Six Reasons To Use a Training/Workout Log

Six Reasons To Use a Training/Workout Log

Hey There! Hope you all have had a great summer! It’s hard to believe the summer is almost (if not already) over. I go back to school next week so this is my last week of summer. I’m ready to head back, although not being class these past few months have been nice. Last year of grad school, I’m ready for ya!

One of my goals this summer was to crank out three blog posts. Unfortunately, that didn’t quite happen. I was not really motivated to create a new topics or felt the need to share regularly to be honest—until last night!

Last night I was relaxing and saw my training log journals on my bookcase. I thought it would be fun to go over and read through them. I have journals from my training through undergrad, the summers in between, and my first marathon training…2014, 2015, and 2016.

As I read through them, I was amazed how much I accomplished and the runs/workouts I did everyday! I was very motivated, and still am, but I was a little excessive looking through them. It brought back some rough moments for me (excessive training and running so I could be “skinny”) and some great ones like beating my mile time! I can confidently say my time has drastically improved from 2-3 years ago. It’s so cool to see how things changed from one year to the next mentally and physically.

As of now, I’m not using a training log or journal. I’m not sure why…clearly it works! I know after looking through these logs, I’ll be jumping back to it. I think it was because I was relying on the logs to help me get to milage and stay consistent with training during my marathons. Now that I’m not training for a long distance that requires planning, I’ve found that being flexible with training is what I feel is right. Funny how you go in and out of certain habits!

Regardless if you’re using a training log to account for training milage or just trying to get into a fitness routine, logging is a good place to start.

The log I use(d) is The Complete Runner’s Day-by-Day Log 2017 Calendar by Marty Jerome. It’s simple to use and has enough space to be as specific about your workouts as necessary. I recommend it for everyone even if you don’t run!

OK! Here’s the scoop on this post: six reasons to log. Let’s get right to it.

  1. Boosts motivation. Simply put. Looking back at your hard work over a week’s, month’s, or year’s time is fun to see. It can re-motivate you to get back into shape, sign up for race, or get yourself to your same group class (or try a new one). Looking at mine, I did a lot of swimming and yoga on certain days. I realized I miss those workouts more then I realize and am considering hitting the pool again for cross training and plan on finding a yoga class that works for me.
  2. You see progress over time. As long as you’re *consistent* with logging and being specific to an extent, you can truly see changes being made! My mile time a couple years ago was around 9:00/9:15 per mile. Today I’m running around 8/8:15 per mile. They say progress takes time and it does!! My biggest takeaway with seeing this was that good things take time. Patience is key. Things don’t just happen over night! Taking a couple years of consistent work to make something happen is worth it.
  3. You learn what works and what doesn’t for you. My swimming and yoga workouts were on the same day and time that year and it worked for my schedule since I saw a repetitive pattern every week. Other workouts didn’t stick as well. That’s okay! Learning types workouts, best time of day, best day of the week, location, snacks/meals beforehand, music, the list goes on…can help you with establishing the best routine for you. Learning what doesn’t work too is equally important!
  4. A good reminder when motivation drops or inspires you to switch it up. Looking back, the swimming and yoga keep coming to mind. I realize I want to add this back into my fall workout schedule to keep my routine fresh. Cross training is something that has taken the backseat to and I’d like to add it back in. It also inspires me to keep my tempo runs and speed workouts on the plan to help me beat my half marathon time this spring. Seeing these parts of your training can help boost motivation to sign up for a race, try that yoga class because you know you need to stretch, or avoid Chipotle before your long run! (guilty).
  5. Repeat workout routines. Sometimes a workout routine in itself is enough to bring back. Maybe running Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 8am was good way to get in your workout before work? Yoga in the evening was a good way to decompress? Associating these routines with feelings of accomplishment (or a bad experience in some cases!) is a good way to look back and add or take away certain routines.
  6. What still needs improvement or you still struggle with, what has improved from previous changes, and what stayed the same. This is like looking at your log in reverse. You can see what you still struggle with (e.g still can’t seem to find a good day to strength train–seeing options you already tried is a bonus!), what has improved (e.g seeing your mile time improve from your one time per week time trials) then seeing how you got there, and what you’ve kept along the way (e.g twice a week spin class at your favorite studio). Making note of what you’ve done to combat the struggle, what worked when hitting a specific goal, and what has been a priority in your fitness routine is beyond key to upping your fitness game or getting back to it!

