Monday, February 16, 2009

Write It Down

Some of my own training logs - if you can read them
Today's topic came about after a conversation with a fellow competitor and current national athlete whose identity shall remain anonymous. I was asked how I managed to consistently perform at races. My reply was simple, I wrote everything down. Yes, I'm talking about a training dairy. Mine goes as far back as 1985.

Even at that age, I'll write down what I did for training, how the races went, how I felt etc. I was able then to refer back to my training dairy whenever I needed to see how I trained for a particular event especially if it was the same event or race a year or two later. Of course it meant that each time I fell sick, I could check and see if I needed more off days, more rest or if I tried to do too much too soon.

I could also learn from my mistakes. After a disappointing race, I can analyze the training log book and see what I needed to do differently. By doing it this way, losing was not a failure, but postponed success, a critical part of winning next time.

Keeping a training log during key periods can help you identify training trends that work for you. It'll also identify trends that don't, such as not racing well 3-4 days after a hard training workout.

So what can you write down. You can record any variable that affects your running. Distances covered, time taken, how much you slept, hilly route (or flat), aches, pains (my favorite 'coz it means maybe you need to see a physio), no just kidding. When you have new running shoes, what you ate before training or racing etc. Also write down how you felt and what you thought of the workout. All this information can help you improve because if something goes wrong, your log book can help you find the cause and likewise if a training run or race went well.

Must you write it down? In this day and age, of course you can rely on some electronic gadget or online training journal to track everything. Me, I'm terrible with computers so I'll just write mine down.

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