Slow enough to win – Chapter 1: Listen to your heart

Getting enough training is way easier than getting enough recovery

When people ask me for coaching or training advices, I always start at the heart. Literally and figuratively. The most important questions are of course ”What makes you want to do this? Where is the love?”. But this chapter is all about the literal aspect. Your heart gives you exact and measurable information about the status of your body – so learn how to read it!

<- Back to Introduction ”Slow enough to win” | Forward to Chapter 2 ”How to start” ->

1. Checking the resting heart rate

No matter how you choose to live your life, each day will put you through different stresses, workloads, thoughts, conflicts and challenges. It’s impossible to measure every detail and it’s impact. But your heart will react on the total pressure. Checking your resting heart rate (HRrest) on a daily basis / routine is one of the simplest and most effective way to keep your training at a good level and gain a steady progress. I’ll give you some suggestions on how to get started, and then we’ll go on to using this information.

– Sleep with your HR monitor / sleeping test each night – The geekiest, but most precise method

– Keep your HR monitor by the bed, and put it on for a few minutes each morning. Note the lowest value – Still geeky, but a bit more precise than my last suggestion:

– Count your heartbeats for 20 seconds each morning and multiply by 3 to get your resting heart rate – Simplest, cheapest

2. How to use the information

As I already mentioned, the resting heart rate is a summary of all the impacts. You’ll notice variations due to work, private life, training, physical health, sleep quality, and so on. But it all comes down to: when your body tells you to take it easy – take it easy. Recovery doesn’t always mean ”Stay in bed and eat candy” (but sometimes it actually does!!). You might find out that a 1-hour walk or a bike ride, or even a short run, helps you to recover faster. This is all up to you to find out. I’ll give you the basic tools and I’m available for further questions.

Some basic rules:
Normal HRrest (+/- 1-2 bpm)

Go for it! Your body seems recovered and your ready to play!

High HRrest (3-4 bpm above normal)
Analyse: What did I do the last days? Why is it high? If you relate it to mental stress, you probably feel better after some training. But keep it short/easy!

Higher HRrest (>5 bpm above normal)
Rest! You might get sick!

3. Why?

Recovery is always more important for your progress than the training itself. In fact, training degrades your body while recovery rebuilds it. If you push yourself too hard, and don’t get enough recovery between your workouts, you’ll break your body down and get injured or sick. Your HRrest will tell you if this day is a day for training or recovery. the figures below is a try to a further explanation.

Recovery process - basic curve

Recovery process – basic curve

Comparing recovery progresses

Comparing recovery progresses

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