Tag Archives: training

Training Diary 101

If you had asked me 6 months ago about having a Training diary I would have given you an odd look. Yes I had a record of my running thanks to my Nike app but that was about it. I didn’t purposely log anything nor had it ever occurred to me that I should be. However the first thing my coach asked for when I started training was for a training diary. I have been writing a training diary since about November and now I don’t know what I would do without one.

So here is what I have leant and why I have found a training diary useful:

Using your training diary for: progression and confidence:

The most useful thing I have found about keeping a training diary is seeing the progression that I have made. I don’t know anyone that trains for any sport or activity that doesn’t want to get better whether its running faster, lifting heavier, achieving that difficult move in yoga, everyone wants to see improvement. Keeping a training log or diary is the perfect way to do this; you can see how far you come.

It is also useful to look back on when you have had a tough session and really struggled. There maybe a perfectly good reason and actually it wasn’t half as bad as you think. It can be hard to gain perceptive and often you can be your worst enemy I know I am the first person to put myself down!! There are lot of different things that can affect training lack of sleep, overtraining, poor nutrition, weather conditions many of which may be out of your control so its important to note if that’s why you didn’t feel so good after your session.

You can take confidence from it when you’re feeling low. For many sports apart from some events that receive medals from completing, you can’t physically keep what you have accomplished; your diary will be the closest thing to proof your doing to get. Half of sport is mental having the mentality and confidence to keep going and get out the door is often the biggest battle. Also if you have a good session, figuring out why is important, what did you do different that day?

Using your training diary for: Training Analysis, What works for you?

“There is no knowledge that is not power. Life is a succession of lesions which must be lived to be understood”- Ralph Waldo Emerson

The more information you have, the more you will be able to figure out what works for you and where you are going wrong or areas that you need to improve on. Everyone is different what works for some will be another persons idea of hell this is the same for all aspects of training. When you look back at the information you’ll be able to see what worked before and what you found most useful, then you can tweak your training plan to include of the different aspects that worked well previously. It works just as well for other aspects of your training for example nutrition, what did you eat before or after, how long did you wait before training, did you use a gel or electrolyte drink during your session, all theses things can affects your performance and recovery.

Using your training diary for: Set Backs

No ones training is going to be 100%, you will pick up niggles or have bad sessions its inevitable. Figuring out why you developed it in the first place can help you from doing it again. You won’t learn what works well until you have tried different things out. One of the most common risks or predisposing factors to injuries is overuse so it’s important to have a look and keep monitoring it so you don’t over do it. Many people find that they can deal with a certain mileage or certain amount of particular workouts but after that point the risk of injury or niggles goes up. Knowing how much is too much will help in injury prevention and overtraining. It’s important not just in terms of overuse but for when you have to train in different conditions.

Using your training diary for:Goals setting

Set yourself some goals make them specific to you. They can vary from little mini goals to bigger goals for the long term. If you identify what goals you have then you can use them to tailor your training towards them. Do you want to do a triathlon, lift a certain weight, run a particularly time, or just improve one aspect of your technique? The best way to make it happen is to take the time to think about the best way to achieve it. It will also help you in making and achieving goals that are more specific and realistic. Use the plan to create a gradual progression, you never want to increase your intensity or mileage by more than 5% at a time creating a plan will ensure that you increase it gradually.

Using your training diary for: Gaining structure

You wouldn’t set up a business or submit a proposal at work without a business plan or goal. So why should your training be any different. Also if you get into a particular routine then it will be easier to stick to it. Do you normally have a busy day at work on a Monday or have family or friend commitments/events on certain days, take this into account and have it as your rest day. You want to take as much time to plan your recovery, tapering and rest days as much as the workouts yourself. Recovery is vital so make sure you get the right balance it may take a while but listen to your body and tweak accordingly especially as your training progresses. Normally training plans are between 8-20 weeks this depends on your goals. My running plan is on a 12-week schedule. Do you train better at a particular time or day then use this to your advantage and make that apart of your plan.

