Recovery by Feel

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  • #59472
    David Ohst

    Scott Johnston’s latest pod cast on recovery metrics and methods is spot on. My experience over more than 40 years, from high level competitive cycling, to alpinism and beyond, mirrors Scott’s experience.

    Today, it is very easy to become awash in digital data, and lose sight of how your body is behaving. Heart Rate Variability – found in just about every fitness watch out there – is not a leading indicator or a forecasting tool. It is a lagging indicator of what has already happened. This may work in some cases on a general basis. However, intuition, careful listening to soft signals, and reliable metrics (like Scott’s step test) are also needed to get a complete picture. This is especially so, if you apply periodization to your athletics.

    “Most people go too hard on easy days, and too easy on hard days.” Toni Rominger.

    To this, I will add my own somewhat harsh thought – “Any fool can go out and hammer. However, it takes intelligence and careful listening to learn how to rest – how long and how deep. In the end this is an art, that cannot be measured by digital metrics. It is also, perhaps the single most important skill for continuous athletic progress.”

    Forza !
    Dave Ohst

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    Anonymous on #59578

    Thanks for compliment and comments on that podcast. The ability to feel your body’s response to training is truly an art that must be practiced. Relying on hard metrics and data from things like HRV is appealing and I mentioned that I fell prey to big time, thinking it was finally going to some of the guess work out of coaching. Big Fail that was.

    Don’t be surprised when you start getting hate mail from the HRV app makers. I did when we first published out article: Why we stopped Relying on HRV.

    Your Toni Rominger quote reminded me of one of my own: “Any idiot can write a training plan. The art of coaching is the successful application of that plan. Some people are not artists”.

    Famed exercise physiologist Michael Joyner, in response to why he had not written a book on training for running responded with this Haiku: “Run a lot. Some of it fast.”


    Aaron on #59640

    I concur on that podcast. I’ve been training by UA guidance for about 7 years now, taking it slow and incremental and one of my favorite parts of the journey has been learning how my body responds and feels after different workouts and goal events. That nice warm glow after 2hrs of zone 1/2 ( I imagine I can feel the mitochondria replicating) versus the springy feeling of max strength versus wobbling while I climb the stairs after ME (and realizing I went too hard too fast when I can’t bend down after 2 days of recovery). And best of all the feeling of not being totally wiped after a big day in the mountains.

    I must say that I think UA has been very successful in providing a range of tools to support self-coached athletes.

    Aaron on #59841

    I just finished a great podcast by Steve Magness the same recovery topics: The Science of Training Management: Managing the messiness of the training process compared to the neatness of training plan

    Episode 147: The Science of Training Management: Managing the messiness of the training process compared to the neatness of training plan

    Aaron on #59850

    Apologies I referenced the wrong episode. This is the one I meant: Episode 127: Training Stimulus Threshold And Recoverability: The Reason Why You Aren’t Running As Fast As You Can.

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