Shinn column: Logging the miles in 2009

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 1, 2009

One thing I noticed this year when I became a runner ó and I use that term very loosely ó was that the serious runners are meticulous about keeping records.
Last Christmas, Dr. Dick Martin sent my mother a running log. He had ordered one and had an extra one, and thought she might like it.
She kept copious notes in the log all year, finishing up with 478.92 miles. I told you, she’s detailed.
She liked it so much that I ordered her one for 2009. I had the nicest conversation with Phil Kasunick in Rocky River, Ohio. He designed the log some 26 years ago.
Phil, who’s 56, has been running for more than 30 years. He never liked the way running logs were laid out, so he drew up his own.
“No fluff stuff, no inspirational comments,” he says. “I don’t need ’em.”
What he did include was space to write where he ran, how he felt and how long he ran. There’s space on each page for weekly comments, weekly and yearly mileage, and a place to fill in race results.
Phil took it to the printer and ó Whoa! ó was blown away by the price.
He started selling advertising. Brooks Shoe Co. liked the idea and bought the front cover and other inside pages. The deal with Brooks was to print 50,000 running logs and distribute 25,000 at the New York City Marathon.
Eventually, the running craze crashed, about the time longtime guru Jim Fixx died.
So Phil pulled all the advertising and started selling the logs, for a whopping $1.95. Today, the price is $9.95 (check
Once a runner starts using a log, he or she is usually hooked. Phil gets hundreds of letters every year from folks who have years and years’ worth of logs.
Keep doing what you’re doing, they tell him.
Although some runners are turning to electronic logs, Phil reports that most still keep paper logs as a back-up.
“It’s important to keep a running log,” Phil says. “You can keep track of your progress.”
He notes that you can use the log to keep track of your weight, your pulse, and even when you start using a pair of running shoes.
As many years as Phil has run, he’s never been injured.
“Listen to your body,” he says. “If you feel like running more, run more. If you don’t feel like it, don’t go.”
Dude, that’s a great plan.
He adds that you do have to push yourself some.
Phil runs 3-4 miles a day, six days a week. He’s retired after a 20-year career as an advertising executive. Now he keeps busy with his children’s cross country and track teams.
Katie is 14 and Michael is 12. His son is autistic, so that’s why a donation to Autism Speaks is made with the purchase of every running log.
For all you runners out there, have a safe and healthy year, wherever your runs may take you.
As Phil always tells his daughter, “It’s a great day to run.”
Contact Susan Shinn at