Can A Training Log Hurt Your Running?

Competition and Rewards

Training log websites and mobile phone apps have made keeping a detailed log easier and a lot more fun. These fun features, however, can often exacerbate the potential downfalls of keeping a log.

Earning badges, collecting points, and competing with friends is a great way to stay motivated and a nice reward for training you already intend to do, but it can also magnify the desire to do certain workouts so that your log looks good, rather than focus on what’s the best way to get fitter and stay healthy. It can be tempting to extend your running streak to keep your “streaking runner” badge alive, or to add on miles to keep up with your virtual running partners.

There’s nothing wrong with using rewards and competition to help motivate you on those days when training is chore. However, be careful that your training log doesn’t become about impressing your friends. Focus on healthy, consistent training.

Keeping a training log isn’t a bad thing when it fulfills its intended use – analyzing historical trends of training data and providing feedback for how to improve your training and fitness. Examine the patterns of training that have led to injuries or analyze your key workouts and note how you felt before your best races. Don’t stress over not hitting a weekly mileage total or having a few blank days in your calendar. Improvement isn’t about hitting a big workout or how many miles you can cram into a week. It’s about logging month after month, of healthy, consistent training.

Keep these concepts and potential pitfalls in mind as you record and analyze your runs this year and remember to train for your body, not the log.

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