How To Do It
Keeping a training diary is easy and it doesn’t take a lot of time. There are just a few basic types of information you need to record. These include the distance, duration, and format of your workout. So a training diary entry could be as simple as, “5 miles (45:59).” When you do workouts with changes in pace, your diary entries will be a little more complex, because you’ll want to record times for each segment. For example, “1-mile warmup (8:07), 4 x 100m strides, 10 x 300m (57, 57, 59, 56, 58, 57, 57, 57, 58, 58) w/ 300m recoveries, 1-mile cooldown (8:49).” The only other essential information is a weekly mileage total recorded at the end of each week.
If you wish, you may also record a variety of other types of information in your training diary that could be useful. These include:
- Aches and pains. Noting sore spots in your diary may help you identify causes of injuries and avoid them by making your limits clear.
- Heart rate. If you use a heart rate monitor in workouts, record this information in your diary. Changes in your heart rate at different paces reflect changes in fitness and fluctuations in fatigue levels.
- Morning heart rate. A gradual trend toward lower morning heart rates indicates improving fitness. A spike in morning heart rate indicates fatigue.
- Shoes. Noting which shoes you wear in each run will enable you to track the mileage on them and replace them on a sensible schedule (the average pair of trainers is good for about 500 miles).
- Sleep. Some runners like to record the amount and/or quality of their previous night’s sleep in their diary, as it does affect running performance.
- Subjective feelings. How you feel during your runs is a very important indicator of how well your training is working and your current fatigue level. Very simple notes such as “Felt great!” or “Sluggish” can help you determine what’s working and what’s not working in your training and make necessary changes.
- Weather. If the weather (e.g. extreme heat) affects your performance in a run on a given day, you may want to note that.
- Weight. If you’re trying or hoping to lose weight as you train, it’s a good idea to monitor this variable so you know how different training patterns affect it.
Many runners keep their training diaries in regular journal notebooks and day planners. But there are a variety of readymade training diaries on the market that are formatted especially for use by runners. Of course, my personal favorite is the one I created, The Runner’s Diary.
About The Author:
Matt Fitzgerald is the author of numerous books, including Racing Weight: How To Get Lean For Peak Performance (VeloPress, 2012). He is also a Training Intelligence Specialist for PEAR Sports. To learn more about Matt visit www.mattfitzgerald.org.