Why Keep a Training Journal?

A Pretty Place To Play Why Keep a Training Journal

If it's not of Strava it didn't happen. Runners LOVE to log their training. Stats and charts really get runners going, and nothing beats seeing your milage stack up, after all there's a reason why milage challenges are so popular. Bt while it's satisfying to track the miles, you can get way more out of your training journal. 

I'm pretty old school when it comes to my training journal, I love to write things down and much prefer a notepad and pen to logging my runs on Strava or RunKeeper. I like how I can flip through the pages and look back on what I've done, track changes when I feel anxious about my training (which has happened quite a few times since I changed things up and reduced my milage) and remind myself of all the work I've done. 

One of the reasons I like keeping a written journal is because it gives me space to reflect on how my training makes me feel, in a way that the various apps can't. I can jot down notes on what I ate, how much I drank and, more importantly, where my head was at before, during and after each run. As a mindful mover those reflections are invaluable, and I've learnt so much about myself and my performance. It's made me braver and helped me develop more trust in myself, which is particularly important when you're on a year long journey to an ultra marathon. That's a long time to train, to focus on training and to maintain belief in the process. 

The biggest take away from this training cycle (which I can't believe is nearly over) has been understanding more about what I need psychologically to perform. Part of the reason I chose to work with Chevy was because I knew that spending a year training for an ultra marathon would be mentally tough, and I wanted a coach who understood, really understood, what it's like to have a mental illness. Since we started working together he has encouraged me to think hard about how I feel and where my head is at, and then to adjust my training accordingly. I've learnt that I have no business doing speed work when my head is distracted by stress and anxiety, that it's better to take the day off than push through and damage myself. I've also learnt when I perform the best, when I'm well rested, when my mind is peaceful and happy. I've learnt that getting my head straight the night before a run is key, positive affirmations work and that when I trust my training and my body things come together. 

Two weeks to go and my training journal is really coming into its own. As maranoia grows (not helped by a chest infection that has had me sidelined for the best part of a week), my journal is like a soothing blankie that reminds me where I've been, where I'm going and crucially that this marathon is just a piece of a much (much) bigger puzzle. Which is really nice. 

Do you keep a training journal? What do you reflect on?

*image: Anna Rachel Photography