Archive for April, 2018

5 Hacks for Triathletes Struggling to Find Time to Train

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One of the biggest challenges that I hear from my athletes is always needing more time in the day, followed closely by questions about how to “balance” life with work, family and triathlon training. These are common pain points that triathletes of all levels deal with—so what are the answers?

We all have the same 1,440 minutes a day, so when you see other athletes, who may be business owners, entrepreneurs, doctors, lawyers, parents, etc., who are still crushing their workouts, sometimes you may think, “How do they manage that? Is there a secret sauce?”

As a coach, and one who has coached these types of athletes, I don’t think there is a “secret sauce,” but what I can tell you is that a lot of them have the same determination and the belief that they are chasing a better version of themselves. That is their North Star, and it keeps them going even when their schedules get very demanding or out of their control (and this happens to everyone).

When I put together workouts for these athletes, it is truly like a big Sudoku puzzle around their busy schedules. But I know that they have big goals and are willing to work hard for them. For my part, I know that I have to make sure that I understand their lives beyond triathlon (yes, there is life beyond triathlon) so we can work together to find a balance of performance and fun.

So, with this in mind, I want to give you my five hacks for finding balance in your own lives so you can make room for training, work, family, and whatever 1,000 other things you have going on:

1. A rest Day = A rest day

A rest day is a complete rest day, especially if you are getting ready for a long distance race. Put the feet up. Binge watch something on Netflix and enjoy the downtime. This means you shouldn’t mow the lawn, sneak in a long walk or wash your car. You should rest!

A rest day is where they body repairs itself along with rebuilding the immune system.  If we don’t take full advantage of it, it maybe a little bit harder to get motivated for the next day, and eventually you won’t see the gains you want.

If an athlete has kiddos, maybe taking a weekend day off is better since the kids have swim lessons, baseball, track, etc. During that day you (the athlete) are driving the kids around and going back and forth. Maybe you’re not eating like you should and by the end of the day, you are completely exhausted. Then you have to get ready for your long bike the next day and you’re truly spent.

Tip: Look at when your day off is. Is there a better day off for you where you can truly take at least 18 hours of not doing much? For example, if you have kids and the weekends are PACKED, then maybe take Monday off. If you have Monday already off and it is not working, change it! Talk to your coach!

2. Plan your workouts with the family calendar

The best tool on your phone is either the iCal or Google Calendar. You can organize your schedule (work, training, etc.) with your family’s schedule. Bring the family together and help eachother instead of getting frustrated at the schedule. We all have full schedules ranging from the kids to the job to the spouses.

Here is how I suggest you break your calendar down to make it a bit easier for you and the family:

Make sure you put in the events/appointments that can’t be moved first (for example: work, spouse’s work, date night and kid’s events.)
Put in your workouts that you MUST do and they should not be moved (for example: long bike, long run, long swim).
Put in the workouts that are group workouts (for example: Masters swim, track workout, spin class).
Last but not least, put in the events that can be flexible (Mow the lawn, grocery store, laundry, etc.)

Tip: On the calendar, everyone has a specific color to see who is doing what. Everyone is connected to their phones these days and this will be an easy fix to connect with the family.

3. Pick a Race. Involve the family. Make it a “race-cation.”

Triathlon is a selfish sport. Yes, I said it, but I think we all know that. Instead of getting the family frustrated about triathlon and how it has changed your life, get them involved.

Pick a race that works with everyone’s schedule, not just your schedule but the family’s. Pick a race with the family. Show them a couple of options and find out what is available for what they can do at the race. For example, IRONMAN Mont Tremblant is a very family friendly race and everything is close by for the family.

Look beyond race day. Is there an opportunity to go explore with the family after the race? Another example, IRONMAN 70.3 Coeur d’Alene is a perfect opportunity to head over to Glacier National Park post-race to explore one of the most beautiful parks in the United States.

