A training log should be an essential part of every runner’s routine. The days go by, the miles go by, the years go by. But how do we remember what we did from day to day and from year to year? How did that interval run feel last week or last month? The only way to know, unless you have a memory like an elephant, is to keep a training log. It is essential for many reasons.
- Training logs allow us to develop a plan and stick to it. Logs allow us to map our training plan and carry it through, and they’re an excellent reference – to check what’s ahead in future workouts or review our training history.
- Logs allow for self-reflection. We can gather running data and refer to it at any point during our training cycle. We can compare week-to-week, month-to-month or year-to-year. We can compare our mile interval times to the intervals we did last week. Hard to remember all this data unless it is logged.
- Some people may train with heart rate monitors and this can also be included as well. You can record your resting heart rate in the morning as a way to judge the level of your fatigue. A higher resting heart rate than your baseline usually means your body is fatigued or did not recover fully from the previous day. So pay attention to this when planning for that day’s workout.
- You can also record subjective feelings about how you felt during the workout. These notes all can add up and help you adjust your training plan to track what is and isn’t working.
- Noting which shoes were worn during training runs can help you know when you should change shoes.
- Sleep can be monitored in the log as well as it certainly affects training performance.
- Use a log during any injury and as an injury prevention tool. Look at the log and the events preceding your injury to see if there is anything you could have done to prevent the injury.
- Check your log in times of doubt to look at all the work you have put in and realize you are on the way to achieving your goals. Use it to boost your confidence.
Keeping a diary is simple. It can be kept on anything from a calendar to a computer. There are many computer programs that log training data. A spiral notebook serves well as a training diary. In the simplest form, the training log should record time and distance of run. If you did intervals, make sure to record how many, what distance and your time.
Once you have your log set up, enjoy it. Have fun with it. Realize that you are mapping out your future. Most runners keep a log and I believe you should as well to take your running to the next level.
Dr. Michael Hartmann
Race Medical Director, Healthy Driven Naperville Marathon & Half Marathon
Emergency Room physician, Edward Hospital