Adjusting training plan based on recovery metrics? HRV, Training Readiness, etc

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  • #20812
    tedc
    Participant

    <p class=”p1″ style=”-webkit-text-size-adjust: auto; margin: 0px; caret-color: #000000; color: #000000; font-family: Arial; font-stretch: normal; font-size: 21px; line-height: normal; font-size-adjust: none; font-kerning: auto; font-variant-alternates: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-numeric: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-variant-position: normal; font-feature-settings: normal; font-optical-sizing: auto; font-variation-settings: normal;”><span class=”s1″ style=”font-family: UICTFontTextStyleBody;”>Looking for thoughts from athletes and coaches experienced in this area, do you regularly modify your training plan based on morning recovery metrics (such as Garmin Training Readiness, HRV, Body Battery High, and Recovery Time, or the equivalent from Oura and Whoop)? As an example, let’s say you have a threshold run on the calendar for today as part of this week’s training schedule. You wake up and your Garmin Morning Report tells you have a Training Readiness in the low range (1-25) and/or your overnight HRV has dropped below your 7 day average. Do you change your plan for today’s training? Or do you power through like you used to? I am wondering if there are improvements to be gained by making modifications based on these metrics or if they should only be considered as a validation for when I feel really lousy, and otherwise just ignore the variation in recovery metrics and stick to the plan.  Have you had good experiences where the recovery metrics drove training decisions and this seemed to be an improvement (greater training adaptation, less illness, more and faster race finishes) over the old fashion way of just listening to your body, and bringing a strong mental game to just show up and do the work. </span></p>
    <p class=”p1″ style=”-webkit-text-size-adjust: auto; margin: 0px; caret-color: #000000; color: #000000; font-family: Arial; font-stretch: normal; font-size: 21px; line-height: normal; font-size-adjust: none; font-kerning: auto; font-variant-alternates: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-numeric: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-variant-position: normal; font-feature-settings: normal; font-optical-sizing: auto; font-variation-settings: normal;”><span class=”s1″ style=”font-family: UICTFontTextStyleBody;”> </span></p>
    <p class=”p1″ style=”-webkit-text-size-adjust: auto; margin: 0px; caret-color: #000000; color: #000000; font-family: Arial; font-stretch: normal; font-size: 21px; line-height: normal; font-size-adjust: none; font-kerning: auto; font-variant-alternates: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-numeric: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-variant-position: normal; font-feature-settings: normal; font-optical-sizing: auto; font-variation-settings: normal;”><span class=”s1″ style=”font-family: UICTFontTextStyleBody;”>As context, I have been using HRV and Training Readiness for about 18 months, all of which I was not training for a race. I’m trying to figure out for my races in 2024 if Training Readiness and HRV are useful inputs for training decisions or more of a distraction that could lead to not train as hard as I have in the past (When Garmin tells me I have “3 days” of recovery time after a couple of hard workouts, it tends to make me take the foot off the gas for a little while.)</span></p>

    #20813
    Charles
    Participant

    I’m not a coach.

    I look at the data, and have for a long time.  For me, it is not reliable.

    Training Readiness relies on a good estimate of VO2max, training activity, and HRV.  All of the data needs to be captured by your Garmin device.  I cross train on a bike with Zwift – the data is recorded on Zwift and Training Peaks, but it is not recognized on my Garmin watch (or Stryd). Also, because I periodize my training I expect to be slightly overtrained  at times to achieve some adaptation at the expense of detraining some other aspect of my fitness; by example, my VO2 is sacrificed to gain endurance or some other training objective.

    The metrics reflect a relatively short time frame, so they may be useful in identifying acute training overloads, but in my opinion it is chronic training overload which is harder to identify, and has a much more damaging effect on recovery – weeks, months, and possibly years.

    A better approach, from experience:

    1. Choose the correct level of plan based on your current fitness.  I have the time, but not the ability, to take the highest level plan; I will crash and burn very quickly.

    2. The 80/20 workouts provide a range of efforts. Use them. If you a dog tired, back off and work out at the lowest prescribed effort. At the other extreme, don’t go for a PB during a workout – harder than it seems – I had to learn not to look at time and distance during workouts because I would see that PB and go for it, only to find I was not recovered the next workout.  Trust the plan.

    3.  Injury is a game changer – stop. You are just going to lose time extending your recovery.

    If your hard determined to use the metrics you will need to discover how to use them. HRV for example needs to be recorded at the proper time to be meaningful. I haven’t seen anything but anecdotal reports that this is a good thing, but next to nothing on practical implementation of the information.

    #20815
    coachanne
    Keymaster

    I’m unable to read your initial Question in the forum.  Can you repost it please?

     

    Coach Anne

    #20816
    tedc
    Participant

    Reposting the original post since there was lots of garbage characters included, plus some more thoughts/questions at the end.

