Every training session you complete is one thin, almost insignificant page added to a runner’s training diary. The key is to consistently add page upon page until you have a diary, that is so thick, it’s unbreakable.

Thinking of a training diary in this way reinforces you to think of the big picture and your end goals. Understanding the concept that, no one session makes you, is extremely important – especially with long distance running.

The end goal you are striving for won’t happen in one day, a week or in a month, but it will happen. Runners get caught up in the end outcome of just one session.

Too often, negative thoughts are generated as a result of not achieving your goals set for a certain session in training. Whether that is a set distance, lap splits, average pace or elevation gain.

It’s important not to let these training parameters play a higher importance than training consistency. Achieving a certain time in a marathon in a year or even two years time this is an ultimate goal, this is the ‘Runner’s Training Diary’ as a finished product built by training consistency.

It’s great and important to have expectations and aims in training, but it should not have any detrimental effect on the bigger picture, long-term goal.The most important thing is to complete the session having worked to the best of your ability on that specific day, and still feeling healthy afterwards.

Next week you might be feeling better and hit a quicker average pace, but for this week remind yourself that the job’s done and another thin page has been added to your training diary. Building it stronger every day, week by week, and month by month.

In order to achieve your ultimate goal, the most important factor is to consistently add page upon page, until the date of your race. And each day brings a new opportunity to add a new page.

Each completed page is thin, just like the steps toward the ultimate goal are small. Large leaps and drastic changes can lead to burnout, a drop in motivation or an increase in the risk of injury.

So it’s more important to focus on the small actions that can be regularly completed on the journey towards achieving the desired goal.

Each small step or thin page is a process goal. These are the defined daily goals that can be executed and progress a runner towards achieving the ultimate goal.

The specific components of each process goal are individual to each runner and can only be determined based on the runner’s goals, history, the current state of health and training phase.

With this in mind, what can you do TODAY that will make you a better athlete tomorrow? Run, listen, test, fail, learn and enjoy the process.

About the Author
Majell Backhausen is one of Australia’s finest elite trail runners. As an international runner, he has enjoyed success on the shorter distance trails right up to the 170km Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc (UTMB).