“Several, consecutive years of uninterrupted training” seems to be the common theme among coaches, athletes and great running philosophers when discussing the key to long-term success. While this may be true, most of the “greats” would also agree that this is extremely difficult to accomplish.
So what if I told you that the key to achieving “several, consecutive years of uninterrupted training” could be made easier by spending five minutes a day to record and review your training. This is what some of the best American athletes are doing and based on the recent success in American distance running, it’s working! (i.e. USA Senior Women take bronze at World Cross Country Championships)
Learn why keeping a training log could unlock doors and take you one step closer to reaching your full potential.
Top 5 reasons to have a training log….
Track your mileage– Keeping tabs on your volume and intensity is crucial to avoid over or under training. Setting a weekly mileage goal allows you to plan your running week and holds you accountable on a daily basis. Remember skipping Tuesday, may mean doubling on Wednesday!
Gain Confidence- Without documentation you might miss out on the opportunity to celebrate improvements and gain the confidence that accompanies improvement. Test your fitness by repeating a previous workout or race and make it your goal to run the intervals or race faster this time around.
Accountability– If consistency has stood in your way in the past, transform your training log into an online blog. Share the link with friends and family and inform them of your upcoming goals. Beware; you might have grandma checking in to see how your long run went. Check out the training logs/blogs of some elite athletes here.
Changing Coaches- If you change coaches or training groups somewhere down the road, a training log can be extremely useful for your new coach (often you) to find out what types of workouts you have benefited from in the past and/or what may have contributed to injury or disappointment.
Learn From Your Mistakes- Don’t make the same mistake twice. Your log is an excellent place to document what works for YOU and what doesn’t. Here are some examples of what our Runners Feed team members have learned from their training logs.
Discovery: When I run with Luke I feel sluggish the next day, but when I run with Sasha I feel refreshed and ready to rock.
Solution: Run with Luke if I want to get in a hard run, call up Sasha for recovery runs or while tapering.
Discovery: I routinely get sick following exam week and have to take two weeks almost completely off.
Solution: Back off on volume and intensity during high-stress weeks to prevent illness.
Discovery: I had to stop at three Starbucks’ bathrooms on my tempo run this morning.
Solution: Don’t try out the new Indian Café in town on the night before a key workout or race.
What should my log include?
Some training logs are more elaborate than others. Here are the essentials and some optional ideas.
- Date & Time of day
- Company, if any
- Type of training session
- How you felt (scale of 1-10)
- Other activities: cross-training etc.
Optional: nutrition, sleep, time spent on rehab, new product review etc.