Sunday 23 November 2014

Catherina McKiernan: Write way to improve your running

Catherina McKiernan

Published 15/07/2014 | 02:30

Height of fitness: I used to train by running 90 miles a week.
Height of fitness: I used to train by running 90 miles a week.

I was cleaning the other day when I came across some of my old training diaries from the start of my running career.

I couldn't believe the amount of time I spent training. During the height of my career, I ran 90 miles a week. I wasn't just jogging, a lot of my training included long fast sessions. It took that workload to compete against the best in the world.

I took great pleasure sitting down in the evening to fill in my training diary. Nowadays people have much more fancy ways of keeping record of their runs, like on a spreadsheet or weblog.

I found keeping such a diary became a source of motivation and particularly worked well if I was struggling to maintain momentum. Even if you are motivated, you still gain insights when you add up all the miles you've run.

Keeping a training log helps you to learn about yourself as a runner. It's your own personal running history, which you can look back on and learn from as you go along. A proper log shows what works and what doesn't. Performance trends and patterns become clear.

The following are a list of ideas to log in your diary:

1 Pulse rate

Count resting heart rate for one minute. This gave me a good indication if I had recovered fully from the previous day's training. Your resting heart rate for one day does not tell you much, but by observing the pattern it gave me a great indication of fatiguing workouts and the number of easier days required for recovery.

2 Sleep

Track how many hours sleep you get and see how this affects your performance.

3 Diet

Watch what you eat. You may discover certain foods improve your performance.

4 Weight

What was your body weight when you ran your best race? The lightest weight is never the weight at which you are the fastest.

5 Exercise

Write down the time of day you run and do ancillary exercises at.

6 Conditions

Record weather conditions. This will tell you which conditions you work best in.

7 Surfaces

Keep track of the surface you ran on.

8 Mood

Exercise can impact on your mood. Record how you felt at the start of the run and if your mood changed.

9 Injuries

Note any unusual aches or discomfort you feel.

10 Weather

Pay attention to the atmosphere as a pretty scenery may improve your performance.

For all of these reasons, keep a training diary. When you look back, you notice your progress. Exercise frees many people from everyday worries and helps them use their minds more creatively.

Get into the habit of logging your training and let your thoughts flow from pen to paper.

Twitter: @cat_mckiernan

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