There was a period about two years ago, when iPad was booming and everyone had to have one, where I decided I’d go all in on the digital lifestyle. I’d leave pen and paper behind and have all my notes and information at my fingertips. That worked for a while, but I soon found that my analog-trained mind needed to feel the paper and pencil. And as much as wanted to preserve and have available all the info all the time, I couldn’t process information as efficiently in digital as I could in analog format. I had to see it on paper.
A year ago, I rediscovered my love of notebooks and paper. I found the Field Notes brand notebooks. I started carrying one around everywhere. Notes, thoughts, ideas jotted down. I also recalled that my dad always had his small pad and pencil in his shirt pocket all the time. The nostalgia of my dad’s analog life spurred me to come back to my roots. I embraced the idea of writing information, of being able to remember better what I wrote and what I was thinking. The process of just writing it on the paper assisted my memory. In fact, studies have shown that the process of writing notes by hand facilitates better retention of the information.
Last spring, I tried to keep a running log for the first time in my life using a small notebook. I fell behind. I couldn’t keep up. I didn’t know exactly what to record or how to put it on paper.
I don’t do resolutions. But this year I’d like to be better about keeping a running log. I want to be able to look back at how I felt on a certain day. I think this will help me in the long run. Too often I find myself struggling on a humid summer day wondering if I have acquired some sort of disease, failing to remember that it is merely summer that is affecting me. It would help if I could look back and see that every summer since I’ve been a runner I have felt this way: leaden legs, inoperative lungs.
One day last October, I ran across the Facebook feed of Phil Kasunick. He had posted an image of his running logs. I’ve long followed him on twitter and added him on Facebook about a year ago. Phil has published the Runner’s Training Log for years. I’ve seen it but never took logging my runs seriously until now. Phil was kind enough to send a log for review and I told him I planned to make it part of this post and my new year’s plan to better reflect on each run. My challenge is to note more than the distance and the time, but to record my feelings, mental and physical. I want to look back and see my whole self, not just the numbers that, for better or for worse, we allow to define us.