A training log – or a running diary – is a very important part of the runner’s toolkit. It’s so easy to overlook keeping a log – writing down what you do every day can be overwhelming and taxing. But the the benefits of having one far outweigh not keeping one. Below are 3 reasons why all runners should keep track of the training they do.
Consistency is key.
Distance runners are at their best when we are consistent with our training. The more we can keep the same, the more likely we are going to become better distance runners.
- Pace of our runs
- Time of day we run
- Weekly (volume) mileage
- Number of weekly runs
We can keep that consistency if we know what we’ve done in the prior weeks and months of training. A training log done well is a great tool to use to see consistent (or inconsistent) running. The more you put into your log, the closer you can mimic future running.
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Seeing the “Big Picture”
When you have a race, like a half marathon or peak race, planned in the far out future, it can be easy to get distracted, dismayed, or even overwhelmed about your running. A training log can help you plan out your training far in advance so you can see how your season will play out.
Planning out your season – with the workouts and races you’ll be doing – helps you take each week in stride. The better we are at planning, the less stressed you’ll be about nailing your best race when it counts.
It’s hard to know if you’re getting better if you can’t remember what you did a month ago. The training log allows you to look back and see progress. If you don’t know, or can’t remember, what you did early in your season, how will you know what paces your upcoming workouts or races should be at?
By tracking your training, you’ll be able to identify where periods of improvement occur. Seeing week after week of good training motivates us and provides clear reasons why your running is getting better. When we know that we’ve done our lifting, stretching and long runs, we can surely expect a good race.
If the unfortunate injury pops up, you can see what contributed to the problem. Knowing where and why an injury occurred can help you not make that same mistake again.
- Higher mileage?
- Late nights?
- Not stretching?
- No cross training?
- Slipping on the strength training?
All of these are potential pitfalls that we fall in from time to time. Knowing them – and tracking them – will help us ward off potential injury. When we see these warning signs in our log, we can fix them before they become a bigger problem!
Still unsure of why you should keep a training log? Check out these articles about keeping logs:
What program do you use to track your training? Website, excel, pen & paper?