Should I Start a Training Diary?
I grew up with 3 sisters. When I think of the word "diary" I remember the pink, fur covered little notebooks from my childhood. Funny enough, they also had a little lock over the opening that attempted to keep out any unwelcome readers. It didn't work.
So naturally when I think about a training diary my knee-jerk reaction is, "that's silly, I don't need one of those." But after some thought, I've changed my mind. A training diary has a lot of positive outcomes that can help you with your performance. Because at the end of the day, "it's all about performance, that's the name of the game." -MC Spandex
What is a Training Diary?
Well, mine is pink and furry... A training diary can be a simple composition notebook or it could be a fancy moleskin journal. It could also be a digital notebook on your computer. Whatever rocks your boat really. It just needs to be a place where you can write things down. You can even call it a "training journal" if "diary" isn't your thing.
What about TrainingPeaks comments?
I leave comments for my coach on every workout! Isn't that a training diary? Yea, you could make that argument. But I think having a personal training diary allows you to be a bit more open and honest to yourself. Because let's be honest, you don't want to share everything with your coach. A training diary takes it a step further. (But also keep writing those TrainingPeaks comments because those really are helpful for your coach!)
What should be in my Training Diary?
EVERYTHING. But not really. Your training diary can be whatever you want it to be. It's a place for you to be honest with yourself. It's a place for you to think through the ideas and thoughts floating around in your brain. It's a place to take a goal or challenge and actually build it out. This is the fun part of it. You have full reign over what you want it to be. It could be a training log that tracks your progress throughout a fitness plan. Or it could be a scientific journal where you study the complexities of training and performance. Heck, it could even be a picture book! Most likely, it'll end up being a little bit of everything.
Here are a few things I'd consider adding to your training diary:
Goals: Write down your goals. I'd even recommend writing down your top goals on a weekly basis, because a lot of time goals are fluid and dynamic, changing as we go.
Training Tips: Write down anything that helps you along your training journey.
Quotes: Write down inspirational quotes that you can refer back to for motivation.
Feedback: Keep track of things that work and things that don't work so can keep progressing and finding the best methods for training.
Race Analysis: Races provide some of the best learning experiences. Write down those lessons and experiences.
Deep Dives: Interested in a specific training concept? Study it and write down your findings in your training diary.
Why Should I Start a Training Diary?
That's the big question. And the simple answer: because they work.
I'll share a little snippet from my training diary to help explain:
7-17-2022. There's something powerful about putting things down in ink. It gives the thoughts floating in my mind a place to live, a home. It brings what is once just a thought into reality. It takes the invisible and makes it visible. The writing gives birth to the thought. Something that is written will continue to grow. The ink is only the beginning. I hope to write my goals, thoughts, intentions and expectations so they bring fruit in my life. I've been struggling with my own personal discipline in the last few weeks and want that to improve. By writing down these things its like the ink becomes my accountability partner.