Monday, February 1, 2016

Season Review with Your Training Log

by Justin Daerr

This article originally appeared in November 2013.

As the season comes to a close, many of you will be assessing whether or not it was a successful one. Regardless of the amount of success, it is helpful to look back on the season to see where you can make improvements. This is where an athlete and coach really benefit from a well-kept training journal. The more details you give in your journals throughout the year, the easier it is to take an objective look at your season and to give context (for example, how you felt) to the training you did.

Here are some things to look for when going back over your training log for the year:

  1. Weekly training hours - Training hours are not the end all, be all, particularly when we have other parameters that measure load like TSS. However, it can show your week-to-week and month-to-month consistency. I suggest writing down how many hours you think you did in the year and then check the actual number. There can sometimes be a significant disconnect between what we perceive happened, and what actually did. We often remember the biggest weeks we did and tend to extrapolate that over the year. It usually is not a good snapshot of our training reality.

  2. Track the number of days you take off - Taking days off is perfectly okay, however, were these days taken off for positive measures (rest, recovery, rejuvenation) or were they reactionary days off: travel, sickness or injury? Look back to your days off and see if there is a trend in your training (and life) that led to them. Finding patterns that result in inconsistency can be really beneficial when making plans in the future.

  3. Training planned versus training completed - No training plan ever goes completely according to plan, but if you see yourself habitually completing less than 90% of your planned training, then try and find out why it happened. It could be that your training has been constructed too aggressively (not enough time) or it could be a result of not executing within the designated plan. This is often seen with athletes going too hard when not called for and it results in future sessions being cancelled or shortened.

  4. Review taper, rest and performance - We all know we need to rest at some point, but when we feel the best after resting can vary from athlete to athlete. Look back on your recovery weeks and your race weeks and see if you can pinpoint when you “came out of your training hole” and began to reap the benefits of all the work you did. Learning how to recover and get ready to race is something that needs to be practiced throughout the season and tweaked as needed to get the most out of yourself.

And if you did not keep a very detailed log… then you have something to work on next season! I have a log that dates back nearly 10 years and the longer I race, the happier I am to have this information to look back on. We can always be better.

Happy offseason!

Justin Daerr is a professional triathlete and co-owner of Endurance Corner. You can follow him on Twitter @justindaerr.
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