As if I wasn't tracking enough data already, I've decided to use Jack Daniel's Mileage Training Point system. The reationale behind the system is that not all running was created equal. For example, we can run hours and hours of easy pace running each week, but we can only tolerate a fraction of that time doing intervals. J.D. has designed a table that assigns a point value for every minute of training at a given intensity. The intensity used as a key can be either the %VO2max or %MaxHR. I prefer to use the pace (%VO2Max) but I'm sure using the HR would give the same results. According to J.D., typical weekly totals range from 50 for a beginner to over 200 for an elite runner.
The values I use are:
Recovery pace: 0.2
Easy pace: 0.25
Marathon pace: 0.45
Threshold pace: 0.6
Interval pace: 1.0
Repetition pace: 1.5
In the book, the table is much more detailed and I can't imagine maintaining a by-the-minute log in a spreadsheet, but I usually know what my workout is supposed to be and I can use that to get a value that is probably close enough to the "actual" value.
Example: Typical hill workout 1.5 miles warmup (15 minutes easy) + 6 x (2 minutes hill + 2 minutes rest) + 1.5 miles cooldown (15 minutes easy)
This translates to: 15*0.25 + 6*(2*1.5+2*0.25) + 15*0.25 = 28.5 points in 54 minutes
If we compare this with a slow run of the same duration we get: 54*0.25 = 13.5 points, not even half the point value of a quality workout. Of course, we can only survive a couple of quality workouts a week without overetraining so we can't just limit ourselves to interval workouts.
By matching the HR or effort to other activities such as swimminf or cycling, one could keep track of the global quality of his (or her) weekly training.
The reason I decided to try this is that I want to be able to keep track of the "effectiveness" of my training. Looking at the point value of a workout, I see that if I have to drop a hill or interval workout, I lose more than double the training value of a Base run. I'm trying to build a decent spreadsheet on Google Docs but it's not really ready so I won't burden you with it, but as you can see, this is not rocket science.
Obviously, keeping track of all those numbers doesn't make me a better running Training does. But I'm willing to try anything that help me understand why I should suffer through the HELL of hill sprints and other quality workouts. I'm not a fast runner, yet I run faster than most because I'm willing to suffer. Hopefully this will help me make the most out of my training.