Tip: Get the family involved from picking the race, to involving them in the race as volunteers or doing the IronKids run and finding out what is available to visit beyond the race venue.

4. Hire people to help you out (at home, at work … and a coach!)

During the heavy long course triathlon training, doing every day chores can really take a toll on you. Sure, you could ask the spouse or the kids to help but as you know, they are probably getting tired.

Treat yourself by hiring someone to either clean the house, mow the lawn or take your laundry to a wash and fold. You spend top dollars on your bike, clothing and nutrition for your long course triathlon training—spending a few extra dollars to help you with your sanity will help.

Above all, understand that being an athlete/parent/attorney/whatever means you’ll always have to put a few things further down the list of priorities. And that’s how you truly find balance.

Another hire that you should look at doing if you haven’t already is hiring a coach for your long course triathlon race. What will these coaches do? To put it simply, they’ll take the guesswork out of your weeks.They will organize your workouts for your lifestyle and family time. They will keep you accountable and they will call you out if you are not getting the workouts done.

Tip: Head over to Angie’s List or Nextdoor to ask who can help you at home. Head to TrainingPeaks and check out the many amazing coaches out there to help you achieve your goals.

5. Listen to your body

Last but not least, listening to your body is crucial when it comes to your training. You truly need to figure out what is going on physically and mentally, as triathlon training can put a toll on your body, especially the long course training.

As a triathlete, we tend to stick to our ways with training. Like clockwork, you go to Masters swimming, every M/W/F and head out for a group ride on Saturday. Until life happens, the spouse is out of town and you have to take your kids to practice and suddenly you realize you’ll have to miss several of your regular workouts. That’s okay.

Take some time to regroup and adjust your training schedule until things calm down. Move your bike to later in the day, when you feel rested and have some good food in you.Your body will thank you for it.

Another way to determine if you are “tired” or that you are dealing with keep an eye out with your heart rate or if you track your HRV, it can really help with the whole idea if you are really tired or just mentally tired. Remember, as we get older and as we get closer to our races, it is all about quality over quantity.

Tip: It is ok to listen to your body, you know your body way better than your family, and your coach. Let them know that you need to take a couple of hours to Control/Alt/Delete.

As you are heading into your triathlon training season for the year, plan everything out on the calendar, with the family and with your coach. I promise you, the family will have a better idea of what you need physically and mentally, your coach will have a better idea of what you need to do with the family and YOU will be in a much more relax state of mine heading into your 2018 Triathlon Season.

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5 Workouts to Help You Get That 5K PR

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Feel like you’re in a rut with your training and looking for a few new workouts to spice things up this spring? Here are a few workouts to shake things up and get your body primed for improved speed over shorter-distance races like the 5K.

These workouts are great for athletes who are comfortable covering the 5K distance but aren’t quite ready to spike up and go get on a track. Here are a few workouts to help you break down your 5k so you can reach out and grab your next PR.

6-8 x 1:00 Hills

This is a great workout to help you build power and manage the effects of a highly acidic environment. Running hills will help you run more efficiently, as well as help build leg strength and power. Run these hills on a steady slope of four to six degrees at 5K to one-mile intensity.

50/50 Run

Pacing is mission critical for setting a PR—especially in a race as short as the 5K. We have all executed a poor pacing strategy, and have likely paid dearly in the closing mile to mile and a half of a race.

Use this run to practice your race pace and treat this like a steady tempo or even a progression. Run the first 50 percent of your run at an easy aerobic pace, and then run the remaining 50 percent  at a hard tempo (half marathon to 10K pace) on the way back. If you run the first half too hard, you will not be able to close at goal pace.

A great variation of this would be to start at half marathon pace and close toward your 5K goal pace in the second half.

Pyramid [2-3-4-3-2] or [1-2-3-2-1]

While a track can be great for running fast, a hard one to four minute effort can be done on any terrain and best just as effective. Changing gears at a high effort can be done, but you have to teach yourself this in training.

