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How to keep a training journal

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A great way to stay motivated and accountable, whether you’re preparing for an event or just to get fit and stay in shape, is to keep a record of your training.

A great way to stay motivated and accountable, whether you’re preparing for an event or just to get fit and stay in shape, is to keep a record of your training. Writing down your training details and monitoring your habits over time allows you to look for patterns, and measure your improvement.

A well kept training journal can tell you how fast, how far, and for how long you, say ran for example, during your last session, giving you a mark to improve upon in the future. It's also a great way to write down your training goals, and break them down into manageable chunks.

A training journal can be as simple or complicated as you like. Here are some of my tips on formats you can use, and what details to record

What format to use

  • A notepad or exercise book
  • Your diary
  • A spreadsheet
  • A smartphone
  • An online training tool

What details to record

  • Your short and long-term goals
  • Time and date
  • How long you ran for
  • How far you ran*
  • How fast you ran*
  • Average speed*
  • Calories burned*
  • Steps taken (using a pedometer)
  • Heart rate (using a heart rate monitor)
  • Weekly or monthly training plans - what you hope to achieve in the near future
  • Your actual daily workouts - How closely did you stick to your training plan
  • Your thoughts and comments about the run

* You will need a smartphone app or GPS tracker to obtain some data

Do you keep a training journal? What format do you use? Are there any smartphone apps you'd recommend to record your progress? What training details do you feel are most important to keep track of?