Just found 7 months of Heart Rate Variability data, what to do with it?

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Shrike
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by Shrike

So it seems my Apple Watch has been tracking my heart rate and heart rate variability since I got it late last year. I wear the watch as soon as I get up and take it off when I get into bed so it seems that has paid off, unknowingly.

Spotted guys talking about HRV here on WW, and also on the GCN show yesterday so it was on my todo list of things to read about, which inevitability led me to the trove of data on my phone.

I know the Apple Watch readings are limited compared to other types of HRV readings, but I'm keen on using it as a starting point for playing around with HRV and pitting it against my form charts on TrainingPeaks and just generally how I feel and perform on rides.

Any tips on what to do with all this info? Looks like Ill need a deep dive this weekend on the subject but worth asking here first, seems some of you guys are up to speed.

Here's two screen of some readings from different training periods (any fields that have two of the same figures, eg. 9-9. That's simply due to there only being one reading).

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Different looking numbers from back in Feb

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Last edited by Shrike on Thu Jun 14, 2018 2:07 pm, edited 2 times in total.

by Weenie


RyanH
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by RyanH

So, I just started looking into this yesterday and am by no means an expert. I think you're supposed to take the reading at a consistent point in the day (e.g. Right when you wake up) as well as get a baseline for a few days when your stress load (personal and cycling) is low. From there, you monitor to see if your HRV value goes down I believe. At a certain point if it goes down too much then it's time for rest.

I did read some counterpoint to HRV, primarily being that your HRV may be low due to personal stress but that may not necessarily mean that a hard ride is bad. I don't know if that is supported scientifically though as I think devices like the Whoop base their suggestions inclusive of life stresses and they've determined something like a flight, for example, may warrant a rest or easy day.
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glepore
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by glepore

Tracked it for a while last year and the year before using an app. Ryan's comments are spot on. Its one more bit of data. I generally found using the PMC in Golden Cheetah or using xert provides a better guide to cycling form. The HRV data, though, does account for other stressors whereas the PMC does not. If there is a wide disagreement as to form, you can adjust accordingly. I gave it up after a while as the hassle of doing a resting measurement first thing in the am outweighed the benefit I was getting from the data.
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Shrike
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by Shrike

Did you find the data useful though when you did take the readings?

I'm in the opposite boat. Loads of regular data, but not sure how to interpret or use it :lol:

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by Calnago

Years ago, before all the prevailing powermeters etc, I was quite into the whole analysis thing. Polar Heart rate products were pretty much at the top of the heap. They had a few models like the 810 that had the heart rate variabliity feature where if you did the test regularly (each morning I think) it was supposed to be able to detect “overtraining” etc. you would have it on as you wake up in the morning, in a totally relaxed state, then stand up out of bed and I can’t remember the ritual involved but those first 20 seconds or so of data after standing up was a critical time and showed up on the graphs etc.
What did all that give me?... uh... not much. I just used it as an excuse to go for a nice breakfast with friends instead of a hard ride. After all, I didn’t want to risk becoming “overtrained” because it can take months to recover from that.
These days, I still love having the data but I’m not using it to improve my performance as much as to see where I’m at and how I’m changing with time. Mostly I ride my bikes just for the fun of it with no big planned structured program. If a sprint should happen during some Cat 6 event, I’m all in. And I’ll go back to the data in Training Peaks afterwards to see how much I ruled, or sucked. It’s fun. I don’t use Strava.
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by Weenie


glepore
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by glepore

@ shrike-It was useful, sure, but not really worth the bother for a cyclist with a power meter. The only thing hrv tracks any better than looking at a PMC chart is that the PMC chart doesn't account for life stress-job, relationship, whatever. Anyone who has experience with training, though, should be able to factor that in for the need for additional recovery. Even tracking power v heartrate will do that. So yeah, it provides useful data, but not useful enough for me to remember to do it at the same time and in the same state every morning. Now, for a weightlifter or runner or someone without access to power data and training load measurement, it would probably be more helpful.
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