By having your fastest efforts at the front and back of this workout, you’ll be forced to run hard when you’re tired. Run this workout continuously with equal rest in this pattern [2:00 hard, 2:00 easy – 3:00 hard, 3:00 easy]. Use a range of paces with the lowest amounts of time at the fastest paces.

Fartlek

The fartlek is a great workout for when you need to shut off the paces alarms, and just go back to the basics. These are great runs to do on grass in a park or on a fun loop with a few small hills.

A fartlek by definition is a more freeform run, and is a great way to practice your race in your head. Practice surging from the bench to the light pole to drop the person you’re racing in your head. Surge the next hill and practice the tough parts of running a short race!

3K Time Trial

This is a benchmark workout, best used every four to six weeks in your training if you don’t have a 5K planned, or you’re looking to gauge fitness but not run a full race.

Take plenty of time to warm up and get your body ready— if you don’t already use a dynamic warm up to get you race ready! Once you’re warmed up, get into the 3K time trial—the goal is to run your goal race pace or even a little faster than your 5K pace.

Close out with a similar length cool down and you’re ready to convert your 3K time to see where you stand. Use this sparingly as it should feel like a minor race effort.

These are a just a few workouts you can use to help spice up your 5K workouts without getting on a track, and will definitely help you better dial in your next 5K.

Remember that the goal of any workout is to build your ability to manage the pace for as long as you can. Keeping this in mind as you build your own schedule will help you get to your next start line with clear goals and strategy in mind.

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Data Analysis: Lawson Craddock at the 2018 Amstel Gold Race

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Rider
Name (Country)
Team
Result

1
Michael Valgren (Den)
Astana Pro Team
6:40:07

2
Roman Kreuziger (Cze)
Mitchelton-Scott

3
Enrico Gasparotto (Ita)
Bahrain-Merida
0:00:02


Lawson Craddock (USA)
EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale
0:00:30

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View Lawson’s power file HERE or click on the image below.

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With the cobbled classics out of the way for another year, the attention now turns to the Ardennes classics with Amstel Gold first up in this series of races. The Ardennes classics generally see a different type of rider perform at the head of affairs compared to the cobbled classics.

How does Amstel Gold race differ from others?

Amstel Gold is held in the “Dutch mountains” in the Limburg region of Holland and starts in the regional city of Maastrict before it takes on 35 categorized ascents and 3,000m of climbing across the 260km of racing.

One of the big characteristics that influence this race are the small twisting and turning roads covering the route. This is different from what the riders will see in Fleche and Liege races later in the week.

For that reason, positioning is key, and only those who can maintain a position at the head of affairs and have a solid team to keep the team leaders to the fore will be the ones fighting it out at the end for a high placing. The twisting and turning on narrow roads leads to splits happening easily and can make for those caught on the wrong side of a split to come back to the front.

With climbs generally lasting between 500m to 2.5km in length, which will take the riders around 45 seconds to five and a half minutes to complete, the ability to hit consistent, repetitive VO2-type efforts is essential for those wishing to be in any leading groups.

More important than just having a high VO2 capability is having an excellent recovery ability from such efforts; generally it’s the wearing down of doing such repetitive efforts that can make or break a race.

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Lawson Craddock’s Overall Stats

Race distance: 262km
Race duration: 6:36:52
Average speed: 39.6km/h
Average cadence: 88rpm
Average power: 289W (4.03W/kg)
Normalized power: 330W (4.6w/kg)
Ave HR: 157bpm
TrainingPeaks Training Stress Score® (TSS®): 479

Click HERE to learn more about TrainingPeaks metrics.

Making the Early Break

As we talk about so often in these big classic races, the fight to get into the early break is extremely difficult and can be some of the hardest efforts required to produce during the whole day.

It can be daunting to many that you need to dig so deep into your reserves in the first 20 minutes of a six-plus hour race just to either make the break or hang on into the peloton as they balance out the right combination of riders to make the first move.

