Whether you are a competitive runner trying to improve your marathon time or just someone hoping to lose a few pounds and stay in shape, keeping a record of your running training can really improve the results you get. Knowing how much progress you have made can be a great incentive to keep your training consistent and can also help you get faster results while avoiding the pitfalls of overtraining.

There are many ways to track your running progress. In fact, with modern technology you don’t even have to keep track of it manually.

Since most of us are carrying around smartphones these days, this can be one of the easiest methods to log your running. There are many apps available which help turn your smartphone into a GPS tracking device capable of recording your running route as well as your pace and total time spent on the workout.

There is an app called MapMyRun which is very popular. It logs your route, your pace and your total time into an online database. It even helps you find running routes when travelling. You can create and look at graphs of your running progress. DailyMile.com has a similar app and online tracking site. DailyMile also combines a social networking environment which can help with motivation.

For those who don’t want to carry their smartphone along for their run, there are many GPS sports watches available to perform the same functions. These GPS watches often include heart monitors to help you keep your running effort at optimal levels to burn fat or attain cardiovascular fitness. Many of these high tech watches even have smart phone apps and websites to give them greater functionality

There is a huge variety of these types of watches available. Each has slightly different features and functionality. Some of the more popular brands include Garmin, Nike and Polar. Some will even keep up with your running cadence in addition to measuring your route and time and heart rate.

If you do more of your training in the gym rather than on the streets and trails, then these methods won’t be of much use. However, most gym treadmills keep up with the same data. They just don’t record it for you automatically. You can still use the online sites such as DailyMile to log your training and measure your progress. You will just have to input the details manually.

Even when using the high tech methods, you will still need to keep up with other data such as the calories you take in, your weight and your body fat levels. All of these can be important when it comes to analyzing your training. These details may seem unimportant to you when everything is going will, but they will quickly become vital if you get injured and need to track down how it happened so you can prevent yourself from repeating the problem.

In spite of all this high tech focus, don’t forget that you can always just buy a notepad and write things down the old fashioned way. The important thing is that keeping track of your training will help you get the most from it over time.

Editor: Craig Payne