Smart Athlete

Using HRV to Guide Training

Using HRV to Guide Training

It is hard to organize all the data we can collect these days in a way that makes decisions easier to make. The recommendations of a system like HRV4Training make interpreting the data much easier and as a HUGE BONUS, it makes integrating highly valuable ‘subjective measures’ into these recommendations much easier.

HRV can be a huge asset when adjusting training based on an athlete’s recovery. I have pulled a few examples for today’s post.

The Hrv4Training App is one of the apps I personally use daily and one that I recommend to many of my busy-adult clients to save them time and to try and coax them into paying attention to their body/stress and communicating with their coach!

Read my post on how I use HRV4TRAINING to get these comments and subjective measures into training peaks

Monthly HRV in return to fitness

One way that I found HRV to be helpful was in monitoring my return to form after a long period of illness/injury in late 2017-2018. In the above image, I have annotated a by month look at RMSSD (read about RMSSD here).

I was able to get relatively fit (~100-110 CTL and Cp20 @ >5 w/kg ) in Feb/March after volume/endurance. Along with general feeling on the bike, the return of my ‘normal’ riding HR:Power (efficiency) and resting HR/HRV values made for great indicators that my form had returned and that it was time to try some intensity and racing in May.

Check out Consummate Athlete episodes on HRV

Are you recovered? Effects of racing and travel

The above athlete’s HRV is shown as school ends and we tried a big volume block with the newly available time ahead of a recovery week and a stage race. HRV seemed to reflect a good response to training and also matched a decent recovery/form for the stage race. Post-stage race recovery coupled with some crazy travel days made for a bunch of yellow days with low HRV that can help guide the recovery strategy in the week(s) after the race.

Adjusting training for Lifestyle Stress

This athlete above has been fairly consistent until this spring when lifestyle stress + poor weather made for a period where HRV dropped (see above red arrow) which I noticed due to the HRV drop and then this started the discussion of what was up with life-stress and how we could adjust training to match.

How to use HRV – The Basics from HRV4Training Blog

How is sleep?

This client had a very big decline in sleep quality around the first arrow from the left. This change in HRV and the daily recommendation from HRV4Training (and reported low sleep) helped start a discussion and provide support to reduce training and a guide along with sleep/feeling (and a doctor) to return to training.

The above graph is sleep hours as reported by the client in the HRV4Training each morning. This started a discussion about why sleep had declined by 1hr in the spring (group rides and weekly races …) and how we could adjust things to prioritize sleep.

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