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One of my 2015 goals was to start tracking my running mileage and strength training workouts. Though 2015 marks my unofficial tenth anniversary as a runner (it’s a long story), I’ve never really taken the time to write down the details of my workout (other than back in the day when I used dailymile regularly). At the end of last year, I had someone ask me how many miles I had run in 2014, and I genuinely had no idea. My training varies from week to week and month to month based on whatever type of event I’m training for next, so I couldn’t even give it a best estimate. So, as of the first of the year, I started writing everything down. To be honest, I’m surprised I hadn’t done it sooner. There are a number of reasons why logging your miles and workouts could be beneficial. Let’s review:
This, in my opinion, is the number one reason to keep a training log, and so it gets the number one spot on this list. Two huge and unfortunately common mistakes I see both in the gym and in runners are those who increase their training volume in huge jumps, likely resulting in injury or burnout, and those who stay stagnant at the exact same weights/sets/repetitions/miles/speed/etc for months and months, and wonder why they aren’t seeing any progress. The principle of progression, one of the seven main principles of exercise, states that overload of exercise should occur in gradual progression rather than in major bursts. Keeping track of your running mileage will allow you to analyze your running progression, as well as ensure that consistent, yet gradual gains are being made.
Though already mentioned above, injury prevention deserves it’s own category. As we just discussed, tracking your mileage, weights, etc. allows you to analyze your training progression. In addition to ensuring you are making forward progress, analyzing your training will allow you to make sure that you are not over training. Over training or running too many miles too soon can result in both acute and chronic injuries, as well as lead to a dreaded case of burnout.
Maybe it’s just me, but there is something so satisfying as logging a workout (I know, and it took me this long to discover it). Similar to keeping a food journal, recording your running miles or logging your workouts will help motivate you to continue with your training plan. Knowing that must put in a workout before you can record your miles, reps, or WOD, or instead leave the page blank, can be enough incentive to get you out of the door. Further, physically seeing the mileage and weight add up on paper is motivation to continue making progress with your training.
Trial and Error
After a particularly successful race, it is useful to have a training log to refer back to in order to see what successful training tactics were used. Alternatively, after a disappointing or unsuccessful race, a training log may reveal what errors were made during your training program. This works just as well for a successful training cycle in the gym where you made gains, or perhaps a training cycle you struggled through. Having access to particular statistics and notes on your training will aide in building future training plans for upcoming running and racing success.
“Dear Diary, today was the worst run ever.” Sure, it sounds cheesy, but just like a diary, scrapbook, or photo album, a running log may help preserve memories from races or training runs. Keeping notes or photos in your log in addition to simply recording miles will help you to recall specific details of races or training runs. Further, it’s pretty cool to be able to look back over the course of a year (or even ten years!) and see how far you’ve come with your training and racing.
So now that we’ve got the pros of keeping a training log out of the way, the next question is “how do I start?” In a world of computers and smartphone and apps as far as the eye can see, I am still a pen and paper kind of girl. And I know I’m not the only one.
Recently through a few back and forth tweets, I discovered Journal Menu, a company that creates custom journals for all sorts of uses: strength training, running, yoga, day planning, and even life in general. Every journal is custom designed and handmade in the USA, featuring waterproof and rip resistant covers, a durable spiral binding and nice smooth paper. Erica, owner and founder of Journal Menu, reached out to me and asked if I would like to give one of their journals a try. I agreed, but struggled to pick out a journal to try. So I told Erica what I do:
I run. I love trails. I love the gym. I sometimes do non traditional workouts, but sometimes they are very standard.
Next thing you know, I’m sent this beauty:
On the inside is a plethora of workout journal information, from space for standard weekly entries (with motivating quotes on each page)…
…to informative pages such as pace charts, marathon training plans, Hero WODS, goal setting, and more. Not sure what kind of workout to do? There are suggestions right there in the journal. It doesn’t get much more convenient than that.
I love the concept of Journal Menu, as it allows you to build the journal specifically to your needs. No more searching office good stores high and low for something that will work as a workout log (I can’t be the only one who struggled on January first to find something I even semi liked). The website walks you through the entire design process, from what kind of activities you will be tracking, to how many pages you might need, even down to little details, such as will you be tracking your weight in lbs or kg . The possibilities for the waterproof, rip resistant cover are endless, from your own design or photo to one of the premade designs.
The journals start at a very affordable cost of $14.99, and increase based upon specific extras that you may chose, like vinyl pockets and dividers. It’s not too late to start recording your 2015 adventures, so check out Journal Menu at www.journalmenu.com.
Erica was kind enough to offer up a journal to one lucky reader. To enter, use the rafflecopter below. Winner will be randomly chosen and announced on 3/27. Good luck!
*disclaimer* I was provided a personalized journal from Journal Menu at no cost, however, all opinions stated are my own.