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Best Running Journals in 2021

 

In a digital world, running remains a very physical, grounding thing. There’s no way to cheat when it comes to running, even if you are using the latest gadgets to improve your performance.

In the end, it’s all about your feet hitting the road! Sometimes, the best way to get away from the screen is to put your running shoes on and log some miles.

GPS watches and fitness apps have made tracking run data frictionless. But there’s something to be said for picking up a pencil and paper and writing things down yourself. Without getting into the psychology of it, writing things down makes you pay more attention to the info.

In the running world, this means a running journal. If you’re looking for a tangible, physical way to record your data, consider buying one of the best running journals on the market.

The upside of tech, apart from the array of fascinating gadgets, is that we can record and store our running metrics and data online. We have quick, easy access to all the information we need, and can compare it to yesterday and last month at a glance.

But, for some of us, this is a cold, clinical way of doing it. If you’re the type of runner who likes the feeling of grabbing a pen and physically writing down your goals, your data, and your feelings, then an old-school paper running journal could be for you.

Our favorite is the Believe Training Journal. It’s undated, so you can start at any time of the year without wasting space. It includes room for setting intentions, which can help immensely with reaching goals. And it’s packed with useful practical tools to actually make you a better runner.

Let’s dive in and check out the full list!

Top 3 Best and Favourites

 

Believe Training Journal

 

  • Functional but stylish design
  • Undated pages set in monthly sections
  • Interactive and practical
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Gone For a Run Running Journal

 

  • Organized and simple logbook
  • 280 training log entries
  • Weekly and monthly mileage summary
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The Complete Runner’s Day-By-Day Log Calendar

 

  • Space for monthly and weekly planning
  • Practical running tips throughout
  • Dedicated space to record races
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Best Overall

1. Believe Training Journal

Don’t think a paper journal is going to be boring. The Believe Journal was designed to provide inspiration on every page, and some of that inspiration requires you to take part by filling in goals, intentions, or worksheets for taking action in your own life.

Basically, this isn’t just somewhere for you to write stuff. It’s an interactional kind of thing – they give you information, motivation, and nudges, and you respond by filling your journal with good stuff and kicking butt on the road.

One of the best things about this journal is that it’s undated. If you decide to start a new running program mid-June, you don’t waste half a year’s worth of paper and space!

Every monthly section begins with an essay on a sport-related topic. Some essay topics include body image, mindset, and nutrition. Each is followed by a worksheet to establish related goals.

Something we like a lot about this journal is that it provides plenty of space to record your physical training data, but it also gives you space to work on your mindset, like the prompt to set intentions.

Weekly quotes remind you why you’re doing this and that you’re tough enough to push forward.

As if that’s not enough, you’ll also find practical tools like running workouts, pace charts, race-day resources, psychological skill-building, core workouts, and a post-run recovery yoga program.

So much more than just a journal!

PROS:

  • Functional but stylish design
  • Undated pages set in monthly sections
  • Interactive and practical
  • Includes core routine and post-run yoga poses

CONS:

  • May be too much for someone looking for a simple data recording journal
 

Top Day By Day Run Planner

2. Gone For a Run Running Journal

Runners who find the Believe journal to be overly complicated or overwhelming might prefer the Gone For a Run Running Journal.

It’s much more to-the-point and allows you space to jot down your goals, record your daily data, and take notes on specific races.

This journal was designed by runners looking for an organized way to record the important data from their runs.

Each page sports a quote about running that you can contemplate throughout your day. There are two sections on each page for recording your daily run metrics, including the date, the weather, the route you took, your distance, and your pace.

As well as your daily notes, you’ll find a page for goals, a weekly and monthly mileage summary, a log for race information and data, and a Bucket List page. You’ll also find a race registration log, which is very helpful for keeping track if you tend to register for races in advance.

PROS:

  • Organized and simple logbook
  • 280 training log entries
  • Weekly and monthly mileage summary
  • Running Bucket List page

CONS:

  • The section for route notes could be larger
 

Best Spiral-Bound Running Log

3. The Complete Runner’s Day-By-Day Log Calendar

Some runners might prefer a spiral-bound book, as it’s slightly more robust than a purely paperback journal. The binding makes it easier to turn pages without damaging the book.

This 6-inch by 9-inch journal is another fairly simple one. It’s packed with tips, tricks, quotes, monthly essays, and full-color photographs to inspire the user.