The 2018 Amstel was no different, the bunch was aggressive from the start and this was viable with the peloton even splitting on the first climb of the day due to the high speeds. It was not until the second climb of the day after 14km that the selection was made and forged clear.

Lawson Craddock was one of the main instigators to make the move, obviously under instructions to be in the lead early and represent his team at the front. To do this, Craddock had to produce some impressive powers. In the opening hour of racing Craddock set ALL his peak powers from five seconds to 60 minutes. Below we’ve broken this down so you can really see the effort needed to make the front group:

Aggressive Start – Attacking to forge breakaway

From KM 0 to KM 14.8 – 18:31min

Ave Pwr: 365w 5.11w/kg
N Pwr: 430w 5.99w/kg

It was evident looking at the spikes in power during this time of efforts over 550w for durations lasting between 10 and 20 seconds that he was making many moves either to attack off the front or chasing the wheels as teams tried to develop the early break.

During this opening 15km Craddock had to make eleven 10 to 20 second efforts of 550w to 850w just to make sure he was in position to make the break. On the second climb of the day, Adsteeg, where the break was forged finally, Lawson hit his peak one minute power of the day. 637w, 8.87w/kg for one minute on the bottom slopes of the 700m climb. It was also during this one minute effort where he produced his peak maximal power of the day, 1490w, 20.75w/kg.

The break was to form and gain a big advantage due to solid co-operation within the nine man move and the twisting roads which are perfect to help a small break make a big gap. At one stage the break had nearly 16 minutes of a gap on the bunch.

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First Half of Race

Stats for First Half of Race

Distance: 130km
Duration: 3:18:00
Average speed: 39.3km/h
Average power: 287W (4.02W/kg)
Normalised power: 326W (4.54w/kg) Ave HR: 154bpm
TSS: 232
VI: 1.14

With the break formed, the tempo was set to extend the lead, even though the maximal powers and peak efforts where reduced after this opening 15km, the energy expenditure was still high as they were to hit climb after climb in the opening three hours of racing. On most of these climbs Craddock was to ride at a power range of 330-350w (4.57 w/kg to 4.9 w/kg approx.) during the climbs lasting between three and six minutes.

On the longest climb of the day, Drielandenpunt, which lasted 2.14km Lawson did 353w, 4.94w/kg during the 5:47 minutes it took him to cover the climb. This was typical of the effort which saw him keep to the head of affairs.

Second Half of Race

Distance: 132km
Duration: 3:19:00
Average speed: 39.8km/h
Average power: 287W (4.02W/kg), Same as first half
Normalized power: 334W (4.65w/kg), +8w more than first half
Ave HR: 158bpm, +4bpm more than first half
Training Stress Score: 244, +12 TSS more than first half
VI: 1.16, +.02 VI higher than first half

This comparison between first and second half is impressive, with such a high effort to make the early break and then maintaining a solid aerobic effort over the following three hours of riding, you would expect many riders to fall by the wayside and suffer in the latter half of the race due to fatigue from the opening 130km.

This is really what sets apart world class riders and elite athletes and the rest of the population. This incredible consistency in effort over the six-plus hours is the reason why Craddock was one of the only riders from the original breakaway to stay at the front after being caught.

With the exact same average power over the two halves of the race, the ability to maintain such a high effort over the six and a half hours s a massive indication that this young Texan is onto great things in 2018 and beyond.

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Cauberg Climbs

The Cauberg is the most famous of the climbs in the Amstel Gold race, traditionally it was the last climb of the day which was always the showdown for the finish which was 2km over the top of the hill.

With recent changes in the race route, this climb is now passed a total of three times, which are spread out throughout the race. The final of those ascents is with 18km to go.

