Tracking Tools, Stats, and a Vent

I’m a numbers person – I used to be an accountant for a living! I like to track my stats, see neat little graphs, measure my progress.

When I first started running, I jotted my runs down in a notebook, but I wasn’t really keeping track. When Bruce started running with me, we started a simple spreadsheet to track our progress. Mapmyrun was good enough to track outdoor distances, and a Timex Ironman digital watch was fine for time.

In the fall of 2009, Bruce & I both got iPhones, and our relationship with the Nike+ system was born. Pop a chip onto your shoe, set your iPod, and away you go. Upload the stats, it would generate graphs, help you keep track of distance, and time, and miles…

When we started biking, Bruce wanted a Garmin. We found Garmin 305s at Costco for a good price, and so we use those for biking (and will for running once we run outside). I haven’t played with mine enough to see what it does with stats, what kind of graphs and charts I can get. Besides, I have the Nike+ program, right?

Um… maybe not. First thing about the Nike+ thing is, you need a chip for your shoe ($25). And once the chip battery dies, you need to buy a new chip. Apparently, there is a new app you can download for the iPhone that doesn’t require a chip, but then you need to wear the phone all the time, and I don’t wear mine on the treadmill.

So this week, my second chip died. Now, my first chip lasted 7 months. Not bad – I was OK with that. But this one only lasted 9 weeks! I’m not OK with buying $150 worth of chips a year for the benefit of using Nike’s website! So now I’m trying to figure out what combination of tracking to use to generate good data.

I’ve started using Daily Mile, which I liked because it would import all my runs from Nike+, and all my bike rides from my Garmin. I can still add all my runs manually, and it will allow me to track my progress using graphs.

I also log all my workouts – swims, runs, bikes, yoga, weights – in a spreadsheet I created in Google Docs. Is this a duplication of effort? Absolutely. Have I found a better way? Not yet.

Add to this, I’m tracking my food consumption using MyFitnessPal. So that means that I’m using 4? 5? different programs to track my workouts and fuel. And if I want to see what I’m eating on days when I have a good workout, I have to go back through my food logs, which are not in the same place as my workout data.

There has to be a better way! I just haven’t found it yet….

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