I am a freak about agendas and diaries. It is the rare year that I am loyal to a single planner. As a constant list maker, I am always on the lookout for the best way to keep everything organized. I’ve had separate list books and calendars, I’ve combined them in one, I’ve carried fancy folios, and I’ve created my own planners with my meager design skills.
I am no different with workout journals, and every December finds me hunting through bookstores and the internet for the perfect way to record my workouts. Waaaay back in college I got in the habit of keeping a training diary – we had to maintain a detailed log and turn it into the coach every Monday morning for review – and I’ve kept it up through my running and cycling years.
While it is nice to be able to look back on previous seasons to see how my current fitness stacks-up, I’ve kept up the habit primarily because it forces me to think ahead. A training log is a concrete way to put down your races, see the weeks between, and plan a structured schedule of workouts to get you where you want to go.
I’ve never really found the perfect training diary. When I started with the whole cycling-thing I was obsessive about the details: every workout’s RPI, distance, and time were noted, along with route information and a brief narrative of how I felt. Guess how long that lasted? Yah, by June there were more blank pages than recorded workouts. For a time I kept it to the bare minimum: at the end of the week I would note the total distance on a single piece of paper, something I began to regret quickly as I realized I wasn’t maintaining any information that might help me in the future.
The closest I’ve gotten to a perfect diary is Joe Friel’s Cyclist’s Training Diary, which strikes a nice balance between too much and too little information. Still, after using it for the past year I am ready for something different. Even with Friel's book I tended to fall behind in writing down workouts, and there were a couple of times where weeks went by before I got back into the habit (just try to recreate your workouts from a month ago...not fun).
So this year I’m going with the basic – just a plain agenda. Hopefully by not even trying to capture too much information I will do a better job of keeping track of just the right amount of information…