If I could give one piece of advice to any runner, it would be to always keep a training log.
(. . . although “always wear sunscreen” isn’t bad either)
For the last two years or so I have been diligent about writing in my own training log. I always include time, distance, heart rate if I have it (which I usually do) and how I felt. I often add more: something about the route, who I ran with. Sometimes I get really detailed and include conversations or thoughts that ran through my head (no pun intended).
Looking back on my training logs offers several practical benefits — it gives you the ability to compare your fitness to the past and to try to pinpoint what training sessions may have caused an injury or possibly led to a break-out race, to name a few. But it is the intangibles that keeps me perusing old workouts and training runs for hours. It’s those entries where I elaborate and go beyond the numbers that are golden.
My running career as I know it is dated. The end of my 2011 track season will mark the end of 9 years of competing for my school’s cross country and track teams (Royal HS and NAU) and 18 years of competition with some sort of team (Running Rebels youth track club). Almost sounds depressing, but it’s not. I have so many fond memories of training and racing with coaches and teammates, whom are now lifelong friends, that I will hold onto. Some of these memories I will be able to relive through my log entries whenever I want, and, unfortunately, some will likely be forgotten.
As I write this, I realize this is at the core of why I started writing a blog about training in the first place. For the most part, it is just a public way of remembering my races and workouts, and sometimes what lies in between.
So if you are a runner (which I would think is fairly likely if you are a reader of “runpd.com”) grab a pen and paper after your next run (or log onto your online training log of choice) and write down something about it; don’t let it be another forgotten run.
You can thank me later.