Copyright 2017 - Dundee Roadrunners

Do You Need A Training Log?


Why keep a training log?: There are so many reasons. Used correctly, one can help you identify your peaks and troughs, build your confidence, motivate you into action, achieve your goals, make the most of your natural abilities and express yourself constructively. In fact, it's hard to think of a cheaper and better way to improve performance.

 
Why NOT keep a log?: Well, we're aware that some people become a little obsessive about their Training Logs and will foolishly clamber out of their sick beds just to achieve continuity. They can also mislead you if you jump to conclusions rather than analyse sensibly... Finally, it can be boring if you're not sure why you're doing it!

What should I record, and why?: As always, there are different schools of thought on this. It largely depends on what you're hoping to achieve. Most training logs encourage you, on a daily basis, to include the date, day, time and duration of your run. It's also pretty standard to record the distance covered, type of training (including the course, or where you ran) a note of the weather conditions and a brief summary of the effort applied or an emotional expression, i.e. Hard run but feel fantastic! You may also want to include any cross training or gym classes that you have completed to record the complete picture. Remember to plan your rest days too…and stick to them!

Which shoes make me run faster?: Runners are advised to have at least 2 pairs of running shoes at any one time to allow you to rotate them in your training. Recording which shoes you ran in not only reminds you which pair of shoes you should be wearing on your next run, but also enables you to determine if you consistently run better in a particular pair or brand of shoes.

Use your log to plan ahead: If you've entered a race, use your running log to plan your training in the build up to the event. If you are following a training schedule, track back from the date of the race and pencil in your target distances and training sessions. This will also help you to avoid doing 2 hard sessions in a row or taking too many/not enough rest days.

Anything else?: Yes! When your training log also includes heart rate information, it can tell you if you're over-training or, alternatively, show how your fitness level is improving as you run further and faster at the same rate. Some people include their weight and a list of what they ate every day, although this thought would threaten the sanity of many others!

How does this help?: Even in its most simplified form, it will allow you to identify the conditions that helped you achieve peak performance. As you move into the next season, there's a definite history of the circumstances of your success; this enables you to duplicate those patterns and - hopefully - repeat the success. Just for instance, knowing what you ate on the morning you shattered a P.B. will allow you to eat the same foods precisely. Transferring the information into a training plan will give you an edge.

Spot the highs and lows: You'll also, after a time, be able to spot peaks and troughs in your training schedule. If, for instance, a review of the log reveals you constantly feel sluggish when you train on a Thursday evening, you can examine the data to try and establish why - fatigue, increased distance, poor diet or even your training partner repeatedly outpacing you? You may even realise that there's just a natural down turn in your performance and use that as your rest day. Without the data, you'll never be able to take an educated guess.

All in the mind...: Psychologically, not only does a running log boost your confidence by reassuring you that you've trained the appropriate amount for an event, it also let's you 'Goal set' in a very powerful way. Scientific studies of personal goal setting long ago established links between the imagining and writing of a goal and it's achievement. Often, just pencilling in a realistic time that you want to 'do', before you run, is enough to align your actual performance with that vision. And it can be extremely motivating to write over that target time in pen after the event...

Where can I get a Running Log?: Many runners now record their training logs online through their GPS running watches. Garmin and Strava are currently the two most popular platforms in which to store and view your runs. For those that prefer a more traditional approach,there are many free downloadable training logs on the internet such as  
http://www.vertex42.com/ExcelTemplates/running-log.html
.

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