A training diary for Ironman Triathlon athletes will give you invaluable important feedback of knowledge on how you adapt to training racing and recovery. You need to record some or all of the following, the more you record the easier a pattern will show you what training is beneficial for you.
Use this for motivation what you have and have not done. Go back and use it to see what worked and what did not. How much you can cope with without getting injured over trained or sick.
Divide your training into various parts. Variety is the key to overall fitness. Maintenance, recovery and technique. Core, Flexibility and stability. Strength and Power. Endurance. Without completing all parts you will end up having a weakness.
Maintenance is listening to your body, going hard when you feel good going easy when you feel tired.
Core work is the current buzz word but is very important to link the power muscles of the lower and upper body to generate total energy. Having good core can reduce the chances of injury.
Strength is essential even for endurance athletes and allows you to use strength at key times like near the top of a hill rather than fitness. Resistance training can involve a heavy bike, riding off road over geared on a climb (careful this can create strain on your knees)
The most time effective way to improve is a mixture of long steady rides with shorter more intense workouts and recovery training. If you just train slow and long you will limit your racing potential by racing slow. Rotate training and repeat sessions every 4-8 weeks to monitor improvement.Use your training diary every day to record and motivate yourself on your journey to your Ironman Triathlon event
ACHIEVEMENTS- keep a record of any notable training session that you can use as a benchmark during the year to compare. This could be an interval, how you felt after a long session.
ADAPATION- readjustments are needed to improve. You need to slightly tweak and change your changing for variety of the mind and the body.
BODY WEIGHT has a bearing on performance too heavy and you will find it hard to train and compete at your best. If you lose too much weight before a competition you may lack sufficient stores of energy. Everyone is individual and being below a certain weight you may lack strength and be more prone to illness. A channel swimmer has to be very fit but needs a good layer of fat to protect them from the cold English Channel.
COACH- Look back in your diary to see what helped what did not, it will be helpful like a coach.
COMMENTS- felt good, tired or noticed an injury ache or pain. A sore throat or blocked nose getting better. How are you coping with build up of training? Do you need to back off continue or increase distance of intensity?
COMPARE what you did before and if you had the race of your life try and duplicate your build up to help stimulate a similar or better result.
COMPETITIONS should be marked in bold in your diary. Work backwards from event and pencil in what you feel you need to do.
COMPUTER- you can record your training on your personnel computer on an excel sheet, use different shades boxes for easy medium hard sessions. Colour coding can also be used for rest day injuries or illness, this makes looking back much easier.
CYCLING- On road or off road. Type of bike. You may have a racing and training bike, which will affect training, rides. Resistance and gears used.
DATE- record the date so you can learn do you perform better at certain times of the year. How much training do you actually need to feel good and be the best you can. What is the right amount, finding your best balance is key to optimum fitness, not too much or too little.
DISTANCE is steadily increased to 12-6 weeks before your target event. Then either increase in pace for the same distance or volume reduced at the increasing intensity. Add more race pace specific training before tapering, the longer the build up the longer the taper.
DURATION- Total time in minute’s session has taken. Pace or speed- Cycling in Kilometers (KMPH) or miles per hour (MPH).
FEELING- were you tired at the start but soon felt better or did the session.
FOOD- what helps you stay healthy, good foods used before during and after training and racing? Record anything that causes problem, everyone is different for example do eggs eaten within 3 hours of running cause a problem? How close to swimming cycling or running must you drink to delay the chance of having to stop to go to the toilet? What effects do caffeine (coffee, tea) has on performance if any?
GRADE your training and recovery. If you’re longest training session is the hardest thing you ever do grade it 10/10 next time it may seem easier then give it 8/10.
HABITS are part of life do you avoid certain times of day, will you often always train when planned in the morning but get distracted in the evenings?
