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Five convincing arguments to start keeping a training log

How are you progressing in your training? Where have you gone wrong recently? Track it with the ol' pen and paper to easily recognize patterns in your fitness habits.

Planning new day.

A training or running log is a physical (or increasingly digital) calendar, journal or record where you can keep track of your runs, races and pretty much anything. If you don’t already have or use a log to track your running, here are five good reasons to start today:

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1. It’s proof of what you’ve done.

By writing down and keeping track of every run and race you do, you’ll have an honest and accurate account of what you’ve done, which serves as both a reminder of past accomplishments as well as motivation for future success.

2. It can keep track of everything.

In addition to keeping track of how far you ran, how fast and for how long, be sure to include other useful info such as:

  • The weather: was it hot and humid or cold and windy?
  • Time of day: did you run first thing in the morning or late at night after a long day of work?
  • The course: did you run on a flat and paved out-and-back or a hilly and technical trail route?
  • How you felt: how much did you enjoy the run? Were you tired? Sore? Anxious? Create a subjective scale and try to report how you felt on every run.

Tracking this type of info can assist in understanding and explaining why a particular run or runs went well or why they didn’t. You can also use a running log to keep track of dietary habits, sleep behaviour and whether your body weight changes over time which can also contribute to your running health and fitness.

3. It tells you what works—and what doesn’t.

Whether you nailed your Thursday track session or struggled through Sunday’s long run, your log will begin to indicate your unique strengths and weaknesses as a runner. You can then use this knowledge to make improvements and adjustments in specific areas. For example, if you keep trying (and fail) to complete a particular speed workout, perhaps it’s time to stop and do something different like a tempo or hills. Or if you’ve mastered the long run and need a confidence boosting experience, maybe you should do that more often.

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4. You can take it anywhere.

If you keep a physical running log like a book or journal, you’ll be able to take it everywhere you go and have immediate access at any time. Likewise, with online training logs and websites, all you need is internet access and can instantly add and review past runs. It’s wise to record new info as soon as possible after the run so you don’t forget what you’ve done and as mentioned, add subjective info about how you felt. You can also choose to share your running log with others including fellow runners, training partners and coaches.

5. It summarizes your training and charts your progress.

Over time, all the runs you do will combine to create a summary and overview of your personal training and running history. This serves as a unique training plan and indicates how far you’ve come as a runner. You’ll also be able to spot trends such as when you increase your mileage or started adding speed sessions. It may also be useful for predicting and preventing injury such as after a string of bad runs or races.

Keeping a running log is easy, inexpensive and effective for helping you improve your running. Make it a habit to keep track of each run. Pretty soon, your log will become a point of pride as a constant reminder of what you’ve done and what you can do.