Why you need a training diary

Imagine achieving something incredible and not being able to remember what it was that you did or how you did it… that would suck, right! Investing in a training logbook of any kind is a simple and cost-effective way to track and reflect on your progress. These logbooks can range from the very simple to the slightly more complicated and costly, but each has their place to help you on your fitness journey; after all, you can’t manage what you can’t measure. 

And training diaries aren’t just for the best in the world on their hunt for marginal gains, podiums, and silverware. A critical, yet often overlooked, tool in this journey is the training diary or logbook. Here's why incorporating one into your active lifestyle is not just beneficial but essential for optimising performance and recovery across all sports and fitness activities.

Prior Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance

It’s our golden rule, the 6 Ps, underlining the importance of purposeful planning and preparation; it’s the foundation of success and for good reason. At the heart of every successful training program lies meticulous planning and preparation.

A training diary acts as a blueprint, guiding athletes through their daily, weekly, and monthly objectives. It's not just about logging miles run or weights lifted; it's about documenting the nuanced aspects of your training - from the quality of sleep and dietary habits to mood and energy levels. This 360-degree approach ensures that your preparation is aligned with your goals, enabling a holistic strategy to performance enhancement and injury prevention.

You Can’t Manage What You Can’t Measure

A training diary is much more than a record of physical achievements; it's a reflective tool that offers insights into what works, what doesn't, and most importantly, why. By consistently tracking your progress, you can identify patterns and triggers that affect your performance. This self-awareness is pivotal in fine-tuning your training approach, allowing for adjustments that cater to your body's unique needs and responses. Furthermore, seeing tangible progress can be a significant motivational booster, reinforcing your commitment to your sport or fitness journey.

Choosing the right training diary for you

With the evolution of technology, the traditional handwritten logbook now shares the stage with a variety of digital solutions. Each with their own pros and cons. But to help you figure out which is best for you, we have done all the analysis. Check it out below.


Handwritten Logbook or Diary

Pros:

  • Offers a deeply personal touch, allowing for freedom in expression and the physical act of writing, which some find enjoyable.
  • No reliance on technology, ensuring that your training records are always accessible wherever you go.
  • You can find templates and pre-designed versions online which can tailor to a range of experience levels, sports, or activities. 

Cons:

  • Risk of damage or loss, which could result in losing valuable data.
  • Limited searchability and no automatic analysis capabilities, making it harder to track long-term progress and trends without having to manually enter the data into another system.

 If you are looking for a high-quality and ready-to-go logbook, we would highly recommend these from Protrackr Logbooks. With specific logbooks for gym, running, and triathlon too.

Digital Notes or Specialist Apps (e.g., MyFitnessPal)

Pros:

  • Instant data entry and access to historical information, enhancing the ability to monitor progress over time.
  • Integration with other fitness devices and apps allows for a comprehensive overview of your health and training metrics.

Cons:

  • You may be limited to your choice of app because of the device you are using.
  • Using a specialist app may give you less options for customisation as you are restricted to using the features and design of that app.

 

Spreadsheets

Pros:

  • Offers unparalleled customisation and data manipulation, making it ideal for detailed analysis and tracking of complex training programs.
  • Data can be easily shared with coaches or trainers for feedback and adjustments.

Cons:

  • Requires a certain level of technical skill to set up and maintain effectively.
  • The static nature of spreadsheets means they lack the interactive features of specialised training apps.

 

Online Training Diaries (e.g., TrainingPeaks, TriDot, RunDot)

Pros:

  • Tailored specifically for athletes, with advanced features such as training plans, predictive performance modelling, and integration with training devices.
  • Community and social features enable sharing and comparison with peers, as well as professional feedback.

Cons:

  • The cost of subscriptions can add up, making it a more significant investment compared to free or one-time purchase options.
  • The complexity and breadth of features may be overwhelming for beginners or those with simpler training needs. 

Triathletes...this one is for you!

If you are a triathlete or multisport enthusiast, you might be interested in giving TriDot a ‘tri’… see what we did there. Our in-house staff member Ben (aka CoachBen) is also a professional triathlon coach and chooses TriDot to help him support people in achieving their triathlon goals.

TriDot is a next generation AI training platform designed for triathletes and triathlon coaches to enhance their preparation and performance and is now the official training platform of IRONMAN.

Through big data AI and machine learning, TriDot’s optimisation engine helps athletes achieve their best results, in up to 30% less training time, and with 2.9x fewer injuries too!

Gone are the days of static and unreactive training, with TriDot, triathletes can experience truly personalised, and optimised training with or without a coach.

You can get your first 2 weeks free using this link – just click here. After that, there are a range of plans, suitable for every budget, including premium 1:1 coaching with certified TriDot coaches such as our very own CoachBen! 

Creating Healthy Habits

Adopting a training diary, regardless of the format, is a commitment to your athletic and personal growth. It's a space where goals are set, challenges are noted, and victories are celebrated. It encourages a disciplined yet flexible approach to training, one that respects the body's needs while pushing its limits.

As you continue your fitness journey, remember that the best training diary is the one that you will consistently use. It should fit seamlessly into your routine, providing a blend of motivation, insight, and accountability.

If you or someone you know is passionate about sports or fitness, sharing this article could be the nudge they need to start or enhance their training diary journey. A well-maintained training log is more than just a collection of numbers; it's a roadmap to personal bests and beyond. So, share this knowledge, and let's help each other unlock our full potential.

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