General Training

Training Notebooks

Think With Your Hands - C. Knight / krider

The event coming up at the weekend marks the end of my current training notebook! It is now full. Of numbers and ticks mostly 🙂 With the odd cross *sigh* It is a sad day since I’ve had that notebook with me for the major part of my training this year. But it also opens up new possibilities; moving on to a new plan, with a shiny new notebook!


Training Plan

I plan my overall training schedule using a spreadsheet (yes, still 😛 ), which has several pages in it for more detailed exercise breakdown. I then transcribe those on a weekly basis to my notebook for use at the training centre (or event). There is feedback from the notebook to the spreadsheet, via me obviously! if a workout weight or volume really hasn’t worked, or when I was injured,  I tweak both the overall schedule and/or the exercises in the spreadsheet. This is one reason that I don’t write that far ahead in the notebook. I don’t necessarily update all the information on reps back into the spreadsheet though. That is my plan, whilst the notebook is the realisation of that plan.


New Notebook!

Despite being someone who makes their living from writing software, including mobile apps, I have yet to find a solution that has worked for me as long-term as an electronic training notebook when I am actually in the middle of a training session. And as a stationary geek, choosing a new notebook is quite a tricky decision!

In the end, I found one completely by accident, in the sales section of Waterstones. It is a oMoleskine notebook (which I am a big fan of anyway) but with extra decoration in the form of a Lego brick, and with some Lego branding. As a lifelong Lego fan, it was hard to resist. And then when I found the message “Think with your hands” inside I decided it must be fate 😉

This notebook also has a ribbon to mark the current page, so no more having to clip my pen to the relevant page. Fancy!


Why Use a Training Notebook?

I use a training notebook to allow me to track progress, and to provide feedback to my coach when she needs it. My training is always with a purpose, even if it is not kettlebell related. I am looking to increase strength, or to improve cardio. How do I know if I am achieving this without logging what I do for later comparison?

I know that it is not possible to always have personal bests each training session, or even each week. Using a training plan and notebook does allow for me to have minor goals throughout a longer training plan. Such as increasing my deadlift using a four-week plan, within an overall twenty-week plan. I did the same routine five times, but with different weights each time, dropping back to an easy week after pushing it each time.

It also allows me to track how I’m feeling in workouts; if I’ve had a particularly good or bad day. Or if the volume or weight is an issue. Things like this can be tracked to then decide to plan in a rest or deload week (depending on the fatigue). Sure being intuitive and listening to my body is sensible, but doing it this way ensures that on occasion I force myself to take it easier too. It’s too easy to get caught up in pushing yourself sometimes.


Any Suggestions?

I’m always open to suggestions about ways of tracking my training. Apps, specific notebooks, templates that work for others etc. However, it is necessary to bear in mind I have quite a customised training schedule. I don’t just do strength, or running, or, … I mix strength plans with kettlebell ones and stretch them out to allow my body the capacity to achieve the goals.

It might sound a bit mad, but it has worked this year. The focus has switched around a bit depending on the state of injuries but otherwise has worked well. I can take (for example) the deadlift progressions from 5/3/1 and mix those with Smolov Squats, and my kettlebell training. I think two gold medals, one silver (all kettlebells), adding 30% to my back squat max, and a double bodyweight max deadlift (from about 1.5x bodyweight) in 2014 vindicated this approach for me.

Oh, and I shouldn’t forget fat loss and becoming a triathlete! 😉

If you have suggestions, let me know here, or via the Facebook page.


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