Goals & Training: Write ’em Down

Summer is flying by, which tends to happen when you are training for a half marathon with your running team, and at the same time training for a full marathon. Two and a half weeks have gone by since the last article about doing mid-year goal review, but it is not due to a lack of topics to write about. Since that last article, I have been thinking about a follow up. Goals, training logs, PRs, and social networks for athletes all have an important quality in common, the fact that you have to write or record the activities to effectively keep track of them. Can you establish goals and not write them down? Could you improve your fitness level by running and not logging your workouts? Could you participate in races without caring about your times and working to improve them? The answer of course to these questions is yes, but I believe there is power in having the information recorded that you can refer to and track your progress again.

Here are the various ways I am trying to practice the “write ’em down” principle:

Document your fitness goals – this can be in a notebook, spreadsheet, or other electronic form

Log each of your Training Runs – I keep a simple spreadsheet with columns for date, distance and notes, but I also log my workouts on Daily Mile (more below).

Record your Personal Records and Race Results – again, this could be accomplished with pen and paper, but I like using a spreadsheet. Logging each of my races also helps me track my goal of running a half marathon or greater in every state.

Future Races – this is my race bucket list. I get excited when I think about possibly running the Big Sur International Marathon, the Bermuda Marathon or the Dublin Marathon. I may never do any of these races, but out of dreams comes accomplishments.

Make an Appointment with yourself – your training runs are just as important as conference calls and dentist appointments, therefore, put them on your calendar. I have only recently tried to schedule my runs during the week and I so far I can see how this is beneficial. On Sunday, look at your schedule for the week. Are there going to be days where you may not be able run during your normal time? It’s better to account for that now then discover when that day arrives.

By having this information at your disposal, you can easily track your progress as you strive to become a better runner. By sharing your training and races on a social networking site like Daily Mile, you get the added benefit of receiving encouragement and inspiration from other runners. There are amazing and inspirational people on Daily Mile (and Twitter), and while I like receiving words of encouragement to keep me focused on my goal or to bounce back from a bad run, I also enjoy reading about others’ training and providing some encouraging comments when I can.

How do you keep track of your training and races, and what do you gain from the information?

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