Keeping a Training Log :

How This Simple Tool Can Unlock Potential & Lead to PRs

You’re three months in on a training plan in preparation for your first half marathon. Everything has gone smoothly up until this point, but you’ve felt sluggish for the past couple of days and can’t seem to figure out why. The truth is, there is no golden training plan that works for every runner. Everyone’s body is entirely unique, which makes training for a new distance very much a test and learn processWhile one runner might have no issue bumping up their weekly mileage as they move up from 5k to 10k training, someone else in their running group may experience fatigue or minor injuries when they try to do the same. 

"A training log is a must for any runner! They can prove to be your best friend by helping you spot trends, both good and bad, in your training," says Mark Coogan, Former Team NB athlete and current NB elite coach. "I also used my training log to build confidence when I was mentally preparing for a big race by looking back to see all of the good training I put in. When I saw my training in writing again, I knew I was ready for a good race."

For all of these reasons, a training log could prove to be as important of a training tool as your footwear and apparel. Below are some things to consider before you start logging to make sure you capture the right amount of data for you.


First things first. Where should I log my training?

The first decision to make is where you want to log your training - in a notebook or through one of the many app-based options available. Some runners prefer recording training in a notebook so they can easily skim through it. On the other hand, many runners have migrated to app-based logs that are baked into their daily routine. One other bonus of choosing an app-based log is the ease of exporting and analyzing data to spot trends quickly. 




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If you're unhappy with your PR, chances are the answer is in your training log.

What information do I include?

1. Type of workout. Was it a tempo? Long run? Recovery run? All of this information will help you determine the mix of workouts that work best for you.

2. How’d it feel? Including comments about how you felt on a run will allow you to backtrack and pinpoint when a change occured. Comparing how you felt with some of the other variables below will help uncover themes for what conditions help you perform your best. 

3. Total mileage. Logging daily and weekly mileage will highlight any drastic spikes or drops in mileage that might explain changes in how you feel or any injuries that arise.   

4. How fast was it? Recording your pace can be as simple as indicating whether your pace was slow, medium or hard, but runners with GPS watches can also get more detailed by included data recorded through their watch.  

5. What shoes did I wear? Keeping track of what shoes you wore will help you keep track of how many miles you've run in each pair and in turn, when it's time to purchase new ones

6. What time? Noting the time of day you get out for a run will help uncover any trends about when you perform your best. For example, for workouts, is it better for you to tackle them in the morning when you’re fresh or in the afternoon once your body is awake? 

7. Conditions: When you’re fitting running into a busy schedule, it’s easy for the days to blur together. Noting the weather and conditions when you ran will provide context when you look back to analyze your log. Was it windy, which might explain why your splits were a little off? Was it sweltering hot, which may be why you cut the run a little short?

If you're unhappy with your recent race result or have just felt tired running lately, chances are the explanation is hidden in your training logAlthough recording your daily training can be a nuisance with a busy schedule, it'll all be worth it once you achieve your new PR. 

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