Keeping a Training Journal

Codeon coaches are big fans of TrainingPeaks. We use the software daily to create workouts and review progress of our athletes, review notes they enter, view what our coach plans for us and log or upload workout data. This year Dawn decided to keep a hand-written journal as well alongside TrainingPeaks, focusing here on goals and musings. Why? Handwriting has proven to help people retain information better and minimizes distractions. While much of the research focuses on learning, Dawn had found she and fellow students in college brainstormed for essays more effectively writing out ideas by hand. In a very digital age many people who keep diaries still write entries, finding it more personal or meditative. We thought a recent New York Times article on the benefits of handwriting had lessons for goal-setting and training progress. “When we write, a unique neural circuit is automatically activated,” said Stanislas Dehaene, a psychologist at the Collège de France in Paris. “There is a core recognition of the gesture in the written word, a sort of recognition by mental simulation in your brain. Yale psychologist Paul Bloom added, “With handwriting, the very act of putting it down forces you to focus on what’s important…Maybe it helps you think better.” Surrounded by work, family, and personal commitments, might meditating on workouts and races be a more meaningful process done by hand? We all know the benefits of quiet meditation for our health; if nothing else this could be a way to encourage a structure.


We’ll still use TrainingPeaks every day; this is an additional tool for a separate purpose. Dawn bought the Believe Training Journal because it includes guidance on setting goals and running-related quotes that inspire her brainstorming, and pro runner Lauren Fleshman co-wrote it (we like her blog and tweets). Of course you could keep it simple and use a blank notebook. Here’s a photo of Dawn’s first full week of training in the new year.

Believe Training Journal by Lauren Fleshman and Roisin McGettigan-Dumas

Believe journal week 1

We’d love to hear from our community if anyone else hand-writes goals or workout reflections, and will post updates on the handwritten experiment. Here’s to a strong and fast 2015!


About Dawn

Dawn is a top tier Age Group triathlete, long-time swim instructor, and soon to be a USAT Level I Certified Triathlon Coach. Dawn has raced 16 triathlons, including four half Ironmans; more than 35 road and trail races; open water swims and endurance ride events. She is a member of Ignite Endurance.

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