5 Reasons to Keep A Training Log

Maybe you think you should just go out and run, just forget about the rest of it. You’ll run, you’ll feel good, you’ll do this if you don’t, you’ll do that. But you’re missing out on the benefits of having a plan, of knowing what you’re doing, and along with that is keeping a training log.

Maybe you think you should just go out and run, just forget about the rest of it. You’ll run, you’ll feel good, you’ll do this if you don’t, you’ll do that. But you’re missing out on the benefits of having a plan, of knowing what you’re doing, and along with that is keeping a training log. So, today, I’m going to give you my five reasons you should keep a training log.

If you haven’t been with me here on the channel before, hit that subscribe button, stick around for more videos about running every Tuesday and Thursday on this show I call Runner’s High. If you haven’t been here before, you don’t know yet, but my name is Jesse Funk. And this is a show where we talk about everything running.

Now, today I want to talk about the training log. It’s something that I’ve been using for a very, very long time. And recently, when I was talking with Patrick Gildea, on the Smart Athlete Podcast, another show I do here on this YouTube channel, comes out on Fridays. Patrick is a former pro runner, and he’s got his training logs for the last 20-some-odd years. He can go back and look and see what was I doing, how did I feel, all those kind of things. Now that’s one thing to look at. But there are five good reasons you should keep a training log.

Now, there’s different ways to keep a training log. I know in college, we have these little printouts, they were in like a little binder like this guy. This, however, is not my training log. I found it and apparently I was trying to build some kind of world like I was talking in college and didn’t do a great job. So, that’s when I founded that. So, that was a nice trip down memory lane, not the one I was looking for my training log. So, you can do that, you can get something nice like this, this is my wife’s training log. You can get these things on Amazon, these are by VeloPress. I forget or who it is that makes these training logs. They’re very, very nice. But something like that is something you can get.

Or what my coach and I do nowadays, is we use a program like Training Peaks, or in particular, we do use Training Peaks. And that looks like this. You can see my training here on the screen, the things that I’ve been doing recently, as we’ve been building back after I had a stress fracture. So, I still swim and bike every week. And then I have four days of running as we’re getting back going. And then soon, hopefully, I will be doing my first race in two years coming up. I’ll have a video on that, Fourth of July. The video obviously will come out afterwards, but looking forward to that.

In any case, having a training log is a very important part of the number one thing I talked about on this channel. And that first reason here is consistency. Having that consistency in some kind of accountability, right, where we say, I’m going to do this thing. I’m going to run every day. I’m going to run every other day. Whatever it is, your plan is that training log keeps you accountable and keeps you consistent, and consistency over time breeds results. So, that is the biggest reason, you should keep a training log, but it’s not the only one.

The second reason you should keep a training log, and this is a big proponent from me, which makes sense given that I’m doing this video is that it is a diagnostic tool, for various reasons. But in particular, if you get injured, if you have a bad race, if you have a bad workout, you have a log of all of the things that you’ve been doing. Did you overload yourself? Have you been feeling bad in the time leading up to that event, whatever that event was, whether it was a race or a workout? Was it something that you ate, if you’re logging your food? You can look in the log and see, is there any pattern that emerges that says this is probably an indication of what went wrong. Now we can move forward and we can say, let’s not do that again. It’s an easy way to look back and know exactly what was happening.

Now, it’s important that you don’t just log, okay, I ran five miles at this pace. Log how you feel. That’s so so important. And when talking about rate of perceived exertion, RPE on this channel, you can actually use a one to 10 scale. The Borg RPE scale is actually larger than that. I think it’s like one to 27 or something odd, but one to 10 is fine.

And if you rate your RPE any given day, and also describe it, say, oh, it was an easy day, I had a rate of perceived exertion of about five out of 10. I felt great. Or you could say something like it was five out of 10, but I also felt fatigued. That can happen. Having that information to look back on, you put it in, and then look back on it and say, oh, I know during this time of the year during this phase of training, I often feel bad and then I recover and I feel better. Those kinds of things help you be consistent Still over time, and get better.

And along those lines is number three. And that is perspective. I mentioned Patrick Gildea in the beginning of this video and how he has his training logs from basically the last 20 years. Now, I don’t have that many, but especially in Training Peaks, I can go back and see, hey, over the last couple years, what have we been doing? How did I feel? What was my volume? Having that perspective, especially if you’re building into something, is nice.

