At first, I poo-poo’d the idea of keeping a training log. I thought I was working out pretty well and certainly every day. But, as I’m serious about what I’m doing, keeping a log seemed like a good idea. Many expert sites suggested it. So, I created one and have been regularly keeping it up on this blog.
Then, after I’ve amassed a month of entries, I’ve noticed several things. First, the gaps between workout has not been consistent. That means inconsistent results and less advancement toward the goals I need to hit. The gap became readily apparent after the outside of my lower left leg became sore. There was 5 days between runs. And 5 days between tyre drags.
Far too long.
Immediately the value of the log became clear. Not only have I not been completely consistent in my training, the public nature of the posting forces me to be more solid. It’s not like the workouts are slack and consist of an evening in front of the television with a bucket of double-butter popcorn. Quite the contrary. I’ve had to adjust my diet for more food intake in order to keep up with this schedule. There is still over a year before I plan to be on the ice but imperfect practice makes just that.
My schedule shows I’m posting decent miles and time. And, it should allow me to gauge if I’m over-training, too. Of all the anathemas of preparing for expeditions, getting hurt is the worst. When the outside muscle on left calf started hurting, I knew I had met the limit. But the limit wasn’t training – it was electrolytes. (A whole other blog entry).
Now it becomes much easier to see if I’ve run every day, every other day or dragged the tyre looking back through the weeks. I can then match it to the ALE training schedule to see if I’m on course.
One thing, too, about the training log. It can be easily forgotten. But, with the nifty iPod Nano, keeping a historic log of workouts is easier. That way when I’m unable to put things in the log, I’ve got a digital copy that I can load up after a few days. The combination of the spreadsheet log, iPod Nano and my bike’s Shimano Flight deck computer, I’m able to track the workouts pretty well. Or at least rebuild them.
As I’m only 4 months out from my training run to Yellowstone, it’s important to make sure I stay on track. The training log helps make sure I know what I’ve done, how fast I’ve gone and if I’ve improved at all.