You’ll find a compact space for every day to record the time you went running, the distance, where you were, and any notes you may need to pencil in.

There’s space for weekly and monthly planning, so you can see the bigger picture, and not just day-by-day.

It also offers a place to record races and a fun bar graph of your weekly mileage.

PROS:

  • Space for monthly and weekly planning
  • Practical running tips throughout
  • Dedicated space to record races
  • Monthly essays

CONS:

  • A dated journal means you lose space if you start during the year
 

Best for Racing

4. COMPETE Training Journal

Preparation is key! Whether you’re training or running a race, if you aren’t prepared for it, you won’t perform as well as you could with a bit of pre-work behind you.

That’s what this journal is about – preparation for race day.

This journal was created by the same runners who came up with our top product, the Believe Journal. This one, though, is specifically made for preparing for races.

It’s suitable for both beginners and experienced runners. Newbies will find a great foundation for success in this journal, and seasoned runners will be able to work on their mindset to improve their performance.

Goal setting is one of the things that the journal focuses on. Not only do you set your goals, but you map them out in easy-to-follow steps, which makes them less intimidating and easier to achieve.

Other things you’ll find yourself doing as you make your way through the journal include setting intelligent racing strategies, learning to relax and use intention to your training advantage, learning how to get “in the zone”, finding value in the process, releasing harmful obsessions with the outcome, and playing to your strengths.

Each journal has space for two seasons worth of racing data. You’ll find useful tools like racing plans, a race calendar, and pace charts for races from 200 meters to a marathon.

PROS:

  • Includes race plans and a race calendar
  • Goal setting and mapping
  • Workout log for two seasons of racing
  • Includes pace charts

CONS:

  • May be overwhelming for new runners who aren’t ready to race yet
 

Best with 5 and 10k Training Plans

5. Runner’s World Training Journal

Runner’s World is well-known for motivating runners of all fitness levels to do better and run further, so it makes sense that their training journal would be a good one!

In one journal you can track a year’s worth of runs. You can use the space within to jot down your daily route, your distance, and what time you ran, as well as any notes about the run. There’s also space for notes about cross-training.

While you’re filling in your data, you’ll see weekly info bombs on important topics like nutrition, recovery, and injury prevention.

If you’re a visual kind of person, the full-color photos throughout will help to spur you on to reach your goals.

One feature we particularly like is the advice on how to analyze the data you’ve recorded in your journal and use it to set goals for the following year.

When you buy this journal, you’ll also get access to Runner’s World’s 5k and 10k training plans. If one of those races is your goal, this journal would be worth the buy for the professional-standard plan.

PROS:

  • One year’s worth of tracking
  • Advice and tips for running-related topics
  • Helps runners analyze their data
  • Has a Week-at-a-Glance feature

CONS:

  • Marathon runners or sprinters may not get as much value out of this journal
 

Most Colorful

6. The 365-Day Running Journal

It may sound strange to qualify this as the most colorful journal, but for the more creative runners out there, a black and white type of journal may become boring after a while.

This journal is bright and bold. Its modern design makes it feel less like you’re tracking data and more like you’re creating something beautiful and unique.

It’s also undated, so if you only start in February, you don’t have to worry about wasting a month’s worth of space.

A monthly motivational essay reminds you why you do this in the first place, and gives advice on all things running, including nutrition, mindset, and correct running form.

There’s space for you to record all the important things about your run, including some specifics that other journals don’t have, like workout nutrition, and aches and pains.

PROS:

  • Modern, bold design
  • Undated pages
  • Includes practical tips to improve performance
  • Dedicated space for personal records and goal setting

CONS:

  • Runners with large handwriting may find it hard to fit everything in
 

Best Small Form Journal

7. Journals Unlimited “Write it Down!” Runner’s Journal

If it’s easier for you to carry a mini journal with you to quickly jot down your run details, this 3-inch x 5.5-inch book would be perfect.

One page equals one run, and there’s space for you to take notes on your route, the shoes you wore, how many calories you burned, and even if you have company on the run.

The reverse sides of pages have space for more detailed notes and goals, PBs, and anything else that doesn’t have a dedicated space.

For the environmentally-conscious, this journal is printed on recycled pages using soy-based ink.

The downside is that there are only a little more than 2 months worth of pages, so this could be a good option for runners who don’t run every day. If you do run daily, you’ll need to buy a new one every few months.