You can say, this is how far I’ve come. I know, from where my training log is, that looks like this, that isn’t actually this thing, my weird fiction writings; once I find it, I know there’s a section like the height of my college training, we were only training eight to 10 hours a week. Now it was in mileage at the time, but that was a big perspective for me for when I got into triathlon training. Because then there was a point, I was doing double that amount in hours in a week.

And so to think about from where I was to double the volume, to say, I’ve come a long ways, it takes a while to get to that kind of training, volume and intensity to know I’m doing pretty well. And even now, I’m not training too much under my college volume and I’m in my early 30s. The perspective here is that not many people can continue, so I could be relatively satisfied that I’m doing a good job.

So, having that perspective helps you on your own journey, take these tidbits out and know that, hey, I’m doing really well or hey, maybe I have lost a little bit of volume or lost a little bit of intensity, but that is because of this. And I am capable, because here it is in the log, here’s the perspective, I know I’m capable of these things, and I can get back to them if I want to. So, that perspective is important, and the only way you’re able to have a good objective perspective, is to have that training log.

Number four is motivation. Now, you might not think that a nice train log is going to give you motivation, but it will. And the reason it gives you motivation is that likely, you’re going to be doing similar workouts over time. Maybe it’s just your long runs. Yeah, that’s 80% of our volume, 78% of our volume as runners probably going to be long runs. But maybe it’s like my favorite workout in college was 1,000 meter repeats.

We do 1,000 meters, 92nd rest, and we do those on repeats. And we’d start out with five, build to the season, do eight to 10 to get ready to race a 5K. You can take a workout like that, that you’ve repeated and say, well, where am I now compared to three months ago, six months ago, last year, and see the difference. Hopefully, see the progress and know that, hey, I can continue to be motivated, because I’m seeing results through the consistency, through all the training, and that feeds the fire.

You already have a little bit of motivation, but it never hurts to have a little bit more. And knowing that you can look back and say, man, I can only do three of these intervals to begin with. And now I’m doing six, now I’m doing nine at the same speed. That’s a big trip too because if you’re going the same speed, but you’re keeping that same speed for a longer period of time, especially when we’re talking intervals, that’s a big win. You don’t just have to be faster. So, having that motivation is huge. And being able to feed your own motivation through keeping that training log is a big deal.

But number five is something I want you to really think about. And this is kind of the point of a lot of things that I do here at Solpri. Yeah, we make products for athletes, but I put out this show, I do the podcast because I want you to reflect. I want you to think, I want you to use your mind. Think about who you are, reflect on where you’ve been, reflect on what you want to do. Look at that training log and say, those are my favorite workouts. That’s what I love to do.

That’s how I know I’m generally not interested in the marathon. It’s kind of the thing to do as you get older. But I just love 5K, 10K, I love going fast. Those are my favorite workouts. I know that internally because I’ve been doing this for so long. But also because like I said before, my favorite workout in college was that 1,000 meter repeats because you can go fast, and it’s kind of long, and it’s this high intensity interval, but you have to keep after it.

I feed on that stuff. And seeing that in my training log helps validate those ideas and point me in the right direction to know that, okay, now that I moved past my journey to try to be a pro triathlete, which didn’t quite work out. You can hear my story in various episodes of the podcast or on the Executive Athletes Podcast or Athletes Mindset Academy. I also did an episode for them. In any case, you have the ability to reflect and say, these are the things I want to do.

And I know since I’m past that, let’s come back, 5K, 10K. Like, that’s my bread and butter. Yeah, I’m getting older, maybe I’m not able to be as fast as I used to be, but I’m going to give it my damn best. That’s what I’m going to do, because that’s what I love to do. And having that training log, helps point you in the right direction. If you aren’t quite sure if you go down a road, and you say, man, I really loved doing this thing, but maybe I love something else more.

That objective perspective in your training log, the things that you wrote down time after time after time, when you reflect on them, help you not only see a clearer path forward the things you want to do. But they help you reflect on how I progressed, how I feel about myself in my workouts, how I talk to myself when it’s just me logging for myself, what’s my internal voice. All of those kinds of things that play into who we are and how we perform can be put in the training logs so you can look at them at a later date, reflect on them, and grow athletically and as a person.

So, do you have any questions for me? Leave them down in the comments below, I’d love to do a video for you in the future. And I’ll see you next time on the next episode of Runner’s High.


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