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Thursday, 17 November 2011

Why Keep a Training Diary

A well kept training diary can be a runner’s best friend as it will record the type and quantity of activity that is carried out in the search for fitness and eventually race performance. It can also act as a source of motivation and, over time, serve as a guide to which training methods have worked or not worked.

As training diaries are a very personal thing, the records in them will vary from runner to runner. Essential items which should be recorded include the date, running time and distance and details of the training session. These details may be supplemented with information on weather conditions, training partners and perhaps training routes. The diary can also be converted to a full blown training log by including the following: 

  1. A note on how each run feels including muscle soreness, level of effort and fatigue
  2. A record of the effort rating for each run perhaps using a scale of 1 to 10. This will allow the monitoring and control of the number of hard runs in a particular period
  3. A rating of how enjoyable the run was, again using a scale of 1 to 10. Not all runs will be enjoyable but if none are enjoyable then a new training schedule and rethink is required
  4. A record of heart rates whilst at rest and during and after workouts. Variations in these rates can indicate illness, fatigue or overtraining
  5. A record of body weight as wild fluctuations may be an indication that all is not well
  6. A record of daily sleep patterns. Consistent sleep patterns should be helped by regular training. However, changes to sleep patterns may indicate overtraining    
Of course, as one off pieces of information none of the above is of much use, but when recorded over a period of time the total picture which emerges can be of real value. 
The method of recording is very much a question of taste. Many runners use a pocket diary to record the information. Others use a specific running diary, which is designed for the purpose.

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