On each of the occasions Craddock passed over the Cauberg he was in the lead group, with the last time up the climb being caught by two chasers as the chasing group began to close in on them. Here is a comparison of each time he went over the Cauberg:

Cauberg – 800m, 5.2% average gradient

Distance Done
Time
Ave Pwr
W:KG

Passage 1
56km
2:31
391w
5.48

Passage 2
177km
2:21
401w
5.62

Passage 3
245km
2:05
451w
6.32

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It was on the climb of the Gulpenerberg with 43km to go that the lead group began to be whittled down as the young Irish rider Eddie Dunbar applied pressure to keep the lead.

On this climb Craddock produced 461w, 6.46 w/kg, during the 1:38 minutes it took to cover the 700m climb, this was a visible increase in pace as Dunbar applied the pressure.

It was on the Cauberg which the first of the chasers caught the leading break, which at that stage had been away for around 225km. It was to be with 13km to go that the main group of favorites, including eventual winner Valgren along with Sagan and Valverde, managed to make the bridge.

From this point to the finish, it was all about surviving and holding onto the riders who had bridged across and who will have much more fresher legs than that which Craddock will have had at this point after his day long break.

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The final 7km of the race, which you can see highlighted in the file image above, shows Lawson pass over the climb of the Bemelerberg, it was an all-out impressive effort to stay to the head of affairs.

On the Bemelerberg climb Lawson produced 497w, 6.92w/kg for the 1:29 minutes it took him to cover the climb. He also hit a max power of 800w on the lower slopes of this as he gave everything to keep his top-10 position.

Over this final 7.2km Lawson produced an average power of 378w, 5.29w/kg and a normalized power of 403w, 5.61w/kg for the 10:16 minutes it took him to cover this final section.

The ability to ride at a power right at the top end of his threshold for 10 minutes after more than six hours of racing is something which us mere mortals can only dream of, a fantastic ride to end an epic day.

This last effort was enough to see him keep his position and finish an impressive ninth place in the opening Ardennes classic.

This performance proves once again the talent of the young American and no doubt we will see him fight for the win in this race in the years to come.

Power analysis by Dig Deep Coaching.

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Indoor Mountain Bike-Specific Workouts

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Often times, indoor or trainer workouts are most closely associated with road riding. The thinking tends to be that for off-road athletes to be successful, they have to perform all of their workouts on the trail. That’s simply not the case.

In fact, mountain bike athletes can see tremendous gains from the focus and specificity that indoor workouts provide. The ability to hone in on the nuances that make racing and riding off road exciting will also produce substantial fitness gains for those looking to improve in the discipline.

We’ll take a closer look at some of those nuances and review some examples of the types of indoor workouts that can help athletes prepare to be more successful off road.

Preparing for Climbing

More often than not, MTB races include some form of climbing. Depending on the terrain, and the geographic location, climbs could range anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours. Below is an example of a workout that will help to prepare the body for climbs anywhere in the five to 20 minute range. The first two minutes of the main set should be completed standing at 120 percent of Functional Threshold Power (FTP), then perform the following eight minutes seated at 97 percent of FTP. Intervals can be added as fitness increases.

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There are a few areas that this particular workout helps to bolster. One is building muscular strength to be able to produce efforts at, or just below, FTP.

This is a valuable area to focus on for all riders, and climbing is just one area where it’s important. The structure of this workout encourages FTP gains, as well as develops the anaerobic system when energy from that source is needed. Working on maximum aerobic power and the ability to draw from both the aerobic and anaerobic systems is critical in the development of a mountain bike racer.

Preparing for Short “Punchy” Efforts

Not every feature on a race course is a long, epic climb. Sometimes a course consists of relentless rolling, or “punchy” hills that can wear even the most seasoned rider down.

Short, high-intensity efforts lasting five minutes or less are also worth preparing specifically for. Even on big mountain courses, the developments from a focus in this area will prove worthwhile. The following workout will help prepare the body for the demands of these short maximal efforts.

