Ultimately as an athlete you are always looking to improve and move forward so this I feel this is a priority even before you lace up your spikes.Keeping a diary of exactly what you’re are doing, what you’re eating and how your feeling is a great way to track your progress. now that I’ve started to do this is find it a great way of problem solving also it tells you what you are doing and highlights what you’re not.
Having a diary doesn’t have to be anything fancy I have a A5 diary that can easily fit into my training bag. I chose to get a blank diary and just write the date at the top to save paper and be more consistent to read instead of huge gaps, also it gives you no excuse you can start anytime not just on the 1st of Jan or on a Monday. I usually structure every page like this for easy and quick comparison:
- Time/ Morning/Afternoon/Evening
- Location- Gym/Track/park
- Session- This includes warm-up and cool down
- How I thought the session went and a brief description of how I’m feeling.
Recording what I’ve eat throughout the day is much easier I have a pocket book sized journal and I put today’s date and update it during the day to record what I’ve eaten plus water levels. Having a look at what I’m eating and drinking it and comparing it to my performances in training and how I’m feeling can be a clear indication of whether my nutrition is optimal. Having all this information is great for preparing and experimenting. For example if you performed really well you can look at what you were eating and how you trained and aim to replicate that again. This can be useful if you introduce something new into your training or diet you can tell if its working or not accurately and look at the benefits or disadvantages.
As a senior athlete there are a lot of times when I’m not around my coach at a training session, due to work commitments, so this is a great way to communicate with him and show him accurately what I’ve been doing and makes it easier instead of guessing which could lead to over training and repeat sessions.
Simply writing things down and looking at the information is a great way to be objective and look at what your doing and I feel that athletes who choose to do so have an advantage over the competition because it takes them less time to find out whether something is working or not and with a greater degree of accuracy.
“If you know where you are right now it’s easier to see where you’re going”
Not only can this tool be useful In training but with finances which is something a lot of athletes including myself struggle with. Writing down everything I spend even if its 1p has given me so much perspective on where the majority of my money is being spent and how to cut back if I need to. Try it the results are quite surprising.