I’ll sleep when I’m dead. How often do you hear people say that? Yet we get stronger when we rest and recover properly. But how do you know if you’re recovered?
Meet my little friend
The pulse oximeter. That’s right, like the thing you wear on your finger when you’re in the hospital. It measures your pulse and your oxygen levels. It’s inexpensive, small, and easy to use.
So why would you need one? I don’t have a GPS watch with a heart monitor. I don’t want to wear a chest strap. But I did want to start tracking my resting heart rate (RHR). And the pulse oximeter has really helped me do just that!
It doesn’t wake up Mr. Judy (although I do make sure to cover it up with the blanket). It doesn’t require an app or a phone. I know most people sleep with their phones, but I don’t. It’s the perfect solution for me.
You, of course, can do the same thing with your watch if it has a HR Monitor. Or if you don’t have to worry about waking someone up, you can just take your pulse. The tricky thing about resting heart rate is you need to take it before you get out of bed first thing in the morning. Although sometimes I have to make a pitstop in the middle of the night; I don’t take it then, but I will take it a few hours later right before I get up.
So are you recovered?
Bear in mind I am not a medical professional. If your heart rate is very elevated after a hard workout (I’ve seen 7 beats per minute or 10% used as a benchmark for very elevated), chances are you are not recovered.
That doesn’t mean you need to take a rest day, but it would be wise to take it a little easier.
If you find that over time your RHR seems to be rising, that may also be a sign that you’re overtraining. Supposedly the opposite is true too: if over time your RHR declines, it’s a sign that you’re getting fitter. I’ve only been tracking mine for a few months, but definitely haven’t seen any declines.
However, of course after I wrote the paragraph above, I saw my lowest RHR to date. Hopefully that means I’m getting a little fitter.
I have shuffled around workouts occasionally when my RHR has been more elevated than usual. I haven’t been tracking long enough to know if it’s made a difference. It certainly hasn’t hurt.
There is no one way to tell if you’re recovered
Recovery and overtraining are tricky buggers. Sometimes you think you’re doing everything right, and yet you succumb to an illness at the worst times. Is it lack of recovery? Is it bad luck? I don’t think there’s any definitive way to tell.
I can tell you that I like having this simple tool in my toolbox.
What signs make you think you’re overtrainng?
Have you ever tracked your RHR?
See this article here for more information on RHR & Recovery