HRV Nerds

I got myself a Polar H10 recently and started using Elite HRV (poor man’s Whoop!) I have found the data quite interesting. Often though the readings don’t seem to tally with how I feel (maybe that’s the point?) and on an occasion where I have two consecutive hardish days and tired legs my morning readings were a 10 and other days where I felt raring to go, if that is possible first thing in the morning!, I have had readings of 5. So, my question is… How much influence does this have on your training schedule and does it make you change the workout for that day that is in your plan based on what the readings are telling you or do you take it with a pinch of salt and crack on anyway.

I’ve found the morning reading can go screwy due to stress like the cat jumping on my face whenI wake up, or hearing my teenagers arguing about getting ready for school. In these situations I take another reading mid morning to compare.

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The most damning indictment going, given that Whoop data seems to be, for the most part, utter nonsense…

I mean, it might not be, but everything even beginning to approach a rational study of the device that I’ve seen suggests it’s really not much good for anything other than lightening your wallet monthly and giving you some numbers to ruminate over while achieving not very much.

I like the idea of HRV, but I think @JGreengrass actually makes a solid argument as to why it’s pointless, because if small momentary circumstantial events can effect the reading then it’s not telling you anything about your current day physical status at all…

I have an alternative device that essentially offers “live” HRV (among other things) and I honestly wouldn’t use it for anything, because if I check the number after a slightly annoying work conversation it would tell me I needed to be taking a rest, at the same time I haven’t had a single day where during a moment of downtime it wouldn’t indicate me to be perfectly fresh, even after several solid days of hard exercise.

Currently, I haven’t personally seen any real value in HRV at all. I could quite easily manipulate my own figures to say whatever I wanted them to based upon circumstance.


Ha ha !! no children (they are long gone!) no wife and no cat, I like them but they ruin the furniture!! nothing to disturb my readings apart thinking about the hard workout I may have that day, that will knock up my HR a fair few beats


My HRV is turning out to be a good indicator of overall health. A device reads it overnight and it settled into a consistent level - it’s different for everyone, so it doesn’t know good or bad until it’s had a few weeks to learn who you are.
Three things used to really knock it out
Dehydration (see above)
Hard workout late in the day

I broke 6 ribs and fractured my pelvis in September and my HRV dropped significantly. It took about 3 months to come back to the previous levels - the same timeframe that the doctors and physios told me it would take for the bones to fully heal.

I haven’t seen it be useful to indicate overtraining yet (trying to come back to exercise gently and slowly), but it does seem to be a good indicator of health


I use two things for judging overreaching: HRV (usually goes way out) or RHR variance (± 5 BPM). I found I could feel great but when either of these were present, i would start faltering in a few minutes, indoors or outdoors. A hard training session soon turned in to a recovery session or even Yoga.

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Inuse overnight HRV on my Garmin. It’s been remarkably reliable after the initial few months of learning. It definitely drops a day or so before I am ill and with monthly hormones too, which is pretty interesting. I’ve tweaked my training plan rest week aligns with when my HRV typically drops in a month and it’s made a huge difference. Now it doesn’t drop as much. This month’s drop was still in the green because I wasn’t loading myself with heavy workouts when my hormones were dropping.

Here are some examples of some classic 4 week snapshots:

When I didn’t have training:rest weeks aligned with hormones:

Then I had a month where I got flu. And then followed by an infection in my feet from hiking 55km with open wounds. The joys of being in an isolated area:

And a typical 4 week view nowadays when training plan is hormone aligned. I get a dip, but not into orange. Winner.


That’s really cool! I just use Elite HRV and only get a morning reading (2.5 minutes)when I wake up, which is a bit short notice to alter a planned workout for that day if the figures are not in line for the workout you were going to do. Leaving the monthly hormone changes aside, how do you use this data to adjust your training, on a daily basis depending on that days reading or averaging it out over a week and then adjusting the following weeks training to balance things out a bit better? many thanks

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I used Training Today and my Apple Watch. The problem with HRV is that it really depends on when you measure it, so it being measured randomly through the day can produce some weird results. Sometimes. I used to have my training score displayed on my watch but I’ve removed that now as a low score on race day used to put me off. I believe Mac Cassin said something similar on a fairly recent podcast and he never used to look at the numbers on a race day. Equally I’ve had off the chart scores when I’m feeling completely spent.

