderful iPad app). I could use Excel too but I link Evernote so much better and it’s free. Or should I use athlinks.com as my master list if I can get it complete enough?
So my plan is to use my printout from Lincoln Track Club which itemizes my local running results from the past 20 years and cross-referencing that with athlinks.net. I will send athlinks.com the races they don’t have so I have a more thorough, comprehensive list. I’ll keep a backup on Evernote.
How do you keep track of PRs/race results? On paper? In the cloud? In your brain? Do you think technology for runners is a blessing or a curse and why?
HAPPY TRAILS on your running paths this weekend!