Some people have said “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over hoping for different results.” Too often though, we do that in our training. We do the same thing week after week, season after season, and we wonder why we don’t get any better. Want to break out of that rut? Take a look at your training log and see what you’ve been doing and what you should change!

Oh… you haven’t been keeping a training log? Here’s 3 reasons to keep a training log, and 3 ways to do it!

1. Track your progress

This is the most basic of the functions of keeping a training journal. Keeping track of your workouts week to week and month to month can help you see how well you are progressing…. or not.

Basically, you will be able to see a over time that you can complete increasingly longer or more intense workouts. You also will be able to see if you take a step back in fitness. I recently had a few days off because of sickness, and the way it fell, I had a huge break from running specifically. I came back and went for a run and was quickly able to see that my running fitness had taken a hit. While I knew that right off the bat from just my memory and feeling that I was not running as well, I was able to confirm that by looking in my log and seeing I had done a similar workout before and performed a lot better. Multiply this over a whole season and you will have a better understanding of your progress.

2. Plan your season

You are staring down a new season or training block, and you want to know what to do. Look at your training log! That’s right, look back at what worked last season and move forward from there. You always want your training to be progressive, so if you want to get faster you need to work longer or harder than last year. You can’t take a step back and in training and expect to move forward.

Now, I know, your training will go through phases, and that’s not what I’m talking about. What I do mean is that overall, your trimming needs to be moving forward. More hours, more intensity, or more TSS (a measure of BOTH time and intensity).

This also works for week to week planning. I’m leading up to my first A race of the season, and while I was planning out my workouts, I was tempted to put in my key brick workout so similar each week that I wasn’t going to be making any progress. Same time, same intensity, nothing different. That wouldn’t be good to move me towards peace fitness on race day. When I realized that by looking back at my previous weeks, I was able to adjust and move forward.

3. Review, review, review

You always need to be reviewing! Your mind can get fuzzy on the details, so having something objectively recorded will help your review progress. Didn’t have a good race? Take a look at what you did! Had a personal best on race day? Take a look at what you did differently, and keep it up! I covered this in the previous point a little with planning, but we always need to be reviewing! If you don’t see where you’ve been, you’ll keep going in circles.

I hope I’ve convinced you to start logging your training! Now go forth and use what you’ve learned! Not sure where to start? Stay tuned for more info over the next few posts on the training log! (You can subscribe to get these posts delivered directly to your inbox!)

What has been the best benefit to you in keeping a training log? Let me know in the comments or on twitter!