I hope these six tips can be of help to you! Since last night, I feel ready to switch up my routine for some new found motivation. Sometimes we can find motivation, a new perspective, or the answer right in front of us if we take time to log. 😉

Your Turn!

Do you log your workouts? Do you find it works for you?

What has been an something you’ve learned about yourself having logged for a certain amount of time?

Do you have any fitness goals on the horizon this fall?

 

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My Fifteen Minute Foam Rolling Routine

My Fifteen Minute Foam Rolling Routine

Hey Everyone! Happy Friday!! Hope you all have had a productive and good week. I’m on my fourth week of grad school and so far so good, but is quite the challenge. I’m definitely being pushed out of my comfort zone with studying since it really is a whole new level of knowledge. I’m more then half way through my course, then I’ll have about a week and half or so off then return to my next six week course after the forth of July.

First off, what is foam rolling? Foam rolling is a recovery mechanism that releases adhesions, or knots in the muscle from repeated stress. It promotes blood flow to the affected area through rolling the muscle. Scientifically, this is called myofasical release, meaning ‘myo-‘ for muscle, ‘fasical-‘ referring to fascia meaning connective tissue, and ‘release’ from releasing tension on muscle.

With that being said, I figured I share my foam rolling routine and talk recovery since that is equally important too. I’m always go-g0-go. Constantly having a plan of action is my jam. For me, each week (even if its not set to a tee) has some kind of workout in it. It’s either just one workout of cardio, usually running or weights, either body weight or some kind of resistance. Twice a week I work out twice a day, usually in the morning then in the afternoon either a run then weights or weights then speed work.  Then I have a rest day or two. One thing that is weak in my own program is recovery. YEP, I said it. In fact, it’s probably my biggest weakness. Yep, I said it again. It really takes a lot out of me to focus on this. But I’ve learned over time that it is equally important in order to bounce back well from workouts. That doesn’t mean I get massages every week. I’m on a student on a budget, so that’s not happening! BUT I can do my own job of recovery instead and it starts with a foam roller.

Way back when I started running I was hurting a lot because of a lot of things like not strength training, stretching, and eating well (I ate Bud’s Chicken– a “nice” local fast food drive through post cross country and track meets). One big culprit (although all of them are significant), was foam rolling. I got to college and I had terrible IT Band Syndrome. It was so bad I could hardly walk AND on top of it I was training for my second half marathon. How I did that feeling like sh*t I don’t know but I ran it. Dealing with severe tightness, I learned from a professor I took a class with what foam rolling was. Thank you Exercise Science degree!! 😉 I was so tight and uncomfortable I hated it, but is showed me how much I really needed it and how it important it is to do regularly.

To this day, I’m not great at it, but I do it often enough now that I have my tightness under control and my IT Band Syndrome at bay. I’m still tight there from time to time, but it was WAY more manageable then when I wasn’t doing it at all! I was seriously like a grandma looking back now. How I went that far without rolling was my bad BIG TIME. Sometimes it takes a hard lesson to be reminded how important it is.

Okay, so fast forward to TODAY and I probably roll out two to three times per week. I could more, but I don’t always. I know. I can be better. It is something I struggle with and realize it is something to work on so I try to make it part of my routine somehow. So, I do it before bed as part of my bedtime routine. It takes about fifteen minutes, but it is well worth it. I especially love rolling while watching The Bachelorette or American Ninja Warrior. Roll and watch, it’s a good combination.

