Tech Trends: Google Sheets—A Free and Powerful Training Log Option

Athletes and coaches can both plan, edit and review the week’s training plan without overloading each other’s email.

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Runners today have a plethora of options to use for logging their daily workouts. Smartphone apps and online training tools along with GPS technology can save time by automating a number of these tasks. No longer are we required to put pen to paper.

Online training logs like Training Peaks, Strava and Final Surge offer an abundance of features and stats. And while the basics can be free, a paid subscription is required for top-level features and the ability to communicate and share your training with a coach.

For those wanting a powerful but less expensive solution, Google Sheets can serve as a great training log. You don’t need to be an accountant or numbers geek to start recording and reviewing your training in Sheets. Organizing and recording your training data in a spreadsheet is straightforward and provides room to customize in the future.

You won’t see an activity feed of your friends’ latest runs or be able to download your last workout. But Sheets is an easy to use, collaborative and inexpensive way to log and review your training activities.

It’s built for collaboration.

Google Sheets, like Google’s other Drive apps, was built for collaboration. Athletes and coaches can both plan, edit and review the week’s training plan. Instead of overloading each other’s email, important coach/athlete discussion can take place in the spreadsheet and help determine guide future training decisions.

Sheets also allows control of who has access and is able to make edits to spreadsheet. For those who like to share their workouts and progress, it’s easy to do with Google Sheets. By creating “read-only” links, teammates, training partners, medical professionals and others can take a look at your training log.

It’s free!

Online training logs with features allowing for athletes and coaches to share and collaborate aren’t cheap. Sites featuring plans that allow for coach/athlete interaction, like TrainingPeaks and Final Surge, cost between $100-600/year. Google Sheets and its collaborative features are completely free.

There are tradeoffs. If GPS running watch integration or automatic uploads are a must, Sheets is not for you. Other online training logs require less setup, so we’ve created a free training log template. For runners/coaches getting started and those who want a less expensive way to log training, Google Sheets is powerful and free option.

Google Sheets also has free iOS and Android apps, so you are able to record and review your training on the go.

Start with a blank canvas.

With Sheets, training logs can be as basic or complex as you like. Whether it’s recording who you ran with or the day’s weather, you are able add columns or rows for the data that you feel is important. You are in full control of the activity information that makes up your training log.

To get up to speed on spreadsheet basics, Google provides a helpful learning section. Video tutorials on YouTube can also be a great place to view how others create and customize spreadsheets.

How to get started:

We’ve created a free training log template. (Hover the mouse over abbreviations.)

The steps following will help you get started:

  1. Login or create a Google account:
  2. Visit the free training log template:
  3. In the upper right hand corner of the browser, select “File” & “Make a copy…”. The template is now saved to your Google Drive account.

In the next installment of the Tech Trends, we’ll show you some tips and tricks to help you get the most out of your new training log.

RELATED: Why You Should Keep a Training Log