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A training log is one of the easiest tools you can use to become a better runner. If you wear a GPS watch or use a running app during your workouts, you most likely already have an online log of your running routes, paces and distances. This is a great way to start tracking your progress. However, you can get more out of these training logs by taking the time to add a few notes. I’d even suggest taking it one step further by recording your runs in a separate training journal or app that isn’t associated with your GPS tracker or watch.
The reason for this is that at some point down the road you’ll likely stop using that app or GPS watch and start using a new one. At that point your run history will be located in several different places, which can be annoying.
A few years ago I was a devoted dailymile user. Since then, I’ve tried out a few different training logs including Strava, MapMyRun and Garmin Connect, sometimes all at once. In the end, I keep going back to my handwritten training log. because I find it’s much easier to locate specific dates and information than scrolling through a bunch of workouts.
Handwritten training logs aren’t for everyone, but regardless of what type works best for you, you should be recording more than just the numerical stats. Numbers only say so much and definitely don’t show the whole picture.
Below is what to record in your training log in addition to distance, time and pace to get the most out of it. By doing this, you’ll be able to look for trends in your training that are helping you reach your goals and trends that are hindering you.
- Hours of Sleep
- Any unusual stress
- How you felt during your run i.e. old, hot, sluggish, fast, unstoppable
- What was your perceived effort level during the workout?
- Weather conditions
- Route terrain details i.e. trails, pavement, hills
Lastly, if you aren’t convinced training logs are for you, start calling it a journal and write something in it after every run. In the years to come you can look back and recall a specific run that left you feeling a specific way or that you enjoyed with a good friend. Keeping a running journal is a great way to document your life as a runner.