Using your training diary for: Motivation

It can be difficult to keep up your motivation to build up to your ideal peak. If you keep a diary you can look back on it and think, look how far I have come or look at all the hard work I’ve done so far, don’t stop now!! You can also use it to make sure that you keep switching it up and changing your routine. You can also use it integrate workout or exercise you did ages ago that was really beneficial. Just doing the same training schedule can get repetitive and boring so having it written down will help keep the motivation up and well as ensuring a variety of sessions. I’m quite regimental if it’s written down and says that’s what workout I should be doing then I always get it done. A diary can bring focus to your workout, having your goals and the bigger picture written down can get you through a tough session.

Post Half Marathon Advice: What to do after

Congratulations you’ve finished a half marathon. Hopefully you have had a great experience not just with the physical running side but also the atmosphere which makes these events so special. Your recovery starts as soon as you get across the finish line so here is some tips on what to do post half marathon to help avoid the aches and pains over the next few days.

Zero – Five minutes post half marathon:

Don’t Stop!

You may feel exhausted, aching and needing a lie down however the best thing to do is keep moving for at least 10-15 minutes after you finish. Listen to you body but get a cool down in and keep moving even, go for a light jog or a walk. Just try not to sit down straight away, walk to the food or charity tent. Start your post race stretching and put some layers on as your body will loose heat very quickly.

Zero – twenty minutes post half marathon:


It’s vital to replace the fluid that you would have lost throughout your run as quickly as possible to help your body recover. For a half marathon distance try electrolyte sports drink, juice, water or the beloved runners favourite chocolate milk. You want to drink enough liquid so that your urine returns to a pale yellow, if its darker you are still dehydrated. Water is great but as you would have lost salt and mineral throughout your run try a combination.


In the first half an hour after you finish you want to eat some small, with main component being carbohydrate with a small amount of protein and fat. Good examples are a banana, fruit either fresh or dried, Nuts, bagels/baps, cereal bar/flapjack, yogurt or chocolate.

2 hours post half marathon:

After you finish your run try to have your main meal; half of the meal should be made up of carbs preferably whole grains with an equal amount of protein. Ginger and honey have also been proven to help and reduce muscle soreness.

Thirty mins – one hour post half marathon:

Stretching and Sports Massage

It wont be the first time you’ve been told about the importance of stretching after a race but there’s a reason way. After you have done your own stretches end the to the sports massage tent and get a massage. The therapist will often be able to detect muscles that you may not have notice being tight as well as getting deeper into the muscles. They will also be able to help you with dynamic stretches, which have been proved to be more effective than static stretches.

The evening post half marathon:

By the evening you should have refuelled and start to relax. Whether your staying in a hotel or you were lucky enough to be local and are able to chill at home make sure you keep moving. Just go for a evening stroll nothing strenuous something simple like a 10 minute walk with the dog at a very leisurely pace will be more than good enough. The most important thing is you get a good night sleep cause lets face it you deserve it!!

Three – five days post half marathon:

Get another sports massage to help with any aches and pains that you may have developed post race. You can read for about the benefits of Sports Massage here.

Four days post half marathon: 

When should you start running again?
The general rule is between 4 days after go for a 2-mile light run just to keep your muscles moving. You want to reverse taper and start to slowly build up the mileage you are doing.

You can download this guide at: The A State of Health Clinic’s Website.

For other articles on Half marathon’s check out what to in the week before and on raceday.

Half Marathon: Race Day Advice

It’s race day! You’ll probably be feeling a mix of emotions nerve, excitement, fear or all of the above and more rolled into one. Here are some tips to get you to the starting line of your half marathon feeling calm and relaxed.

Early Start:

Get up early and leave plenty of time for breakfast and to get to the start. The last thing you want to do is rush to the venue. Go through your race details of where to drop your kit off and where the starting pen is. Have one last look at the half marathon course details including water stations.

Do a last-minute check of your kit bag make sure you have your shoes, clothes, race number with safety pins attached, timing chip if not already attached to your shoes, water bottle and food. Make sure your kit bag has extra layers for after the race and some dry clothes encase it’s a wet race.

