Do you keep a log of all your training runs?
I’ve always found it really important to keep a training log – I believe it’s a crucial tool for improving your running. You can use a log to look back at the build-up to races that went particularly well and to see what you were doing in your training at that time that may have led to your strong performance. This information also helps you assess what shape you’re in and allows you to identify aspects of your training that need attention. Over time you can use your log to fine-tune your training and tweak things to improve your prep, including the taper, for a big event.
Your training diary is also an important tool for analysing what happened before a bad performance or in the time leading up to an injury. Sometimes you can pinpoint where you went wrong – maybe a sudden increase in volume or intensity, too much running on a particular surface or not taking enough rest days.
How much needs to be noted down is a matter of preference. When logging a run, record the duration or distance, where you did the run (so you know what the terrain was like), pace (this can be perceived pace – e.g, easy, steady or hard – rather than actual pace) and how you felt, such as if you were very sore or tired from yesterday’s session, or if you felt particularly good.
More information is needed when you’re making a record of an interval session. You should note the length of your warm-up and warm-down, the distance of the reps, rep times, recovery interval times, surface, weather conditions (as this can affect your times), how you felt, and also mention any injury niggles. And don’t forget to make a note of any other factors that may have affected your performance, such as exhaustion from work.