HEART RATE- Record average and maximum and lowest heart rate. If completing similar sessions i.e. 4K on a treadmill at same speed fitness improvements should show a lower average. If running on a treadmill record speed of main set and heart rate drift. Do not forget to record morning resting heart rate. Experts and athletes tell us if it is 10% higher than normal you could be coming down with illness or not fully recovered from accumulation of training.Record morning heart rate before getting out of bed and monitor it for increasing, which can be a sign of illness or failing to recover.
MEMORY-you cannot relay on your memory to remember what you have done in the past and how you have progressed.
MOTIVATION-they can keep you on track. When you feel you have missed a session take a look to see what you have actually done recently.
NOTES- no matter how brief you will soon see a pattern of what helps you improve. Sometimes you may not notice this until you look back many months or years later.
OTHER- this can be aerobics, cross training, circuit training, dancing, long walks, weight training, anything that you do not normally do. Anything different can affect you up to 7 days after.
PENCIL-write in weekly totals, session aims, beating competitors, time or a particular distance. Keeps you focused and on track.
PERCEPTION of effort (PE)- Was the session easier the same or harder than normal.
PEAKING is a very difficult art do you peak too early or after an important event? Keeping a training diary can take the guesswork out by letting you learn how many weeks you need before you reach prime fitness.
PLATEAU in performance is often a result of lack of a good long solid base of training and lack of a progressive stimulus in training. Analysis can be made from your training diary. Not planning in rest days will cause you to stagnate and train at the same pace resulting in consistent performances for many months.
RECORD- weekly/monthly summary number of rest days training number of total sessions, total number of hours. This can be invaluable to just compare the total time trained. You may be better suited to shorter sessions than fewer longer training workouts. Some athletes are more injury prone to regular training without adequate complete rest, while others prefer regular smaller sessions.
RECOVERY- how soon after did you feel tired and did you notice a particular helped your fitness?
RESSISTANCE- gradually increasing the resistance over time builds up strength, which can be converted to speed with correct training.
REST- record total rest days. Make notes on recovery taken during session. Gym work or intervals on hills, turbo, treadmill.
ROUTINE can be good because your body gets to know when to exercise and when to rest.
SESSION type-. Easy medium hard, drills, technique.
SLEEP is important as a large part of recovery occurs while resting. How many hours do you need? Make notes of sleep time approx per day, disturbed sleep habits and any power naps. Not often recorded is are you finding it harder to get up in the morning or need to get to bed earlier due to fatigue, these signs can tell you how you are adapting to the training and life’s demands.
SPEED- Record your speed this will vary depending on the following. Air temperature the wind water temperature (if swimming) surface, muddy off road will be slower than dry off road. Clothing worn and equipment used also affect speed a lightweight bike should be faster on a ride than a heavy one. Good supportive off road specific shoes with good grip can be faster than light weight shoes that slip about due to poor traction.
TIME for training. Record either duration time, training time without recoveries or total time excluding warming up and cooling down. As long as you remember and keep to the same time frame. Some athletes have changed this and included warm up and warming down so it then appears that they are actually training more when in fact they are still doing the same.
TRACKING your training is vital. Just to record all your workouts and not look back to use this valuable information would almost certainly mean you could under perform in the future. Analyze to see why you responded in such a way then make changes.
TRUTHFUL - in how you feel recording any minor ailment and monitor does it get worse or better. Just tweaking your training from taking a few extra days total rest or reducing frequency and distance can make the problem go away. This will give you the impression that the problem was minor and you have lost training and fitness when in fact your injury was nipped in the bud from getting worse. Record morning heart rate before getting out of bed.
WEATHER CONDITIONS- Air temperature, wind speed, air temperature. Road surface dry wet or slippery this can apply to running or cycling off road. Athletes perform better at certain times of the year due to temperature pollen count.
WEIGHT TRAINING- Record weight, number of reps and number of sets. All the above looks like a lot to record and will mean you have less time to train, just record what you want to and as time goes on you may find that many of the above are included.