Does your HRV data correspond to your performance?

Hi all, I see on another post that athletes have requested HRV tracking and using HRV in the A/I calculations for modifying training load on any given day. But, I’ve noticed I have little correspondence between how good I feel/how strong my performance is, and my daily HRV as measured by my Whoop strap. Many times, my HRV will be low but I have one of my best performances. Sometimes HRV correlates, but often it seems…totally random.

I’m wondering if anyone else experiences that, or if you do find a good correspondence between your HRV and how you feel/how strong you perform? Some people have said that both resting pulse in the morning, and night time respiratory rate are much better indicators of recovery than HRV. Any thoughts?

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I track my HRV (using a strap connected to my watch) and found the same thing as you. It is all over the place. I think the resting pulse and my subjective feeling is a so far a better approach if i need to alter the volume of my day’s training.


@headgeek thanks for your response. It’s interesting that HRV is used by so many fitness trackers (and A/I training apps) to determine recovery.

Hey @NorthK , great question!

@Prof gave a presentation on this earlier this year at the USA Triathlon and Cycling Conference, and we spoke about HRV in the podcast as well.

My 2 cents:

  1. Always take the rolling average of HRV (no single event) coupled with your own subjective feeling, when making training decisions. (Be aware of algorhytm biases from diverse devices - stress is a stress: emotional, physical, environmental. Where is your stress coming from? Does all stress affect performance negatively? No. We want to stress - and then rest. Repeat and rinse.
  2. HRV does not predict performance. You can still perform even with abnormal (I’ll get back to this) HRV reading. Prof showed us a slide where HRV typically decreases towards the biggest events. Body is getting ready for a big performance… our arousal kinda kicks off (added stress) and HRV picks it up. It’s to be expected as we get nervous and ready for our events.
  3. My thinking is aligned with what Dr. Tommy said on the Greg Bennet Podcast: If your HRV is low and you go ahead and do a massive, or hard training (or race), just expect to recover to take a bit longer. So even if your single HRV is off (low or high off your 7 days rolling average), you CAN perform - just allow more recovery.
  4. Don’t want to throw devices under the bus here, but my understanding is that morning HRV is the best, overnight HRV second and daily continuous is…well… less than ideal. I use HRV4Training in the morning, check my subjective feeling, and make my training decisions then. I wear my Garmin watch overnight, and HRV overnight seems to be about 20ms less than morning HRV. Unless HRV decline continues for a while AND it matches with feeling like trash, I’m not sleeping well, and muscles ache, I don’t make changes. A few years back my HRV went on a downward spiral from the 8s down to 6s when I was overtraining, so I learned that if I see 6s again it’s time to back off and fast. Also, note that the HRV index numbers are individual.

@Marjaana thanks! It does seem like a rolling average over several days makes more sense for HRV, then measuring it for a single day. However, measuring for a single day is what Whoop does, and it suggests changes to your workout that day based on only one measurement. If HRV gets added to the Athletica algorithm, I hope it uses HRV in a way that is useful and actionable. To me, it makes more sense to use resting pulse and respiratory rate instead of HRV. Resting pulse tracks my recovery a lot better than HRV does.

I’m going to listen to that podcast now, and maybe I’ll check out HRV4Training as well. Thanks again!

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Want to dive deeper into hrv- Marco Altini’s Substack is brilliant HRV4Training's Substack | Marco Altini | Substack

:pray: MJ

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With all due respect, the WHOOP method makes no sense and following such advice would be frustrating and unproductive.

Our best practice methods are well established.