Training Log: create a game plan.
You need to know your route, as well as, where you've been, in order to know how much further you have to go. Your training log is your ride to a successful racing future. Your training log can be a guide. It can be a motivator. It can be a database. The tricky thing about a training log is that it requires YOU to make the daily entries. So, the first rule is to get religious about making daily entries in your log.
Secondly, you need to know what to record, and what NOT to record. I knew a guy once that actually counted the time it took to drive back and forth from his house to the water as "training-time"….um, I don't think so!
I fell into a solid way of keeping track of things that was pretty easy to track, as well as consistent. I suggest keeping track of the following items:
* Total Time = the complete amount of time from when I placed my boat into the water, to when I took it out.
* Warm-up Time = the time I spent warming up. Usually always about the same interval for any type of workout. (for me it's usually around 15 min.)
* On Time = the time I spent actually doing the "work" component of that day's particular workout
* Rest Time = the rest interval between pieces mostly keeping track of whether or not it was "greater", "equal", or "less than" the On Time.
* The Type of Workout = what kind of work was to be accomplished with that particular workout on that particular day
* Level of Intensity = what "Perceived Level of Exertion" did the On Time pieces represent? Ex. 100% effort, 95%, 90%, 80%, 75%, etc. or "Cruise, Medium, Hard, All Out, etc.
* Days Off = Each day(s) I did NOT train is marked on the calendar too.
* Max Heart rate at the end of each "work segment" typically referred to as a "piece". (usually done in conjunction with a Heart Rate monitor.)
* Rate of Heart rate drop in one minute after each piece. (usually done in conjunction with a Heart Rate monitor)
* General notes about how I was feeling or what was going on during the workout, race, etc.
* Resting Heart rate upon waking up in the morning
I think I only bought one of those fancy athletic training log books one time. I was on a kick for several years of using a Daytimer-type book as a log. I'd simply make my entries in each appropriate day. I'd usually use the "Week at a Glance" version. They don't lend themselves to "general writing" though. Toward the end of my international racing career, I turned to a simple tablet. You don't need anything fancy at all. Just be sure to keep it simple and consistent.
Another very important thing to do is to "map out your year". You need to know what the "Milestone Events" are going to be for you in the upcoming racing season. You will build all your training around those dates. You may have 3 important races you want to excel in during the upcoming season. You will need to mark those in your training log or on your calendar, and build your Training Game-Plan accordingly.
To build your Training Game-Plan, you need to start by allowing yourself plenty of time to build your Aerobic Structure. Your Aerobic Structure relates to how well specific paddling muscles have been trained to efficiently use oxygen. Then, once your aerobic conditioning is strong enough to support Anaerobic work, you can begin to do a combination of shorter interval pieces mixed with the longer aerobic pieces. Lastly, once your body has become accustom to dealing with lactic acid and the side effects of anaerobic work, you can work on pure Sprint workouts as a final step toward race day.
I used to work on a 15 week cycle. The first 5 weeks were dedicated to Distance aerobic work. The next 6 weeks were dedicated to Middle Speed and Distance work, with the last 4 weeks are dedicated to Speed work and a short Taper to race day.
The Aerobic Workouts consist of 60 to 90 min at Medium Intensity of around 70% - 85 % effort. You want to keep your heart rate well under your Max Heart Rate.
The Combination Workouts consist of Medium and Short Interval pieces of 12 min to 4 min., usually with “less than” rest interval of 2 – 3 min. These are done at a higher intensity, 85 % to 95%. Total On Time usually adds up to 20 - 40 min. You need to dial that in yourself. I recommend starting out easy and working up to longer sessions. These are designed to "tease" your Anaerobic Threshold, with the goal of bumping it upward after time.
The Sprint Workouts are 100% efforts of 3 min pieces ON with 3 min Off, designed to train in the feeling of "pure speed". I feel this element is important, even thought many of our races are "hours long" instead of "minutes long". In my opinion, keeping "speed" in mind is important, as many folks spend 100% of their time training their Endurance structure, basically teaching themselves how to go Slower, not Faster! Inevitably there comes a time in every race where you could use a burst of speed. You don’t want that to be “uncharted territory”. You want to have trained at this level so you have the confidence to “put the hammer down” when the time is right.
Okay, I hope this helps. Go out there this season with A Training Game-Plan! Use your Training Log as a tool to help you Kick some Butt, and most importantly, Have a Good Time!!