Keeping a Training Journal

The best athletes in the world all have one thing in common; they systematically train and try to improve the technical, tactical, physical and mental factors associated with their sport. There is a constant need to pay attention to results (in both training and competition), and a coach’s comments, as well as to monitor subjective feelings of well-being and focus. The most efficient and effective way for an athlete to monitor and track their progress is through the use of a training journal.

 

Training journals are effective in that they provide the athlete with an organized and guided format to record their training regimen, training commentary and an assessment of their performance. When viewed retrospectively, athletes are able to see trends in their performance. Dr. David Cox, a professor of psychology at Simon Fraser University says, “In my work as a sport psychologist it has been my experience that most successful athletes keep a written account of their daily life.  A journal is an effective way to analyze your training, help you plan your development and maintain accountability as an athlete.”

But which journal is right for you? There are a variety of training journals available on the market today, from simple note books to intricate diaries that document even the minutest details of an athlete’s day-to-day life. There are also choices between the traditional notebook form and subscribing to an online journal.  While many online training journals offer an impressive number of features including downloads for heart rate monitors, power meters and GPS systems, the convenience of entering information before or after a workout is usually impossible. Online journals are helpful in allowing the athlete to share their journal with a distant coach, but because athletes are unlikely to have access to a computer at the side of the field or the court, they have to wait to make their entries, which often compromises consistency.

Which brings us back to the question, which journal is right for you? The power of a training journal emerges when it is used routinely over time. More information is not always better. The crucial factor in assessing your physical progression doesn’t revolve around the quantity of information recorded, but of the user’s consistency. Most importantly, remember that each athlete is different. While it may be extremely relevant for one athlete to record how many calories they have taken in throughout the day it might not be as crucial to someone else. The greatest thing about a training journal is that it can be personalized to your own specifications and needs.

The Athlete's Training Journal

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After experimenting with online journals, SportMedBC has recently brought back its popular paperback version. “The Athlete’s Training Journal,” is a traditional training diary that is sold exclusively through SportMedBC ($10 plus GST, Shipping & Handling as applicable).

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