     

    Looking for thoughts from athletes and coaches experienced in this area, do you regularly modify your training plan based on morning recovery metrics (such as Garmin Training Readiness, HRV, Body Battery High, and Recovery Time, or the equivalent from Oura and Whoop)? As an example, let’s say you have a threshold run on the calendar for today as part of this week’s training schedule. You wake up and your Garmin Morning Report tells you have a Training Readiness in the low range (1-25) and/or your overnight HRV has dropped below your 7 day average. Do you change your plan for today’s training? Or do you power through like you used to? I am wondering if there are improvements to be gained by making modifications based on these metrics or if they should only be considered as a validation for when I feel really lousy, and otherwise just ignore the variation in recovery metrics and stick to the plan.  Have you had good experiences where the recovery metrics drove training decisions and this seemed to be an improvement (greater training adaptation, less illness, more and faster race finishes) over the old fashion way of just listening to your body, and bringing a strong mental game to just show up and do the work.

    As context, I have been using HRV and Training Readiness for about 18 months, all of which I was not training for a race. I’m trying to figure out for my races in 2024 if Training Readiness and HRV are useful inputs for training decisions or more of a distraction that could lead to not train as hard as I have in the past (When Garmin tells me I have “3 days” of recovery time after a couple of hard workouts, it tends to make me take the foot off the gas for a little while.)

    In theory, trainings plans are designed with a prediction of how much load/stress a body can handle (in the form of weekly training duration and intensity distribution.) Of course that varies by age, health etc. If a plan pushes too hard for an individual, then they are overtraining which is detrimental (leading to a slowdown, reduction in energy, higher threats of injury or illness.) But a training plan is just a static prescription of training load and prediction of the individual’s (body and mind) to absorb and grow from the training. What the training plan and even TrainingPeaks TSS/ATL/CTL don’t know is how your body is handling the training load. Is the training putting your body in unproductive overtraining state? Or perhaps the training alone isn’t of a level that would put you in an overtrained state, but other parts of your life (such as lots of travel, jet lag, poor sleep, personal or work life stress, a chronic or acute injury, booze, etc) accompanied by the training are putting you there. It seems to me that an individual with a training plan (and a strong sense of commitment and no access to HRV (and the other recovery metrics) or a coach to notice declining performance) might not be able to acknowledge that the sum of all of this (training + life stress) might be putting them in an overtrained state, where they are no longer adapting with increased speed and strength outcomes. And HRV (and the other recovery metrics) might be a big improvement in this area where now it’s not subjective of “how do I feel today”, or one-size fits all “every third week is a recovery week” but more objective paying attention to the recovery metrics which will help 1) to improve one’s intention to optimize recovery with good sleep, lower alcohol consumption, relaxation, naps, etc and 2) to align the hard workouts for the days you are actually properly recovered from the previous training (including the ways life and work stress can delay recovery.)

    It seems to me that in the future a platform like TrainingPeaks would be able to take the HRV/RHR recovery data and recommend or make adjustments to your training plan according to the recovery data, and that these small adjustments every week could in theory give someone a greater training outcome than the Training Peaks training plan experience today.

    Anyone else have any experience with this? Is the technology still too early? Anything to watch out for? I think there is a discussion to be had about the future of optimal training with AI-based modifications to plans based on actual recovery metrics, but I’m also just interested in guidelines for 2023 about how we can utilize recovery metrics to modify the standard 80/20 plans week by week for optimal results… Some of those guidelines might be (I am making these up):

    1. “When you see a decline in HRV and Training Readiness, if that aligns with how you feel, then eliminate the intensity in training for the day, keep the duration of the workouts as originally prescribed if you can, and plan to return to increased intensity in the days ahead.”

    2. “It’s natural to see a decline in your HRV and Training Readiness during this week of the training plan. Don’t be alarmed. Work hard, you’ll be tired from it, and keep in mind that the first half of next week will be a lighter load allowing your body to recover and your HRV to rebound.”

    3. “If you want to use accurate overnight HRV to make adjustments to your training plan based on your body’s response to the training, it’s critical that you do X,Y, and Z test and make sure the ___ settings in Garmin are set to this, so that your recovery time and Training Readiness are as accurate as possible.”

    4. “We have found that Garmin HRV (up through Forerunner 965) is relatively consistent and reliable, but that the Recovery Time feature assigns too much recovery time for extended Zone 3 workouts such as RT, and CT. Don’t be alarmed when your watch tells you you have 58 hours of recovery time after a CT workout. If you feel ok the next day, train as prescribed.” -OR- “We have found Garmin’s Recovery Time to be relatively accurate as an indicator of intense workouts having an extended impact on the body, requiring an extended period limited to low intensity training.

    Thanks! Looking forward to the feedback, guidance, and other’s experiences. I know this is new, but surely folks have begun wondering how recovery metrics and 8020 training plans intersect.

     

    • This reply was modified 3 months, 4 weeks ago by tedc.
    #20819
    coachanne
    Keymaster

    We can definitely get caught up in the data that our Garmin/ Whoop/ Quora spits out every day; however, nothing beats listening to your body and training accordingly.  While these devices have benefits. they also have buffered our basic “listen to your body” trait by “telling” us how we SHOULD feel.

    Matt wrote a great blog post recently regarding subjective vs objective training metrics. It gives great insight on the same topic you wrote about.  You can find that article here: https://www.8020endurance.com/yes-but-how-do-you-feel-more-evidence-that-subjective-training-metrics-have-more-value-than-objective-metrics/

     

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tedc

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