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Training Logs: How to Get the Most Out of It?

Now that the ski season is over and off-season has approached, many athletes and coaches reflect on the past year’s successes and challenges. One of the best ways to comprehensively do that is to look at a training log from the past season. 

Photo: Joel Marklund/Bildbyrån

Keeping a training diary is important in any sport. Here an athlete taking notes about his training.

At best, a training log can offer a good overview of the factors behind athletes’ performance. When a training log is filled out well, it can tell both the reason for improvements and underperformance. 

Filling Out A Training Log Helps To: 

  • Give a reason behind the performance
  • Show progress 
  • Analyze technique and results 
  • Recognize developmental points 
  • Reveal signs of fatigue or overload or developing injury
  • Show what works well for an individual
  • Show what needs to be changed or improved 

Alongside other measurements like heart rate variability (HRV), VO2 tests, or other frequently performed test protocols, a training log can be one of the most critical tools to analyze one’s performance by giving a comprehensive overview in the long term. 

As obvious as it may sound, analyzing a training log does not equal analyzing only races. When researching one’s performance and the past season, it is good to pay attention to different aspects, not only performance in competitions. For example, if one has had challenges with a specific training zone in workouts, it is most likely showing on the races in any way or another. 

Especially if there are no apparent obstacles during the training season, but the competitions do not go as expected, the training log can provide some answers and create a baseline for the new season. 

When analyzing athletes’ seasons or setting up new training or racing goals, recognizing one’s natural strengths can be a good starting point. It is essential to think about one’s strengths and how to develop them further because those strengths are the key factors of one’s race performance. 

Those abilities have to be continually built upon, and if they are not maintained and developed, they can become weaknesses down the road. Thus, it is often easy to think about weaknesses and how to improve them, but it is equally important to recognize one’s strengths and bring those to the next level. 

Nowadays, there are plenty of platforms where one can log and follow the performance and where the sport’s watch can be automatically synchronized to update the data from the session to the platform. Still, simply following the hours trained or kilometers ran or skied is not very beneficial when analyzing developmental points or when problems arise. 

Simple Example What to Write Down on A Training Log: 

  • Data: time, kilometers, heart rate, ascent, etc. (If you use a platform and synchronize your watch, those appear automatically)
  • Sport/Intensity/Focus 
  • Feelings: how the training went/felt/developmental points, notes on technique 

Having a training log and writing down the feelings and focus of the workout can also benefit the athlete to recognize the meaning of each exercise better and enable them to learn to know their bodies better and what works for them. It can help them identify and analyze how a specific exercise, for example, a set of intervals, can strengthen a particular ability. 

For experienced athletes, this comes quite naturally. They regularly analyze the training periods or single workouts with their coaches. Still, young and recreational skiers could also benefit from writing their feelings down and using it as a developmental platform to improve or update their performance goals and learn to recognize how their body works and reacts to different training efforts. 

The training log also reveals when an athlete has been under a heavy load of training, and comments on training from a prolonged period can help to recognize if there are signs of overload or overtraining or, on the other hand, what has worked well. In the same way, writing down notes can help locate signs of developing injury or help prevent troubling afflictions from developing further. 

Having a training log does not only belong to elite sports but can help recreational skiers to follow their training and recovery. Often the overall load from life can increase from time to time due to stress, workload, or other factors that can add to the feeling of fatigue and affect the training benefit. For recreational skiers, that is an aspect that should not be overlooked. 

In the same way, when training volume is exceptionally high, the elite athletes look for little cues from their training logs that can direct them to react to the increased load by reducing the training volume or otherwise adjusting the training plan. By marking down feelings and comments on the training helps to follow the overall trend of one’s alertness and energy level in the long term and furthers making the same mistakes twice. 

A well-updated training log is one of the essential tools for athletes and their coaches to follow athletes’ progress, feeling, and developmental points. The better the training log is filled out, the more an athlete and coach can benefit from it. 

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