Runners, or athletes in general have many traits that are common among all, but there are also a few ways in which people can be complete opposites; whether you are interested in what races the Olympians are doing, where your Alma mater/school you work at is ranked in the National listings, where your time places you in an overall percentage of your age group. These all come down to your love/obsession/interest in the sport.
However, there is one difference that is important, that you do need to pay attention to, and whether you find it a chore or not, you should make a part of your daily routine. Logging your training.
When I look back on training through my teenage years, I had absolutely no idea how many miles I ran, what workouts I did, or what shoes I wore. Now, I can tell you exactly how many miles I have run in each pair of shoes, what the weather was like the day I ran 8x1mile, and when my muscle strain first started to appear last November. A training log can help you to move forward with a healthy progression, or look back on what went wrong in the past.
There are a number of ways to do this; some people make their own excel spreadsheets; others keep a journal; and my personal favorite is using an online resource. Most of my elite, collegiate, and running friends use Athleticore, but you can also try out Running2Win if you prefer.
Athleticore is a database where you can enter the details of your runs, and even compare yourself against the leader board of highest mileage athletes (which I actually feature on right now :P). You can make your profile private if you desire, or you can make it public for all Athleticore users to see. You can even create your own team if you and some friends wanted to compare within a group!
This is the screen you will see after signing up and every time you log in to the site
When you click Training Log, you will be taken to this screen, which will show your training for the month. It is here where you add your activities: Run, Bike, Swim, Alternative (there are a LOT of activities in here). You can even add in a food log, goals, and sleep patterns from this page.
When you click on a specific day, or Add Run, it will take you to this screen where you can fill in as much (or as little) as you like about your training.
The more information you can add, the better. If you start detailing the pains/feelings/thoughts about your runs, when something does go wrong, you can often pinpoint where it began to make sure you do not make the same mistake again. Adding the other details such as weather, feeling, wind, will only help you with this process.
Athleticore allows you to add your own courses, workouts, and shoes. There is also a comments section at the bottom to leave notes for yourself/your coach. The shoes feature is one of the most important features as it allows you to track how many miles are on each pair of shoes to make sure you are not putting yourself at risk of injury.
If you want to be better, and want to truly learn from your mistakes, keeping a training log is the best way to do that. I love seeing all my hard work put in front of me on a screen, it is reassuring before a race, and helps to build confidence that I am ready. Reduce those pre-race doubts by keeping a training log, starting today!
Do you keep a training log? What do you use to reflect over previous training periods?