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After a warm up the workout focuses on sub-threshold work with a series of progressive surges mixed in. The first set is to be performed by riding for two minutes at 92 percent of FTP and then surging for 30 seconds at 110 percent of FTP.

Then after a short recovery period the next set builds on the first by calling for three minutes at 95 percent of FTP with 30 second surges at 115 percent of FTP. The goal is to try and do at least four of these surges per set, increasing as fitness is gained.

The focus on supra threshold efforts helps to develop the body’s lactate clearing potential in which the body is able to process lactate as fast as it’s produced. When this occurs it allows the body to continue to absorb calcium at an appropriate rate and facilitates proper muscle contraction.

The more developed an athlete is in this arena the harder they can go, and the more times the effort can be reproduced when a maximum effort of five minutes or less is needed.

Preparing for Fast Starts

Most mountain bike events begin as a mass start race where it’s a free for all once the gun goes off. Mastering this component of the race isn’t just a good strategy for securing a top position once the race goes to singletrack, it also requires a lot of effort from a dead stop. This, like all skills, can be developed with focused workouts.

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This workout is a bit of a “mixed bag” session that not only focuses on a rider’s ability to produce maximum effort from the start, but also their ability to settle into sustained, sub-threshold zones after those efforts.

Typically after the start, and the big sprint(s), the work isn’t over. The rider has to work to maintain position, thus the need to train the body to handle this type of effort. After the 45-second sprints at the start of the workout, and with very little recovery, the intensity drops to 85 to 90 percent of FTP for 10 minutes.

It then moves to progressive intervals that transition from three minutes at 95 percent of FTP to one minute at 120 percent of FTP.

Training the body to cope with the sudden onset of blood lactate, as well as the ability to regain composure quickly after the big start, is as much about physical adaptation as it is mental. This session covers all of the bases to help off road athletes prepare for a traditional mass start race.

The focus that indoor training can provide for athletes with mountain bike centric seasons can be invaluable as those athletes look to prepare their bodies specifically for the rigors of the sport.

Regardless of whether the discipline is XC, marathon, or ultra-endurance, these types of workouts will help to facilitate the areas of adaptation most valuable to mountain bike racers. Make the most of any available training time by honing in on key areas, and preparing the body specifically for what it will undoubtedly encounter on race day.

If you’re training for a MTB or cycling event and want some more guidance, check out one of my TrainingPeaks training plans here.

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9 Common Misconceptions About Measuring Heart Rate Variability

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Originally used in critical monitoring situations in hospitals and aerospace, heart rate variability (HRV) analysis is a sensitive measure, and when used with care can provide valuable insights on how well your body is coping with training and adaptation. It has now become popular amongst athletes thanks to the availability of easy to use apps and accurate sensors.

However, HRV products can appear deceptively simple, and you do need to take care when both measuring and interpreting HRV to get the most out of it. In this article, we will list some of the common misconceptions about training with HRV, and how they can be avoided.

To learn more insights, take my online course, “Introduction to Heart Rate Variability.”

1. HRV doesn’t tell me any more than my resting heart rate (HR).

Although an elevated resting HR has been used as an indicator of pending overtraining, it is a blunt instrument, and by the time it is elevated the damage often has already been done. This is because resting HR combines influences from both the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system branches, as well as circulating hormones.

On the other hand, HRV provides a direct measure of the parasympathetic branch, often referred to as the “rest and digest” branch. That makes it a much more sensitive stress and recovery indicator than resting HR. With HRV, you get a much earlier warning.

2. Daily changes in HRV reflect the previous day’s training load.

A hard session will affect your HRV, but things are rarely that simple, and if they were you wouldn’t need HRV. More useful is how trends in HRV reflect the accumulation of Total Load over a period of a week. Total Load is the sum of mental, nutritional and physical stresses on the body. Research has shown that the lower the other sources of stress, the harder you can train.

