The basis of your training diary is your daily record. On this record you enter the details of your physical condition: your waking and exercising heart rates, your sleeping patterns, your morning body weight, how you feel during training and racing, and how you perform in races.
Training diaries are available through bookstores or catalogs, or you may want to design your own using a standard notebook. Here are some important points to record in your diary:
#1 – Describe your Training Session
As specifically as possible, describe the training session. Did you work on long, slow distances? What type of intervals did you do? Record whom you rode with, on what routes, and what the weather and wind conditions were.
This is a sample training diary of Britain’s cycling heroine…
#2 – Record Your Sleep Pattern
Record the time you went to bed the previous night and the number of hours you slept. Record any naps you took during the day. Research has shown that athletes who are overtraining start going to bed later at night, sleep less, and wake up tired in the morning. So sleep patterns are a vital indication of whether you are overtraining.
#3 – Document your Body Weight
Record your body weight in the morning after you have emptied your bladder. If you have lost several pounds since the day before, you are dehydrated and need to drink plenty of fluids before your next training session. A continual fall in body weight over a few weeks is an ominous sign and indicates progressive overtraining.
#4 – Take Note of Your Heart Rate
Record your heart rate upon waking. Count your pulse for 15 seconds, multiply by 4, and record this number. A sudden rise of more than five or six beats per minute in the early morning may mean that you have not recovered from the previous day’s training or that you are getting ill.
You should not train hard that day. A persistent elevation of five or six beats in your morning pulse rate indicates a more serious form of overtraining. It may be wise to take a few days off until your waking pulse returns to normal.
#5 – Write Down How You Feel
Each morning record how you feel. Use a scale from A to F, A for “feeling great” and “cannot wait for the day’s training session”, and F for “Feeling terrible” and “don’t want to even see a bike”.
#6 – Track Your Mental Toughness
Besides recording your feelings, you can train and track your mental toughness by focusing on motivation. Most riders neglect this form of mental training because they fail to verbalize their goals. Don’t make this mistake.
Recording your long-term, short-term, and daily goals and their achievement should be an integral part of your training diary. Meeting your daily goals is a tremendous confidence builder.
#7 – Create a Comments Section
Record any minor ailments such as colds, influenza, muscle soreness, or injuries. Record your general state of well being.
Are you enthusiastic, positive, or lethargic? Write about how motivated you were for the practice or competition. If you were psyched up, record the thoughts and feelings that helped you.
#8 – Record Training or Race Results
On race days, record the conditions of the race: size of field, gears used on climbs, sprints, tactics, mistakes, who was in the break, and your final placing. And keep records of any medical tests or physiological tests completed that day.
In cycling, as in any sport, you can’t know where you are going if you don’t know where you have been. A training diary is a map and record of where you’ve been and a guide to where you want to go.
In addition to your diary, you occasionally may want to summarize your data.
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