What exactly is it?
Okay, so whilst for some of you this may seem very obvious, I just want to clarify what it is to me before I start telling you that it’s a good idea to keep one. For me, it’s a way of recording all the sport I do on a daily basis, as well as specific details and how my body responded to it. It’s not exhaustive and I don’t write down absolutely everything that I could, but I try to ensure I include the basics.
How does it work?
I got given an A5 lined notebook for my birthday that’s completely plain and has no margins. You can use whatever you want really, but this format allows me to add in my own columns and rows as and when I fill them out. I make three columns, headed “date”, “training” and “details”. Choose whatever floats your boat (this isn’t realy the most important bit 😉) and you’re ready to get started! Every evening (unless I forget), I write in the date, any training I’ve done on that day – unless it’s a rest day of course – and how I felt before/ during/ after it. Any shin pain/ niggles are the most important observation for me, but this will vary depending on your body and priorities.
In hindsight, this is probably not the best example to use since most of my runs aren’t this long or dramatic, but it was my last entry when I was writing this post and I wanted to show you my most recent formatting.
|Sunday 10/12/17||Long run: 18.5km in gale force winds. 5min/km average pace.||Got lost so longer than planned. Unpleasant - almost pushed over by wind. Had to detour inland to avoid. No pain though & managed a decent pace.|
why do i keep one?
So, as a lot of you are probably aware, I suffer with shin splints, a recurring injury that I’ve struggled to cope with/ get rid of. Back in early November, I consulted my physio and decided that I needed to take my training back to the basics [see post more miles aren’t always better for more deets]. I’d started my training diary a few months before, and it showed me that I tended to get the most pain after speed or interval-based sessions which I was doing twice a week. Since then, I’ve changed up my training and have replaced quantity for quality, which has really helped me both progress and (fingers crossed) avoid injury.
I’m also training for a half marathon at the moment, so I find it especially useful to track my mileage and make sure I don’t increase by too much on a week-by-week basis. At the end of every week I circle the total mileage in the margin so I can keep tabs on this more easily, which might be something you’re interested in doing too.
rating a session
Although I personally don’t do this – mainly because I’m lazy – I think it’s a fab idea. The concept is to simply rate how difficult you found a session /10, taking into account fatigue/ times etc so you can see if there’s a correlation between the niggles that pop up and how hard a session is. I tend simply to write “felt tired” or “felt ok” because I’m not particularly numerical, but it is a great idea (repeating myself I know).
I just want to round this post off by highlighting how this should not change your relationship with exercise in any way, nor should it necessarily prompt a change in your regime. For some people, this might just make them have a rigid mindset when it comes to exercise and cause an unhealthy relationship with what should be a hobby. Please don’t start comparing your weekly mileage to others/ yourself and think that because you’ve done less one week, you’re a worse runner. And if you have to skip a session, don’t feel guilty because there’s a blank day in your diary! This should complement your training more than anything else.
If it doesn’t work for you, then just stop. It’s something that I’ve found useful and wanted to share with you in case you were interested. As always, I’m not a coach or qualified professional so if you have any doubts, go visit someone who can provide you with more information.
If you do start a training diary, I’d love to hear how you get along!