3. Readings should be taken whilst lying down.

We believe that you should measure with the body upright, either sitting or standing if you have a very low resting heart rate. This helps avoid a phenomenon called parasympathetic saturation when lying down which makes trends in HRV more difficult to interpret.

You should also remember good posture and breathing have a significant impact on your HRV, good apps will guide you in keeping breathing consistent during measurements.

4. HRV measurements should be at least five minutes long.

This is a misconception I had to overcome with many people when I created ithlete in 2009. Having a background in signal processing, I spent many months looking at different HRV measures before settling on RMSSD as one that could produce good quality readings for convenient daily use in less than 60 seconds. This has subsequently been adopted by most HRV tools on the market. We additionally use paced breathing to improve the day-to-day stability of the measure. The convenient one-minute measure has since been independently validated too.

5. It is better to take an HRV reading at any time of day than no reading.

Waking is the best time to take the reading, but the cortisol awakening response means the reading will be different to other times of day. If you cannot take a reading within a one hour window of your usual time then don’t bother for that day as it will not be representative of your waking state and may also distort your baseline.

6. Variations in readings from day to day is bad.

A certain amount of variation is good, especially if it is created by training. The variation signals disturbance of the body’s normal state (homeostasis), which stimulates adaptation. When daily readings are very close together and around your baseline levels it probably means the body is not getting enough stimulus to adapt.

Experiment with different types of sessions (tempo, HIIT) to see what causes your HRV to dip and then recover within one to two days. If variation from day to day is high without a relation to training it either means other life stresses are dominating (remember Total Load) or your measurement technique is not very consistent.

In addition to HRV, record subjective metrics, comments and flag dates with significant events to unravel the entire picture.

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7. Different sensors will produce the same results.

EKG and pulse sensors measure similar things, but they are different enough that they can’t be used interchangeably. Choose a sensor that has been validated independently for HRV (by someone other than the manufacturer!) and stick to it.

Bluetooth chest straps (with the skin contacts well moistened) are a good choice as are finger pulse sensors designed for HRV like those used in hospitals. The important thing is not to regularly switch between different types.

Although we would appreciate the convenience of getting recovery data from a smartwatch, the fact is that the back of the wrist is just not a good location on the body for obtaining precise timing of heartbeats.

8. Measuring on race day will show how recovered and ready to compete you are.

Taking the reading at an unfamiliar location or unusual time plus pre-race nerves will likely distort the reading, making it lower than it would be on a normal day at home. If you get an unexpected orange or red warning, it will mess with your race day head!

On the other hand, a rising HRV trend as you reduce training volume to taper, followed by flattening out of HRV with slightly raised resting HR during taper shows you are both recovered, activated and ready to race. I recommend watching this preceding trend and skipping the reading on race day.

9. High HRV is always better.

Whilst this is often true it is not always true. After intensified training, the body gets tired of producing adrenaline and becomes less sensitive to it, possibly as a mode of self-protection from highly driven type-A personalities! This lowers both your resting heart rate and HR during training, and is often accompanied by higher than normal HRV. Good HRV software will flag unusually high as well as unusually low HRV.

Conclusion

As well as improving the effectiveness of your training and reducing down time to illness and injury, daily measures of HRV can help you learn things about yourself that you didn’t know before, such as how much sleep you really need, how travel affects your recovery, and just how many glasses of wine is one too many!

Just like any metric though, it is not the complete answer, and by recording subjective indicators, flagging significant events such as races and illness as well as looking at training loads through TrainingPeaks, you can build a contextual picture that will enable you to see what works best for you, and keep applying those marginal gains for sustained performance for years to come.

Want to learn more about how to balance your training and recovery through HRV training? Take the TrainingPeaks University online course, “Introduction to Heart Rate Variability” now. Get 20 percent off the cost of the course using code HRVintro2018 at checkout.

The post 9 Common Misconceptions About Measuring Heart Rate Variability appeared first on TrainingPeaks.

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