Dear Coach: Why Should I Keep a Training Journal?
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Should I Journal?
Dear Should I Journal,
First off - yes, you SHOULD journal! There are a few reasons for this, but the most important of them is this - you will learn faster, get stronger, and perform better if you journal. Crazy, right?
How does a log of workouts get you stronger? Well, if you are doing a strength program and progressively increasing the weights, it helps to know what weights you've previously done. If you guess every week in your confused state, as you acknowledged yourself, you'll probably guess wrong and proceed in a haphazard way. Getting stronger requires consitent and gradual increases. A journal is a great way to fool-proof your progress.
For those of you doing CrossFit it can also help you remember the myriad of details that come with your training - What color band did you use? How did you modify the movement? What was that movement even called?
You can also use a journal to keep track of how things felt - Was it hard? Did it feel too easy? Do you need to increase resistance next time?
Sometimes I put stars and exclamation points in my journal when I have a particularly good day. Maybe nobody else sees it, but I get to celebrate my improvement and whenever I flip through that journal again I'm going to take pride in that achievement.
If you don't have a gym bag to keep a paper journal in, consider these options:
- If you belong to a CrossFit gym and the workout is posted on a whiteboard, take a photo with your phone - keep it in a gallery or post it to a Tumblr blog.
- Consider an online tracking system like ScienceBehindSweat.com.
- Try using a program like Evernote that you can access on your computer or your phone and easily search later.
- Log your workouts online - like in our forums - for an extra level of accountability.
Whatever method you choose, make sure it's a method you will really use on a regular basis and just start doing it!