What’s A Training Diary?
A training diary is an important element of a comprehensive training plan. We get so much information from our own personalised training diary. What we put into it is our own choice. With modern gps devices, a lot of informative data is recorded and displayed for you. This is nice as the readability and accuracy of it is clear and concise. You can add whatever fields you want to keep track of. Linking your watch to apps such as Strava, Training Peaks, Garmin Connect etc makes this information easily accessable on your phone, laptop or PC.
I’m one of those runners that loves and embraces technology. If it can help me analyse trends in my training, diet, mood, sleep, etc, then I’m all for it. However, I’m also a runner that loves to keep in tune with the basics. Keeping a hand written training diary is one of these basic elements of training. For me its easier to write down the weather, how I felt on the run/during the day and what my sleep was like. Writing down my mile splits acts as a motivating factor for me. A few flicks of a page and comparisons can be made from previous weeks. This also serves as encouragement, to fuel your enthesium.
Keeping track of your weekly load is an important injury prevention method. When you can easily visualise your weekly mileage and how hard you are working. This allows you to understand why you may have an injury or why you are feeling particularly tired. Charting your diary against your training plan can show glaring disparities that may otherwise go unnoticed.
A Simple Example
Training plan says Tuesday easy 6 mile. Training diary notes 6 mile easy. But when you look at the other details like heart rate it may paint a different picture. You may have felt that the run was easy but your heart rate per mile tells you something different. Noticing these little difference from planned training and what is actually done can help prevent overuse injuries. Understanding how to analyse the data is something that becomes obvious when you think and decide what you want from your running. From elite to casual runners, each run must have a unique purpose to it. Having a training diary allows you to plan for it, implement it, analyse it and adjust it if necessary.
So, What’s In My Diary?
Here is a list of the elements of a typical run I record in my diary. For some this may be too comprehensive, for others its not enough. That’s the beauty of a training diary, its individualised!
- Total distance
- Total time
- Average pace
- Average pace mile split
- Average heart rate
- Average heart rate per mile
- Max heart rate
- The type of run, (tempo, repeats, intervals, long run)
- If I felt particularly good or bad
- Any niggles
A good training diary is essential for injury prevention, improved performance and motivation. It allows you to plan and track your progress. Seeing what works and what doesn’t from year to year allows you to develop a future tailored training plan for the following year.