Training logs – what to record
|December 19, 2015
|Posted by Melinda under Uncategorized
Switching from electronic records back to paper means not only that I’m recording differently, but what I’m recording also changes.
Here’s a screen shot from my electronic database training log over the last couple of years:
One reason it’s so easy to record lots of details is because I can utilize dropdown menus and other tools that require no more thought then a click of a button. Information entered on this form was automatically converted into a line entry that looked a little bit like an Excel spreadsheet, that could be exported to Excel and then I could DO THINGS with it.
I have four years worth of electronic data and I’ve never really done anything with it that I couldn’t do with a paper record. Going forward I can’t track that minutiae of data in my paper logs without it being tedious and un-fun.
Un-fun is NOT synonymous with motivating. Logging should be satisfying – it’s the pat on the back for making good decisions and a kick in the rear when I don’t.
With that in mind I’ve gone back to a physical system that has worked well for me in the past. Here’s the basics.
It’s based on a calendar book.
In spite of being a bit of a data nut (no duh?) I’ve realized the motivating part of logging is the act of filling in white space on a page in that box that is designated for today, and watching the mileage totals build up over a week, month, and year. A calendar is perfect because there is a box for every day and I can see how the runs and rides work out spatially over time.
There’s space for some thoughts.
Daily I jot down a few sentences about how my day or workout or ride went. This sort of release is really important to me in the moment although I have learned that it’s not particularly useful for the future me. Thus there’s no reason to expound for paragraph after paragraph. If it was that enlightening then I should write it in a blog post. 🙂
Essential data recording.
I also include:
- Total time of the run or ride
- Type of run or activity
- Injuries or soreness
- How hard the run felt, my mental attitude, horse’s attitude. Most efficiently logged by smiley/sad faces or “+”, “-” signs next to the work out.
- Shoes used (running only)
I refocus often.
I usually don’t schedule my training in weekly blocks, preferring to take a slightly longer view of a training “block” that usually lasts anywhere from 10 days to 6 weeks depending on the purpose of the training block. So what am I doing on a weekly basis if that’s not what my training schedule is based on?
One thing I think IS useful to do every 7 days is to define a focus at the beginning of the week and then do a short recap summery at the end of the week. Especially if things are busy and it would be easy to let entire days and weeks slip by without evaluating what is working and what isn’t.
Here’s what the weekly view in my running journal looks like:
Here’s the ponies’ version:
Watch the miles pile up.
I crunch datas monthly and just for funsie’s keep an annual total. The data that is front and center? Miles run or ridden, and the number and type of sessions.
I also want to be able to appreciate how workouts are clustered and performed spatially so having a way to plug in numbers and sessions across the month and year is important to me.
The running journal has a page set up that works better then the typical monthly view on the calendar because I can view six months at a time. I’ll go back and color code with a highlighter which runs were easy, tempo, intervals, hill repeats, long runs etc. There’s also enough space to define what training block I’m in – right now it’s “post partum recovery” from now until Jan 1st.
The ponies this year were a little tricky because I don’t have enough space to set up a grid like above, but I also don’t have a monthly view. This was my compromise:
I keep a running tab on some blank pages in the back counting miles AND non-mileage sessions.
So I can visualize spatially what is happening I’ll use color coded highlighting on the mini calendar (one color per horse highlighting the day they were worked) so that I can see distribution of rides and session. We aren’t in 2016 yet so nothing has been filled in. It’s not quite as elegant as a monthly view or the grid, but it will work!
But what about…?
There are other stats that I care about that need to be tracked over the year(s) that for simplicity I tracked separately. For running this is shoe mileage and PR’s. For horses it is a tack inventory that lists when I purchased significant pieces of tack with any other notes. I’ve given up trying to track the mileage of tack because it’s too cumbersome to record which pad-bit-saddle-girth that I’m using at each ride or session.
Hope this inspired you to start a training log of your own, or even gave you an idea or two of making an existing logging system work better for you.