Last Updated on March 10, 2013 by Jimson Lee
Every week, ithlete will cover general questions on training and recovery, as well as specific best practices with Heart Rate Variability (HRV).
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Question 1- My training log shows that I am obeying the "10% rule” with increasing volumes or intensities with my weight training. I am an Olympic lifter and train 6 days a week and do doubles twice a week while attending college. My progress has stagnated and wanted to know how I can use subjective monitoring to gage overtraining. I have a laptop and wanted to share my workouts with my coach who I work with only during the summer.
Many athletes who do correspondence training with coaches use some sort of remote monitoring system. Subjective indicators are great ways to get very individual responses that can hint to what is going on. Remember objective information is going to be what you actually do, and eventually you are going to need more precise measures to get a true reading on what is going on. Most training logs include a quick breakdown of nutrition, sleep, soreness, training, and some sort of mental/psychological profile done daily. You can score 1-5 for the first year before getting more sensitive with scoring 1-10. Since everyone tends to have internet access you can share the daily scores with your coach with Google Apps (including Docs and Spreadsheets) or some sort of cloud sharing option like Dropbox.
Make sure you let your coach decide on what is working or not. Stagnation may lead to breakthroughs later, so second guessing stagnation must be taken with a grain of salt. Many college athletes that train remotely find coming back during the summer to be very effective because they don’t have the burden of school and have the hands on coaching, the most valuable of training environments.
Each week, review if what was planed worked out and then reflect on performances. If your performances don’t meet expectations and the training was excellent you can try to adjust for the next competition. If training was poor and the performances reflect that, change to the program is obviously necessary. Suggestions are to keep it simpler and more conservative, but don’t overhaul anything. Working with your coach requires communication, but be careful not to second guess. Athletes want results but need to give the coach time to figure out each individual as training is very much like a riddle.
Question 2- I have access to HRV testing only twice a week as I don’t have a smartphone, what are the best times for me to get tested and what should I be looking for since I am not doing it daily? Any practical advice here would be great. I play football and compete every Saturday and can get tested every day except Wednesday.
Frequent and longitudinal training data is the best way to see trends an patterns in how performance can be maximized. Competing each week and having access to getting tested Sunday through Tuesday and Thursday and Friday gives to two options really. I suggest you test Monday and Thursday to see how you are responding to both competition and training sessions. You can do it Tuesday and Friday but very little change can be done, and testing on game day often leads to scores that are difficult to interpret without other testing data in the week due to emotional responses of athletes when competing.
The training leading to competition in the preceding months should be scored and the weeks after competition are valuable as well. When getting HRV data is valuable to get the resting HR information as well if you can, as you can start seeing trends in general fitness if one is not overreaching or overstraining. HRV scores usually mirror what is going on in training, and what doesn’t reflect training can be a problem. Regardless of the sequence of testing, collection data throughout the year will lead to answers such as how you best respond to games with various weekly programs with weights and practices.
If your team is offering HRV testing they should be analyzing it and sharing it is often up the coaches involved. Some can use mobile options or more lab type options that can reveal clues to how your body responds to each weekly design. Regardless of what happens with training or rehabilitation, make sure you are consistent with eating and sleep patterns to keep the data from being corrupted with outside variables. The purpose of collecting data is to make better training and recovery decisions, and adjustments should be to ensure athletes are performing better, not just to get better scores.