This article was written by the club’s performance coach Kev Harding. If you ever wondered how how a diary can help you get the most from your running, read on!
Motivation, Motivation, Motivation!
Keeping a running diary; that’s for anoraks! That was an exclamation I overheard at the mob match many years ago. By this time I had given up racing but my running diary was still on the bookshelf collecting dust. When I got home I dusted it off and had a read. The memories came flooding back: experiences from brilliant to despair. Then I asked myself “what was the point ?” and this was my conclusion.
The running diary was a tool I used to plan, monitor and motivate myself to reach the goals I set myself. You’ll find that most if not all serious sports competitors do the same including track and road athletes.
It can be difficult to stay on track with any plan. A running diary/journal can empower you to make it possible to successfully see your goals through to completion, no matter tough they may at first appear.
Since everyone has a different way of doing things, there is no strict guideline on how to use, how often you update, or how much information you need to include. It is your diary and you use it in the way that best suits you. Tracking your personal progress on a daily basis – setting long-term goals and following through is an incredibly rewarding experience.
There are diaries/journals a plenty on the internet these days for you to explore. But these are the basics that I used in the good old days of pen and paper.
Use one page for each week with the current week’s planned training sessions at the top.
Then make an entry for every training or racing day featuring Day, date, time, session, route used, time (s) weather, mood, and summary eg.
- Monday 23/5/11. 18.30 Timed 3 mile pace judgement (10k pace). Idless loop. Cold, dry, fresh NW breeze. Rubbish day at work, feeling tired from long run yesterday. Time 24.30. Summary. 25 seconds down on last month, But ok considering mood and weather. Slight niggle in left calf in last mile.
- Wednesday 25/5/11. 17:30. 10 x 150 yard Hills. Allotment Hill. Warm overcast hardly any breeze. Worried about the calf. Times: 44.2, 41.8, 42.3, 42.2, 42.3, 42.6, 42.4, 42.3, 42.4, 42.0. Summary After warm up the calf felt fine, concentrated on stretches before efforts. Confidence back, averaged 1 second faster than last session (24/2/11)
Now for the motivation: every time you have an exceptionally good session/experience or set a PB put the diary entry in bright red. Whenever you are finding it tough either through mood, physical tiredness or injury, thumb through the diary/journal but only look at the red entries and completely ignore the other entries. Take a few moments to replay any one session/race think how good it felt and picture yourself at the end of the session or finish line in your mind and make the vision bigger bolder and brighter. Then repeat the experience twice more and then put the diary away…until tomorrow.
Kev Harding, May 2011