When I decided to start doing some cycling and running events the first thing I did was set up a training log. This was before I even decided exactly what types of races I wanted to do. In fact, I am still working through the types of events I want to do.
In the log, I post my workout activity, every day. Even if I did nothing on a particular day, I post that. Then I put the log on my website so anyone can read it. There isn’t a lot of information in the log. A short paragraph about my workout and some basic stats. Distance, time, average heart rate. Things like that. Unless you are a competitive friend or maybe a close family member (and even then, probably not), it is of no interest or value. So why did I publish it on my website?
Accountability. I work best with goals. And I like big goals. Seemingly impossible goals. Or at least really challenging ones. Typically that means that if I don’t work toward my goal pretty quickly, I will miss it completely. I like to leave no time to waste. I call it “planned procrastination.” It makes me somewhat efficient. But, most important, it is how I work best.
By publishing my daily log, it provides accountability. It guarantees that I am answering to my log, in a public way, for my workout. It makes me think about working out, every day. And if I did nothing on a particular day, it shows. If I crushed it, that is there too.
Each log post is also numbered based on how long I have been working toward my new goal. This reminds me how much I have invested in the goal, and keeps me going when things get tough. It is harder to quit if you have invested a lot of time and effort into something.
The way I see it, if I am going to accomplish a far-fetched goal, I have to work at it every day. Or at least think about it every day. I need to be deliborate in an accountable way. And the public training log guarantees that I do just that.