If you don’t have a roller and you workout, run, or train multiple days a week rolling is especially beneficial and definitely worth the investment. They come in all different kinds of firmness, treds vs. no treds, brand, etc. However, they are on the pricy side depending on what you’re looking for. I suggest starting with a softer roller (like a pool noodle type softness) and go from there. My favorite is Trigger Point brand recovery tools. They have a great variety for all types of recovery needs! Although I focus on legs, foam rolling can be for all over. If I roll out my whole body, it usually takes a half hour to forty five minutes. I find I have the most amount of time for this on the weekends. During the week I stick with  rolling for about fifteen minutes.

For my routine, this what I do two to three times each week. Starting easy from the bottom and working up or vice versa. Roll a little bit at time, about an inch more in one direction before go back to your starting point. If you feel a particularly tight or tender spot, hold there and breath. I broke it down here, but feel free to check out my video for a visual on Instagram to help get a better idea!

-Starting at the bottom of foot roll five to ten times up and down

-Foam roller under ankle, foot is resting on top, achilles tendon side down:

  • dorsiflex and plantar flex five times
  • circle the ankle in one direction and reverse
  • turn inside then outside ankle to roller and circle one direction and reverse

-Roll up shin to calf until back on knee (it’s safe with light pressure)

-Roll from bottom to top of hamstring up to the glutes

~Switch legs and repeat!~

Love Your Body: Reasons & Benefits of Rest

Love Your Body: Reasons & Benefits of Rest

So marathon training is in full swing…I completed week three of training! However, it came with a couple setbacks. No one said marathon training was going to be easy. I signed up knowing setbacks could be part of training. Knowing I teach group fitness, I didn’t completely account for rest. I do the workout with my Barre class since form and equipment are involved and generally instruct with demos for my H.E.A.T class. I’m not generally sore or feel completely wiped after teaching so I figured to take it as an active recovery day. This past weekend I did a nine mile run at Upper Tampa Bay Trail and LOVED IT!! Beautiful scenery and I was feeling great. However, my hamstrings and feet felt otherwise. I taught barre and H.E.A.T no problem, but realized I never actually RESTED aka was lazy and didn’t do anything physical. I’m naturally on feet most of the day since I work in fitness, and since when do we ever sit??!! NEVER!! We constantly GO! Which is great, the reason why I love what I do, but rest is equally important. After the two “active recovery” days, I felt good to get my six mile long run out of the way during the week. Again, felt great! Post run I felt extra tight, sore, and just overall achey. My hamstring and feet felt tight and over-used. I literally hurt all over. I then felt equally bad and was hardcore kicking myself because I knew I should have listened to my body. I also know a reason why I felt I over did it was because I had neglected leg day/strength training (I know what you’re thinking…”Ali how could you?!”) just because I wanted to hit my milage each week. I’m also focused on my client’s and group fitness and along the way, neglected my own. Muscle-wise there was a lot of imbalances that contributed as well.

SO LESSON LEARNED: Listen to your body and give it the TLC it needs! Its okay to say give an extra day to relax and be a couch potato, it won’t kill you. As runners or anything else you might be passionate about, you want to constantly strive to be the best you can. That might mean doing it regularly to take advantage of continued improvement. NOT SO FAST! (lol pun intended) giving your body time to recover from your hard work is equally important too.

Below are reasons and benefits why REST is important and to not be afraid to add it to your program:

-Time off from activity allows your body to heal and rebuild without added activity

Gives your mind a mental break

-Prevents injury

-Restores glycogen stores

*Other benefits of rest ;)*

-Sleep in (set NO alarms)

-Focus on foam rolling, icing, or soft tissue work 

-Get other things done…either personal, work, school, etc (that closet that needs cleaning out…)

-Focus on other hobbies, friends, or activities that don’t take the same demand…a cooking class/meal prep, yoga

-You get to be (somewhat) lazy :P…GO AHEAD! curl up with a movie, a cup of tea/glass of wine/ice cream…[you know where I’m going with this], and take care of yourself, you deserve to relax!

Instead of using your setbacks as ways to wreck your motivation, use it as a way to IMPROVE and learn from your mistakes!

Happy Running & Resting!!

-Ali