The altitude catchphrase: everything hurts and I’m dying. I kind of love that feeling… you know something good must be happening. But still, it can be easy to lose track of progress. If everything feels a bit crappy, and all the paces are different, how do I know if I’m getting in good work? ⠀ ⠀
I’ve found logs to be immensely helpful as an anchor in these situations. I’ve kept a training log in one form or another for six years now. I don’t look back at them too often, but I like to use them to establish a baseline in hard training blocks. ⠀ ⠀
I started doing this on trips to Flagstaff. If I was struggling the first week, I might look back and see I was running faster than previous trips, or more mileage. It calms me to have a reason to know why I’m more tired. ⠀ ⠀
Of course, there can be a negative side to holding too tightly to past experience. If you have a certain key workout you need to hit, it can seem like failure if you don’t repeat it exactly (one reason why I hate the idea of indicator workouts before races). Example: I finished my long run today and was bummed because I averaged slower than last week.
I guess like anything, logs have to be an exercise in optimism: go find one thing that you’re doing now that you weren’t a year ago, one point of progress. If I practice this attitude, I can most times find something that has improved – be it mileage, pace, workout load – and that helps me feel like the bar has been raised and I’m building momentum. When each day is a bit of a slog, that’s exactly what I need to believe.