A training log book is a very important weapon in the arsenal of any endurance athlete. Training for any kind of an endurance event is a long, arduous journey of several months of hardships. In case the athlete, is self coached, which most of us are, doesn’t record his day to day training somewhere, he is likely to end up being overtrained or injured.
A training log book serves many purposes. For example it aids as a tracking device for people who want to lose weight or who want to get faster or train for an event without an injury. There are many online services which can help record day to day details but I love the feeling of jotting things down with a pen on a diary. The diary thereafter becomes a beautiful reminder of the incredible journey to the successful race.
Benefits of a Training Log Book
The benefits are manifold. They are-
- It helps to track the workouts and in turn point out any mistakes in the long run.
- Overtraining is a common issue among endurance athletes. A training log book keeps it in check.
- The people who want to get back to running or lose weight can track their workouts and calories i.e intake and expenditure of calories. Those who log their food are more likely to lose weight faster.
- A Training Log book is helpful in setting goals and self – motivation.
A log book need not be a very expensive ones which one can buy online. A simple notebook or a discarded diary can do the job. Aim is to record the most essential pieces of information which can be analysed after a period of time to make necessary course corrections.
6 Tips on Writing a Log Book
There are some pieces of information which are important from the point of view of analysing the training pattern and the progress being made. Few details which need to be incorporated in a log book are –
- Waking Heart Rate – Heart rate is a very precise indicator of the level of stress in the body. The resting heart of a trained athlete can vary fro 40-50 beats per minute. Take time to check yours. Record the heart rate first thing in the morning, as soon as you wake up. If you are overtraining, then the resting heart will go up. If it is more than 5 or more beats than normal, then cut back on the training or take a day of rest to see if it comes back to normal.HOW TO MEASURE HEART RATE – Either use a heart rate monitor or place two fingers of your right hand over the inside of the left hand wrist and feel the pulse. Count for 15 seconds and then multiply by 4. That’s your heart rate.
- Early morning body weight – With passing time and training, your body weight will fall and come at a plateau. Every morning body weight check is an excellent way to monitor the progress. Sometimes it may so happen that your weight won’t budge a single gram, which means you need to shake up your workout regime or look into your diet. On the other hand, it may fall rapidly, which may means you are overtraining.
- Post workout body weight – To determine how much fluids you need to take, this measurement is going to help you with that. To determine our sweat rate, weigh yourself naked before and after the run of approximately an hour at race pace. The difference in the body weight is amount of liquid you need to take to stay hydrated. It may vary on hot days or for people of different weight ranges. Have more fluids in case the time of run is warm and humid.
- Feelings while running – It is one of the most important factor of the recording in a training log book. Notice any soreness or heaviness while running. Also notice if you feel happy or tired during the run. These feelings will help determine whether you need to scale back or take a rest day. Also this will give you a hint to review the past training spell to find out any unusual kinks, which you can sort out in future training spells. Also note the intensity of the workout which includes duration, pace, distance, weather, etc.
- Feeling during the day and night – How do you feel during the day? Are you tired or fresh? Do you wake up thirsty in the middle of the night or having cramps? Record any types of unusual feelings in the log book. In the long run, these all emerge as a story and point out the mistakes in the training.
- Diet – Diet plays a big role in the life of an athlete. In fact it is much bigger than the training itself. Track all the foods you eat throughout the day. Tracking each and every item of the meal helps you to accurately determine the calories you are ingesting as compared to the calorie expenditure you are doing via running. This will give a clear picture in first, cleaning up your diet and second, to eat adequately to refuel your body. For tracking food though, I, personally, use an app called HealthifyMe where I can track Indian food. But still recording of diet, I feel, should be part of your training log.
So, here you are with 6 tips on writing a training log book. If you want to train efficiently and effectively, then this is the way. All top endurance athletes use this technique to get the best out of themselves. Till then stay fit and keep running.
Is there anything else which you note down in the log book?
How regular you are in noting down the details of your workout?