By Josh Sroufek, Director, Training Programs & Athlete Performance, Elite Athletic Development / CrossFit Arlington Heights / CrossFit Axis
How many times has the most frustrating part of a WOD been trying to remember how much weight to load on your bar? Or what pace you should hit on your 2k row? Or recall your best time so you can dig in and set a new PR?
Starting and maintaining a training log is as simple as grabbing a spiral notebook from the drugstore, and regularly recording basic stats like completion time, rounds logged, reps tallied, and weight used.
In the time it takes you to finish your post-WOD recovery drink or snack, a few additional entries to your training log can provide tremendous benefit. Here are just a few of the many reasons to keep a training log.
Set Goals. Use your training log to clearly define your performance goals – a sure bet to immediately increase the probability that you will reach them. Your goals should be specific, measurable, meaningful and include a target date. For example, add 50# to my press by Dec. 31st.
Review (With Comment). Dedicate several journal pages to regularly review and comment on progress against major performance goals. Back to the 50# increase on the press. An example of a comment might be “Felt great on set 1 & 2, but struggled on rep 5 of set 3. Need to build to max weight quicker next WOD.” Use these pages to prompt changes in how you train – these comments can be a valuable reminder on ways to improve training intensity and efficiency.
Tracking Performance. Everyone loves setting Personal Records. But what about the days you don’t set PR’s? What happened? And why? A training log can provide a detailed record of all the key elements that contribute to a PR like sleep, recovery, and nutrition. The training log is also a great place to track the impact of personal obligations like business travel, home stresses, or a heavy social schedule. Just logging a few quick notes can help you understand why a particular training session did not go as hoped. When you check you training log notes, you can immediately gain perspective and see that it was just an off day; overall, you are still tracking to your goal.
Injury History. A training log is a great place to note tweaks, twinges and potential injury. “I felt pain in my shoulder during the round of 9 push jerks. Struggled with the weight on the round of 15. Should’ve dropped 10#. Going to go home and ice.” Or, “My knee has been bothering me every time I reverse lunge. Seems fine with I lunge forward.” With training, sometimes comes discomfort. A training log can provide great background when you talk with a performance coach or your doctor about any unusual pain you may experience. It can help you remember how long you’ve had pain, what movements bother it, what type of home remedies you applied, how long you took off from training and more. Keeping a detailed history of training volume, mobility, stretches, weight added to lifts, and notes on specific days a movement bothered you is only going to make it easier to diagnose and recover from the problem. This log can also serve as a way to not repeat the same errors that led to the injury in the first place.
Training logs don’t take a lot of time to keep up; it is literally as easy taking time during rolling out and stretching after class to jot down a few thoughts about the training session. It’s important to the entire EAD performance coaching team that you get the most possible out of your training session. We’re confident that keeping a detailed record of your training can help you achieve more. Start your training log today.
We Want to Hear From You. Do you keep a training log? What are the typical items you track, and how has this tracking helped you? Let know!