Two – Four hours before the half marathon:

Eat a breakfast you’ve had before don’t try anything new, you don’t want an upset stomach. Try to eat 2?4 hrs before the starting time and aim for 1000 calories. Eat a combination of simple carbs with some protein for example bread/bagels, cereal, nut butter, low-fat yogurt, or milk. If you can’t stomach food try a fruit based smoothie.

Two Hours – Thirty minutes before the half marathon:

Have a pre-event massage 2 hr ? 30 mins before the race. The massage should be light and up-tempo to aid the runner in getting their muscles warm and ready for the race. The theory is to increase the blood going to the muscles. It also has been suggested to improve focus and relax before the race. The practitioner can also help with some dynamic stretches. It should not be used instead of a good warm up and stretches but to complement it. If you want some more information about how sports massage can benefit you check out my blog post on Sport Massage.

Up to one hour before the half marathon:

Keep your fluid intake up and drink 500?700 ml up to the hour before and then no more than 200ml 30 mins before. While you need to make sure you’re properly hydrated before you start, you don’t want to over hydrate or have to stop and take a pit stop mid half marathon.

Thirty – forty-five minutes before the half marathon:

Have a good warm up and stretch. Never stretch cold muscles always go for a light 5-minute jog before hand. Do the same warm-up you are used to and get into your normal pre-race/run routine. For more tips on advice on warming up check out my  guide to the importance of warming up.

Up to thirty minutes before the half marathon:

Drink around 200ml this will be your last main fluid intake till the start of the race.

Twenty to thirty minutes before the half marathon:

Go to the start early, hand in your kit bag and have an old track suit or old foil blanket, to stay warm at the start but something you can just get rid off. Get to the pen 20-30 mins before the start so you know you don’t have to rush or add any extra anxiety.

Two minutes before the half marathon:

Leave it to the last few minutes to take your old kit off.
Most importantly enjoy the race!!
You can download this guide at: The A State of Health Clinic’s Website.
For other articles on Half marathons check out: What to do the week before, what to do after a half marathon

Half Marathon Advice: What to do in the week before the race

So you’ve signed up for a half marathon! Whether you have competed before or it’s your first half and taking on the challenge. Here are some of my tips of what to do in the week before the race:

1 week before the Race:

Use today as a full dress rehearsal, get up and have the same breakfast you plan to have on the day. This way you can test out everything and have some more confidence going into the race. Try to go for your run at the same time as you plan to do the race. Remember stay hydrated through the day and maintain through this week.

6 days before:

Either take today off or do a light cross training session. You could try the main meal your planning to have the night/lunch before your race. Make sure you get a good night sleep.

5 days before:

Do you last main training session before the race today and practice your routine including your diet, clothing. Try doing the run again at you’re planned  race pace.

4 days before:

Go for a fartlek or short high intensity interval work out to keep your legs moving and to get your heart racing. Fartlek means speed play in Swedish its just a term for interval training or run/walk training.

3 days before:

If you have a rest day planned for the day before and are not traveling aim for a light session no longer than 30 minutes. Start monitoring your fluid intake and make sure your staying hydrated. Make sure you get a good night sleep. Start to increase your carb percentage to 65?70%, but try to avoid beans and other food that may upset your stomach.

Get a good night sleep!!

3-5 days before

Get a sports massage preferably after an easy training session. Depending on how often you normally get a massage depends on how close you can leave it to the event. If you get them regularly you can have one closer to race day. You can find out more at the benefits of Sports Massage on my blog post.

Two days before:

If you have to travel to your race this would be the ideal day, go to pick your bib and other race day essentials including your food and drinks you may want on the day. Start increasing the percentage of carbs in your diet to around 70%. Avoid beans and other food that may cause bloating. If you’re not traveling to the race go for  a short walk or a light cross training session.

The day before:

Go for a very short run first thing to keep your legs moving no more than 20 mins! May attention to your diet with your main meals being breakfast and lunch to give your body enough to digest. Aim to eat easy to digest carbs like pasta with protein and not too much fibre or fat. Drink 2 glasses of water with dinner and then go for a short walk. Get everything laid out and packed for the morning so everything is ready. Set your alarm and try to get a good night sleep.
You can download this guide at: The A State of Health Clinic’s Website.

For more articles on Half Marathon running check out my race day and post half marathon guides.