Being organized is never a bad thing. It pays dividends at home, at work or simply on daily life. With training is no different, organized athletes can perform better because they handle their training scheldues more efficiently, they have clear & constant goals and they track & adjust their progress accordingly. One way I’ve find to be more organized as an athete is through a training log. Let’s say I ask you now; How many miles did you ran last week? How many hours of training have you averaged in the last 3 months? How many miles do you have on your current running shoes? What was the pace for your last 4 Iong runs? if you can’t answer one of those questions chances are you can improve your training just by keeping a training log and organize your training better.
As a teacher I’ve learn it’s all about planning, everything! We plan for days, for weeks, for semesters and for years. Ask any teacher and this is probably the part they dread the most about their jobs, but for me, I feel like it has been where I can get an edge on everybody else when performing any structured training and I want you to be able to do it too.
“The only difference between a mob and a trained army is organization.”
Keeping a training log will help you be a better athlete in many ways because it provides the most reliable record of your activities. First, you will be able to go back and review your performance from week to week, month to month and even years. Having this information will allow you to identify causes and effects in case of sudden problems, injuries slumps or setbacks that may drought your performance improvements.
Second, you will be able to identify trends & patterns and how they affect your training and sensations. You can see when you got tired/fatigued, when you were your fastest, climbing better or plain simply crushing your whole training.
Next up is motivation. Lets face it, there are times when training just sucks! Lack of motivations takes over and every workout feels like a dread, quite probably because we are struggling in some way. Now, I dare you to go back and read your log! See how many runs you have completed in the last month. Notice how many times you have had a killer workout even after a hard day of work or tough day with family/life. Realize the sacrifice and determination you have showcased in your training and how that sets you apart from the rest of people. Doesn’t it feel good? Yeah, I know. I do it all the time and it boosts my confidence!
Finally, and my personal favorite reason to keep a training log is internal fulfillment. I have to admit it is by far my favorite time of the day, after training when I got home and get to write my workouts on a journal. There is just a high satisfaction level, I feel accomplished, productive and very happy. An incredible adrenaline rush really takes over me and immediately my self esteem reaches a high and I feel very good about myself. Try it!
“It takes as much energy to wish as it does to plan” Eleanor Roosevelt
There are many ways to keep a log these days, some of them are fun and modern others are organic and romantic. You have online services like training peaks, garmin connect or strava that can record your activities automatically and provide you with summaries and overviews that your coach can also see later. These can also serve as motivational triggers as you can interact with other users and friends and challege yourself. If you are old school like me, then you can have a journal, calendar or simple notebook to write on. There is something majestic about pen and paper. The freedom of curves, lines and paragraph can make it magical to write your session’s details. You can include as many features as you want there -(time, route, pace, equipment, weather, sensations,nutrition & random notes) it would pay off big time later when you have to go back and review.
If you are a self coached athlete I would say a training log is almost mandatory, at least if you’re a performance oriented, but if you’re being coached by somebody this will also boost your coaching experience. You want to make sure your coach gets all the information he needs to provide you with a quality service when designing your workouts. I just can’t see how someone would be coach by a “trainer” who doesn’t keep record of your performance. Imho if your current coach does not keep a record for you; I would consider finding another one immediately! It’s that simple. Nobody can consciously create a training regimen without figuring out where you come from, where you stand now and where you are capable of going and having data to back it up, it’s just impossible. Food for thought.
So, invest a little bit of time on a training log, get to understand your body, create a record of magical memories, have a new motivational device, provide your coach with better feedback and see how you become a better athlete in a holistic way.