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How and Why to Keep a Training Log

A training log can help you get more from your workout. It will help you organize and save information about your exercise routine so you can work toward a specific goal.

For example, if you're training for a marathon, keeping a log can help you track how you run under various weather conditions or when you're following a special diet. You can record information about the prettiest routes if you're walking to enjoy the scenery.

Your log also can push you to work out on those days when you're too tired or you think you're too busy.

What to record

Here's a brief rundown on what information you should record:

  • Distance (in miles and tenths for running, walking, or cycling, and in laps or meters for swimming)

  • Time (in minutes, seconds, or fractions)

  • Intensity (in pounds, for strength training)

  • Other details (like split times, when helpful)

  • Milestones (on the way to achieving your goals)

  • Personal bests

Depending on your fitness and training level, you may also want to record other information concerning:

Your physical condition

  • Keep track of your pulse rate. Take two readings, one before you begin exercising and one at peak activity. Be sure to stay within your target heart zone.

  • Track how many hours of sleep you get. See how this affects your performance.

  • Keep track of your weight. You'll notice regular exercise helps you lose extra pounds and maintain a healthful weight.

  • Watch your diet. You may discover certain foods improve your performance.

  • Pay attention to any discomfort you feel. Note unusual aches or pains.

Workout conditions

  • Write down the day and time you exercise. This information gives you a frame of reference and helps you maintain consistency.

  • Record weather conditions. Hot, cool, humid or pleasant? Noting this information will tell you under what conditions you work best.

  • Keep track of the road surface or equipment condition. Jot down a brief description for future reference.

  • Pay attention to the atmosphere. Pretty scenery may improve your performance, while a crowded gym may increase your tension.

Your activity

Note the route you walked or ran, the training machines you used, or the aerobic exercises you completed.


Your mood, thoughts, and feelings can change:

  • Exercise can have an impact on your mood. Record how you felt at the start of a workout. See whether the workout changed your mood.

  • Write down your thoughts and feelings. Exercise frees many people from everyday worries. It also helps them use their minds more creatively. Let your thoughts flow from pen to paper.

Things to avoid

Note which house has the loud, crabby dog, or what time of day a pool's lap lanes are crowded.

Favorite things

Jot down a route you'd like to run or walk again, or note a pair of really comfortable shoes.

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