Your personal impression of a workout is essential training data
Whether you're self-coached or you've hired a professional, you shouldn't ignore the importance of post-workout notes. Nothing can tell the real story of how a workout felt like you, the individual athlete — no matter how many fitness gadgets and sensors you use. Here are some tips for what to write, and how notes are used in SportTracks.
It's worth your time
When it comes to sports technology, we've grown accustomed to having our connected gear automatically sync and share our data across various platforms without assistance. While the automation is nice, it's damaging to take a completely "hands-off" approach to your training log.
On the same day as your workout, take a minute or two to write down some details. The sooner you write, the better. We tend to quickly forget how hard a workout felt and the surrounding details, and this is exactly the kind of information that's useful to have in in the future.
When you or your coach looks back on your workout history, the information in these notes may end up being pivotal for strategically planning your training. Being able to directly compare two similar workouts is a powerful way to analyze your progress, but this information gains a great deal of context when you can go a level deeper and read about how these specific workouts made you feel.
What to write in your notes
The more detail you can add to your notes, the better. Here are some things that are important to include...
How did it it feel? - Just looking at heart-rate charts and pace averages doesn't tell the more important story of how a workout actually felt. Bonus points if you include how you felt before, during, and afterward.
What did you eat? - Fuel is a critical component of endurance sports, so recording what you ate and drank can be invaluable information. Imagine analyzing a workout in the future and trying to determine how you had such a strong performance, but not having any fueling information.
Were you rested? - Another major factor that you cannot clearly determine with workout data alone is your level of rest and recovery. Taking a few moments to jot down how much rest and recovery you've had is centrally important to the workout.
Did you work out alone? - Solo workouts are often different than group workouts, but unless you include this information in your notes, you likely won't remember it when you revisit the workout in the future. Working out with others influences your pacing, speed, and other factors.
Did you have any pain? - Workout notes can help you monitor the beginnings of potential injuries. Putting in the effort to record where pains and soreness began may help you or your coach determine how an injury started, and how it can be avoided in the future.
What else was going on? - The amount of rest you had and what you ate is all great information, but the other aspects of your life can influence your performance as well. Were you experiencing additional stress from work or family obligations? Include these factors in your notes as well.
Did the weather fluctuate? - SportTracks automatically adds detailed weather information to your entire workout history, but in your workout notes you can add even more detail, such as if and when you encountered headwinds, or if a particular section of a workout was hotter than another, etc.
How it works in SportTracks
There are several ways to make notes and comments in SportTracks. A workout note, as discussed in this article, can simply be written directly in your Workout Detail pages. They are only visible to you and your coach (if you have one). On your Workouts page, you can use "text" to search your entire history, and quickly locate workouts based on what you wrote in notes.
Individual workouts also have "Comments". You can leave comments on your own workouts, and your friends on SportTracks and your coach can write comments as well. Think of comments as more of a dialog or conversational element of your training log. Whether you can see comments publicly or not depends on your privacy settings.
There is also a "Daily Notes" feature in your SportTracks calendar. This is more of a global note for individual dates, and they are visible to only you and your coach. They're useful for notating travel days, sick days, and for higher-level notes for race-days and days that have multiple workouts and activities.
Do you use workout notes in a way that isn't covered in this post? We would love to hear about your method in the Comment section below!