Special Edition Coach Tip Thursday: What makes a good workout log??
Updated: Sep 7
I suppose I could have held onto this topic and made this a Coach Tip Tuesday, but it didn't quite feel like a Coach Tip Tuesday. So, we’ll call this a VERY SPECIAL, VERY LIMITED EDITION Coach Tip Thursday. ;)
I’ve been asked different variations of the following question by five different athletes since Sunday:
“I feel like I should have more to say about my workouts, but I don’t. Is there something else I should be including in my notes??”
My answer to each of these athletes has been similar: While Final Surge is a wonderful tool for the athletes who I’m working with to communicate with me about how their workouts go, Final Surge’s TRUE value lies in being a great log for the athlete to have to look back on as they move forward in their endurance sports journey.
I will admit it: I made a mistake. I look at SO many workout logs each and every day (and have for YEARS at this point) that I forgot that the rest of you out there who are not coaches do NOT see logs of athletes other than yourselves. *Insert Homer Simpson DOH here*
What does this mean?? Well, many of you out there may never have seen a workout log, so therefore, it makes complete and total sense that you would be wondering what you “should” be including in your own workout logs.
Here are some questions I recommend asking yourself as you consider what to write for your post-workout notes/log:
“What did I do during this workout??”
“How did I feel during this workout??”
“Was anything going on in my life that could have impacted how this went (good or bad)??”
“What sensations did I experience during this workout??”
“What information would be useful for me to have from this workout to look back on in the future??”
“What am I likely to forget about what I experienced during this workout if I don't write it down soon after I finish this workout??”
“What things of interest did I see during this workout??”
“Is there something entertaining that happened on this ride that I want to remember, will find amusing once some time has passed, or that my coach will get a chuckle out of??”
Building on this, I thought I might give an example of one of my own personal workout logs from Final Surge to see if this helps you. If necessary, I’ll use the Pain & Injury Report function, and I always use the Weather Log, RPE, How I Felt, and Gear functions. In the Post-Workout Notes section of Final Surge, I write something using a very similar “template” or format for all of my workout logs:
Surface Conditions: Dry Asphalt
Nutrition & Hydration Consumed: 24 ounces of Tailwind (50 grams of carbohydrates) + 16 ounces of water = 40 ounces total
Animal Friends Observed: Woodchuck, Squirrel, Deer, Chipmunk, Several species of birds
I rode on feel, aiming to keep my cadence high rather than letting my effort level rise when the terrain naturally made things harder. I wanted to keep my overall RPE around 4/5 and really wanted to cover the distance to see how it felt since this was my longest ride in awhile. I was able to successfully accomplish both of these goals.
About 17 minutes into this, I got stung on my face right above my left eye by some little jerk with a stinger (species unknown). It immediately started swelling and was painful for the rest of the ride. I put my water bottle (which had a lot of ice in it) on it for a bit. When I got home and looked in the mirror, I saw that the little jerk actually drew blood.
My lower right back was fatigued by the end of the ride, but I could feel that it’s getting stronger and recovering better than when I returned to riding a few weeks ago.
So there you have it!! I hope that this helps you as you log your workouts in the coming days and weeks. Remember: your training log is a VERY valuable resource. Can’t remember what worked for you on that long run in half marathon training three years ago?? Look back on your log and your very good notes, and all of a sudden, you’re not starting from scratch. :)
Go forth and be excellent workout loggers, my friends!! :)
Laura Henry is a Syracuse, NY-based coach who is a USA Triathlon Level II Endurance and Paratriathlon Certified Coach, IRONMAN U Certified Coach, USA Cycling Level 2 Certified Coach, VFS Certified Bike Fitter, and NASM Certified Personal Trainer. Coach Laura is passionate about helping athletes of all ability levels reach their goals and has coached many athletes to success. She can be reached at laura@teamMPI.com.