Why You Should Keep A Training Log

Do you track your training – whether it’s lifting, running, cycling, etc.? If not…you should!

Using a training log helps you keep track of your progress. I love being able to look on old notes to see how far I’ve come, as well as what I’ve lost or what weaknesses to work on. For example, a few months ago I can look back and see that I couldn’t do any unassisted pull-ups. Well, now I can do 4.5. Though not in a row…I need a 1-2 min. break in between each one, but still ;)

I keep a training log when it comes to my lifting AND my running. So I want to talk about how you can use one for both of these different activities.

Training LogPhoto Credit: Jonathan Rubio via Compfight cc

RUNNING LOG

There are many ways to keep track of your running. You can use a good ol’ notebook, or online tools like Google docs or Daily Mile. I try to keep up with Daily Mile but I’m really bad at updating it.

Benefits of keeping a training log for running are:

  • You’re able to see how consistent you are with training (or inconsistent which has happened to me).
  • If you’re a numbers person, seeing increasing mileage and paces can help motivate you
  • You can track how you feel on runs. If you have been feeling a certain way on certain runs, write it down. You may see patterns.
  • You can track amount of time spent running, as well as cross training and lifting.
  • Once the season is over, you can review your log and see what you did well vs. what you can work on next season.

The tool I work with is Google docs, because that’s what Coach Marc has me use. His training log is seriously awesome. I am able to see my year in review, my training plan, and each month broken down into miles I’ve ran (based on what I put in obviously).

He has a notes section where I can write how I felt in each run (which he reviews to tweak my plan as time goes on). It’s so funny reading notes from my 2011 log before my first marathon. And also funny to see how my training has progressed so much since then.

Here’s a screenshot of the “year in review” section:

training log
I think it’s cool you can see previous months AND years miles. This version of his is newer from the ones I was using since 2011 which is why my yearly miles don’t show up.

Oh also, you can input what shoes you wear so you can track how many miles they have. No more forgetting when to replace your shoes!

Each month tab on the bottom allows you to input your miles, pace, shoes work, notes and more. See below:

running log
Pretty cool right? The cooler thing is you don’t have to be coached by Marc to have access to this training log. He sells them on his site. He also has a special offer for you all: if you buy the 2015 log, he’ll give you the 2014 log for free, so you’ll be set for the rest of this year and next year. Just mention my blog in the comments of his order form :)

Even if you don’t order one, start using a running log for yourself. You may be surprised at the results, and you may even improve your running! Make sure to track miles, type of run, pace, how you felt and what sneakers you wore.

Lifting Log

Okay so you don’t run? No problem. A log is just as important in strength training…maybe even more important. You don’t want to be one of those people who goes to the gym day in and day out, does the same workout, and never sees results, right? Not keeping a training log can lead to a plateau.

Here are the benefits of keeping a lifting log:

  • You can track what weights you use for every exercise. This means as the weeks go by you can steadily increase your weight, as opposed to forgetting what weights you used for what, or staying at the same weight.
  • You can track what workouts/exercises you do on certain days.
  • You can track sets, reps, and tempo. If you’ve done the same number of sets and reps for 4 weeks, it’s time to switch it up.
  • You can write notes about how you felt during lifting sessions. For example, I write down “felt good” so I know that the following week I need to increase my weights. Or I write “Stay” which means to stay at the current weight I’m using because it’s challenging.

For my lifting log I am old school and go with a notebook and pen. I have a small notepad I bring to the gym, but then I transpose everything when I get home to my bigger notebook. Yes I could use an app or the Note app on my phone but I like pen and paper for this.

Here’s what my lifting log looks like:

PS – the middle row is my brother’s weights. I wish I could bench 75 lbs.

Anyways, the information I like to write down is the exercise (and what exercise it was paired with in a set), number of sets, number of reps, tempo if I’m using one, and weights. On the right you see I have W,R,W,R repeated (for weight and rep). That denotes the number of sets. This is my system to remember how many reps I did on a certain set, because if I get to the last one and can only do 8 reps as opposed to 10, I need to remember that for next week. Did all that blabbering just make sense?

I looked up strength training log and a lot of things came up. Find one that works for you. I haven’t used this tool, but BodyBuilding.com offers a custom log creation tool. Check it out!

No matter what your workout is, keeping a log is important. Even if you don’t care about numbers or stats, wouldn’t it be cool to look back in a few years and see how much progress you’ve made? It’s almost like a diary (oh man I don’t even want to read my middle school diary). I look back on my first lifting logs ever and see that I could barely dumbbell press 10 lbs. That makes me feel awesome about how far I’ve come.

Do you keep a training log? Did you keep a diary as a kid? :-P

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Comments

  1. I completely agree that you need to keep a training log. I combine my food, sleep, and exercise in one log (as well as where I am at in my cycle). That way I can see what might be effecting my performance (bad night of sleep, a certain food, fighting PMS). I also like to rate my performance on a general scale.
    Jacki recently posted…Clean eating your way: Micronutrients and their importance to healthMy Profile

  2. I love my training log! As a total data junkie, I like to review my weekly and monthly mileage and note improvements in pace and distance. I’ve been using Strava to record my workouts. I love the features as well as the community aspect. But that Google doc is nothing short of amazing!
    Kate recently posted…Race Photo Gone WrongMy Profile

    • That’s exactly why I like keeping a training log too! I like looking back on workouts. and I like noting when I have a great workout as opposed to a bad day

Trackbacks

  1. […] So definitely check out Coach Marc if you need a gift idea this holiday season! If you know someone whose resolution will be to start running in 2015, this could be perfect for them. And if not, then take a look at Marc’s training logs – that is a great gift in and of itself! I gave a detailed look into the log here. […]

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