Whether I’m in the middle of the off-season or starting a training block for my big “A” race, keeping a journal of my training details has helped me identify important factors which contribute to my personal best. Training plans keep me on track towards my race goals and my fitness/activity trackers automatically keep track of completed workout data. Recording additional information such as sleep, nutrition, mood and weather, can help to piece together fitness trends and when I come back to it, help me see the big picture. I’m a “plan-crastinator” — I love to plan ahead, but I always struggle with executing my plans in a timely fashion. When I make the time to journal, I’m more likely to stay on track!
You may already use a combination of apps to record your workout data. Garmin Connect, Strava, RunKeeper, MapMyRide record workouts and have areas where you can enter your detailed notes. MyFitnessPal works with the aforementioned apps to automatically sync workout data and also has areas for exercise notes and nutrition information. TrainingPeaks will compile all the data from the previous apps and in the premium edition, you can plan ahead and share the information with your coach. These apps also record key information such as equipment used (Shoes. Bike. Watch.) and in Garmin Connect, depending on your equipment model, can also record sleep time and activity level.
Do you prefer the traditional pen and paper journals? There are specialized journals such as the Believe Training Journal, Bicycling Training Journal, The Runner’s Diary and Triathlete’s Training Diary among others, which contain informative articles, workouts and specialized prompts to collect all the important training information. You can also use blank books, dated journals and calendars to collect the information you need to be successful.
Here are a few prompts to help you start your training journal:
- What are your goals? (Big picture goals + weekly goals)
- Date, workout, total mileage, equipment, weather/conditions
- How did you feel during and after the workout?
- Other information critical to your success (heart rate zones, sleep, weight, nutrition)
Adding a training journal to your arsenal can help you focus on your goals and figure out what contributed to an awesome (or awful) workout for ideal race day preparation. Your journal history can also highlight your improvement when you need the extra motivation; which comes in handy when you’re feeling like you’re stuck in a rut.
Olivia is a Moxie Cycling ambassador and blog contributor. Check out her bio here!