For many years, I chose to not keep a running journal for purely laziness reasons. Once I got over myself and started keeping track of my runs, my training routine experience evolved drastically.
I’d go as far as to claim that a running diary should not be optional. Why? Because it can be a great tool to help you grow as a runner and fitness enthusiast.
Here’s the good news. Keeping a workout diary is no rocket science. It doesn’t have to be complicated if once you learn how to do it the right, a simple, way.
In today’s post, I’m going to spill the beans on how to keep a workout journal the right way.
Are you excited?
Then here we go0
Running Journals Demystified
First things first, what’s a workout journal?
The answer depends on whom you’re asking. Everyone has a different definition of what makes a workout journal. But, in essence, a training diary, is simply a written (or typed) record where you can keep tabs and monitor your workouts, nutrition, injuries, races, and pretty much anything else training-related.
In other words, it’s a record of suggestions, observations, ideas, conclusions, results, experiences, and events.
If you don’t already use a training log to monitor your running, here are seven good reasons to start today.
Less Confusion. A good workout journal helps take the guesswork out of your training because everything you do has a purpose—or at least it should. Your training becomes focused, result-driven, and conscious.
Keep Track. A workout diary is a great place for tracking your fitness goals and keeping them in sight. Just remember to write down your specific goals, like when you want to be able to run 10k under one hour or the number of intervals you want to perform, then check to see how long it takes you to achieve them.
Monitor Injuries. By keeping track of aches and pains, you’d be able to pinpoint the onset of an injury, find the causes and prevent serious ramifications.
Boost Performance. Evaluating your workout journal entries regularly can help you determine which exercise and nutrition approaches work the best for you.
Get Accountable. A workout journal can serve as a contract between yourself and it. A written promise to do what it takes to get the job done—no matter what the circumstance.
Improve motivation. With a workout log, you can look back at the end of each month and say “I accomplished that” and you might be inspired to do even more.
Find weaknesses. A good workout journal provides with a plan to chip away at your weaknesses. Whether you spend more time doing long runs to boost endurance or power up with interval sprints to increase your speed, you name it!
Choosing The Format
Now that you’re hopefully sold on the importance of keeping a workout journal let’s quickly take a look at the different options of diaries you could use.
You can use pretty much anything to keep track, from a cheap spiral to an expensive and fancy leather-bound diary.
A simple diary will be enough, or you can go for one of the many free online training trackers and apps. It’s always up to you. It’s up to you.
A workout diary doesn’t have to be anything complicated or elaborate. Usually, the simple stuff is what works the best. No need to make things more complicated than they have to be.
I prefer Moleskin. They have some cool and elegant little notebooks. Of course, any notebook will do, but for me, these work pretty well. It’s also small enough to fit in your pocket.
Typically moleskin notebooks have a firm cover that doesn’t easily tear nor bend with repeated use.
Setting up your workout diary is much like choosing your training program. It’s all up to what you prefer doing and what works for you the best. You don’t need to force yourself to follow in someone else shoes. That’s not how it works.
The Main Running Data to Monitor
Once you choose the format, get clear on what to log—the details to write down and keep track of. Inside a good workout journal you can virtually keep monitoring anything, you find relevant to your training.
Here are some useful metrics you should monitor down in your training journal entries:
- Planned workout
- Current bodyweight
- Date and time of the session
- Running goals
- Recovery days
- Cross training workouts
- Weight loss goals
- Sleep patterns
- Calorie intake
- Meal quality
- Mirco breakdown
- Training pace
- Prescribed workout and actual workout completed
- Soreness, aches, and pains
- Distance and sets for speedwork sessions
- Running routes
- Pre- and post-run meals and drinks
- Heart rate
- Running shoe mileage
- Warm up routine
- Cooldown routine
- Short and mid-term running goals
The Minimum to Keep Track of
Don’t feel overwhelmed ff the above proves too much. At a minimum, as a runner, you should monitor your running distances, times, and little else.
Therefore, a typical log entry could be as simple as “3 miles (30:41).” No need to perfect form from the get-go. Just get started and learn how to do it right as you go.
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There you have it. The above are the rules of thumbs for starting and keeping a workout journal. The rest is up to you.
Thank you for dropping by.
Keep Running Strong