A training log does more than simply keep track of what you accomplish day after day, week after week, while preparing for an event. It can be one of the best tools available to help you improve your performance and build your confidence. Your training log can serve as a coach, a wake-up call or a crystal ball, giving you a glimpse of what you can expect from your future performance.

What you put in your training log is up to you, but the more info you record, the more data you’ll have to look back on. The date, distance and time of each run are the most obvious details to record. But you may also want to include things like weather conditions, the route you ran, your heart rate and how you felt, among other things.

By recording this info, you’ll be able to see patterns and trends that may not be apparent to you otherwise. You’ll notice things you do that result in good outcomes and those that cause you to suffer setbacks. This information can help you throughout your training journey.

Here are 5 benefits of keeping a training log:

  1. It makes you more accountable. When you know you have to log your training, you’ll be less likely to find excuses to blow off a training session. Sometimes just knowing you need to add the next entry into your log is all the motivation you need to get off the couch and stick with your plan.
  2. It allows you to spot a slump. There are times you may feel like you’re not at the top of your game and you can’t pinpoint why. But if you look closely at your training log, you may be able to identify what you’ve been doing that is resulting in your lackluster performance. Maybe you’re logging too many miles, not eating properly before you train or lacking sleep. The more information you keep track of, the more data you’ll have to help you figure out how to turn yourself around when things start slipping.
  3. It can motivate you and build confidence. If you need a pick-me-up before a big race because you’re just not feeling confident, looking back at all you accomplished to get there can give you the boost you need to reach the finish line. You’ll have proof in black and white that you’re well prepared and can see the progress you’ve made over time to get you to where you are today.
  4. It helps you identify aspects of training that affect your performance. Whether you are elated or disappointed in your performance in a race or other competitive event, having a training log will help you get a better idea of what worked or what may have led to your downfall. For example, you’ll be able to see if your body had enough time to rest between strenuous workouts, if your taper strategy was effective and, depending on what else you keep track of, how various aspects of your training affected your outcome.
  5. It gives you a record of your hard work. When you spend weeks or months dedicated to training, you can sometimes forget how hard you’ve worked and much you’ve done to get to where you are. Your training log serves as a reminder of that hard work and dedication.

Sources:

http://www.active.com/triathlon/articles/10-reasons-to-keep-a-training-diary-877474

http://running.competitor.com/2013/12/training/why-you-should-keep-a-training-log_50045

https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?ContentTypeID=1&ContentID=1037

http://www.runnersworld.com/for-beginners-only/what-should-i-record-in-my-training-log