HRV does tell you something, but that something is the product of many other variables, not just training. I tend to use it now to corroborate how I feel. If I’m feeling good and my score agrees then awesome. If I’m unexpectedly feeling off my game and my score agrees then it’s a reminder to listen to my body and take it easy. If the two don’t agree then I might think about why; am I work or life stressed, fatigued etc and address that area.

One interesting thing I have noticed since doing more zone 2 training is that my HRV is increasing. I’ve also noticed that my training score can be mediocre, I do an hour or so of zone 2 and my training score increases immediately after and stays the same for several hours or a day later, which seems strange but I’ve noticed the same thing happen on several occasions.


As my HRV is mrasured overnight, it seems way more consistent than before when I used to measure ot “manually” every morning by tellingly my watch to do it, and using a chest strap.

How do I use it. If I’m due a hard session and feeling blergh, I do check HRV. If it’s down, I switch things so I have a lower intensity or rest day instead. If HRV is fine, I carry on as scheduled. HRV has so far dropped into orange a day or two before I have realised I am unwell. So I’m often feeling ok and still pushing thru but not checking HRV. It’s only when I feel rubbish a day or so later and I check and go :woman_facepalming:t4:
So I need to check it daily before training and probably trust it.


I am a really big fan of using Overnight HRV, along with other metrics, to keep an eye on my ability to absorb training with all of the non-training stresses of life!

This is a screen that I use in to keep track of things. The lower bar and line charts show daily, 7d and 60d HRV values. What you are really looking for are trends over time, not hourly detail on how things are going at this very second. The latter is what I believe leads folks to not think HRV data is of any value.

The graph above shows me being on the road for most of December, with little riding or training and a cold thrown in for good measure. Once back into a routine you see much more stability in HRV and a gradual rise in the 7d trend, which indicates I am absorbing the training just fine. On a more detailed note, you can also see how it trends downward in line with training days and flattens/recovers during rest days.

Not shown here is when a major sickness type event occurs (Covid/Flu/Etc.) for that this data is invaluable. Combined with body temperature I always get a 24-36 hour heads up that things are about to turn south.

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I agree with a lot of what has been said here on when the reading is taken and with what device to make it useful.

I’ve been using an Oura Ring for 6 months now and it measures HRV, HR, Body Temp and SP02 continuously overnight. For me that means that my “readiness score” each morning is based on how my body is recovering. It will tell me if I have a change in trend (HRV numbers are highly personally) which indicates I’m fully (or not) recovered - HRV trending up, good, down bad. Resting HR trending down good, up bad.

I use this as an indicator and to check myself. Like many riders my default is “push on through”, but this data counters that and allows me to balance rest and effort.

Works for me BUT using the Oura approach. I’d be far less convinced by a 2 minute early morning only reading.


Many thanks, that’s helped, cheers

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Didn’t know that could be used to track HRV, I wil check that out. Thanks


I just started using I’m going to have to figure out where to get this chart.

Go to the fitness graph page, then click “options” at the top, then “:mag_right:︎ chart” and you should see a HRV graph by David in the list.


Perfect, thanks!!

I’ve been using HRV off and on for ten years or so. First, with a couple of phone apps and manually measuring every morning, now with an Epix Gen2. I would say it’s great for recognizing trends and alerting to possible oncoming illnesses. I can use that info to adjust training a little. It’s certainly not a big deal, but it keeps the hole from being dug by training with oncoming sickness unknowingly. My last couple of months correlates with this, showing a reduction of HRV associated with hard days.


I have got the chart loaded, how do you get HRV readings that are on my phone to show on the chart . I am using Elite HRV. Thanks

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I don’t think it’s possible with eliteHRV:

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Thanks… looks like a blank then? No real problem, just thought it would be a nice addition, cheers

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