PROS:

  • Guided journal, easy to use
  • Small enough to carry around
  • Keeps track of interesting details
  • Hardcover

CONS:

  • Needs to be replaced often, only 2 months worth of pages
 

Top Non-Dated Log

8. Nathan Training Log Plus Journal

You’ll know by now that we’re fans of non-dated running journals. This one is simple and to-the-point. There’s no fluff, no unnecessary info, and it’s very easy to use.

You’ll have 365 undated days to record runs on. They’re set out in weeks, from Sunday to Saturday, with spaces to record the date, the course you ran, your time, distance, pulse, and weight.

There’s a longer section for notes, where you can track any niggles or experiences you had along the way.

You’ll find gems of information and advice scattered throughout, from prominent figures in the running world. There are also useful “How To” sections that give little nuggets of advice for improving your performance.

It also includes a handy stretching program by the founder of Runner’s World Magazine, Bob Anderson.

PROS:

  • Undated, so you can start or stop whenever you wish
  • Simple and easy to use and compare
  • Includes “How To” advice sections
  • Includes stretching program

CONS:

  • Some runners may not like that the week starts on a Sunday
 

Best Run + Nutrition Log

9. The Runner’s Diary: A Daily Training Log

If you’re serious about your running, you know that you can’t train properly without paying attention to your nutrition too.

This journal was created by a sports nutritionist, so it has a focus on more than just running.

For running metrics, you’ll find room to note the usual data, like workout time, distance, heart rate, workout intensity, aches and pains, and workout enjoyment rating.

But it’s so much more than that. You’ll be helped along the way to create your own training plan for the season, based on your goals and abilities.

You can gain some valuable insights into your own fitness by using the Target Pace Level and Intensity Factor tools to assess your running.

A section for nutrition and sleep quality reminds you that running is about much more than just putting your shoes on and hitting the road.

PROS:

  • Includes nutrition and sleep quality monitors
  • Helps design your own training plan
  • Space to record key data
  • Undated pages

CONS:

  • One week is spread over four pages, which makes it hard to compare at a glance
 

Top Log with Reflection Notes

10. Complete Running Diary: 52 Week Training Log

Reflecting on your run is much more valuable than you may realize! It’s great to take down all this info, but what’s the point if we don’t reflect on it and use it to move forward and improve?

This journal will help you take the details you’ve recorded and reflect on them and use them to move forward positively.

Weekly wrap-ups help you to analyze your performance. Space to record your cross-training activities is a nice bonus for those who do other forms of training, but may be an annoyance and waste of space to those who don’t.

A feature that gets a thumbs-up from us is the footwear log. Many runners forget to pay attention to their shoes and end up using them way past when they should have gotten new ones. It’s also a great way to figure out what kind of shoes work best for you and enhance your performance.

PROS:

  • 52-week log
  • Weekly wrap-up sections
  • Includes footwear log
  • Tips and advice to help enhance running performance

CONS:

  • Runners who don’t do cross-training may find those sections to be a waste of space

 

 
FAQs

Contemplating getting one of the best running journals on this list? Here are a few questions you may be asking before deciding!

Why Should You Log Your Runs in a Journal?

Using a journal is a very tangible and personal way of recording your running data. The feeling of writing things down instead of typing them in actually has a different reaction in your brain, and you’ll feel more connected and motivated.

Reflect on Data

Logging your runs helps you to save data and reflect on it later. This can be invaluable if you need to go back later and examine it to find out potential causes for injury or assess performances.

Compare and See Progress

It’s also helpful to be able to go back and compare! You can see changes in your performance easily as you compare pages. It gives you an insight into your own improvement and helps you to see your progress.

Setting Goals

Writing your goals down can make them easier to visualize and focus on. Putting your goals in a journal can help you plan for them step-by-step, whether they’re long or short-term goals.

Motivation and Inspiration

Sometimes, a quote can be the thing that gets us out of bed and on the road. Most journals are sprinkled with helpful, inspiring quotes to motivate you when you need a bit of a boost.

Extras

Many journals come with useful tools like training plans, nutrition plans, and cross-training exercises.

What Data Can You Track?

This depends on the journal you choose. Most of them have space for basic metrics like:

  • Date (some are pre-dated, others undated)
  • Time of your run
  • Weather
  • Mileage
  • Workout time
  • Weekly & monthly totals
  • Pace
  • Heart rate
  • Extra notes

Some may have space for more specific info, like cadence, temperature, calories burned, nutrition, sleep quality, any aches and pains, and even who your running partner was.

The Wired Runner