News OMY! Run

How to not be obsessed with HR?

Watching your heart rate while exercising is important and necessary. It shows whether you are doing well, need more time to recover between fast intervals or overtraining. But should you focus on it too much?

The heart rate data is the basis for calculating such indicators as the completed training load, fitness level, running efficiency, etc. These indicators, in turn, determine what your future training load should be — intensity, endurance or recovery. In the end, the right combination of executed training work determines your progress.

Having discovered the value of the pulse, you should not rush to follow it every second. The data of one training session does not say much. Sometimes it can be misleading. Therefore, it is better to focus on the training itself and unstick from your sports watches.

Why is it so?

The body’s physiological response to training stress is going slowly. Significant changes come over time. In other words, for a small progress, you need to train correctly for a long time. This applies to all systems and muscles in the body — including the heart. That is why successful methods of planning, analyzing and adapting training use average heart rate data over a fairly long period — from 7 to 40 days.

Short-term HR fluctuations are influenced by various external and internal factors. This distorts the real picture — confusing, and sometimes misleading, incorrectly signalling the need to drastically change how you train. Making adjustments to your workout plan based on heart rate data from a single workout is a bad strategy. Even 5 training days is not enough to make meaningful conclusions about whether to apply adaptation and change the training plan.

Your HR is a reflection of many factors. It can deviate greatly from the normal level for reasons that you cannot control. Here are some common cases that can change the heart rate by 10 beats “just like that”:

  • For many, HR may rise suddenly because of minimal emotional outbursts. You remembered that you will soon be participating in competitions, and your pulse increased. It will remain elevated until the thought leaves your head.
  • Atmospheric pressure directly affects the heart rate. Other things being equal, the HR at low pressure and cloudy weather will be lower than at high pressure and clear weather.
  • Heat and humidity increase the heart rate as the body puts extra effort into cooling. This reduces overall performance in training — it takes more effort and a higher heart rate to maintain the usual pace.
  • Yesterday’s party, alcohol or a sleepless night will surely affect your heart rate the next day.
  • Identical workouts in the morning and in the evening are guaranteed to be done with different HR. The reason is different levels of activity and energy.
  • After participating in competitions where you gave your all, the body needs rest. Therefore, HR will stay significantly lower than normal values for some time.
  • Post-illness HR is likely to be higher for a long time — from several days to several weeks. It all depends on the form and severity of the disease.

There are many such examples. In order to avoid errors and ensure the reliability of the load adaptation mechanisms, we at OMY! Sports use the average data of your heart rate over different periods of time. They are the ones that show lasting changes in your fitness, that is what we pay attention to when building and adapting your workouts.

In general, thinking only about the HR while running, you are guaranteed to increase it. Distracting from these thoughts to something more interesting, you will get a better result. For control, it is enough to check it once in 5–7 minutes.

Practical advice. If you see that HR is higher than planned, do not rush to sharply reduce the pace. It is enough to slow down a bit, and check it after 1 km of running. It will most likely be where it needs to be. If not, type to us in chat.

And one more thing: use HR chest strap and record your workouts. After 1 week of training, we will have enough reliable data and your OMY! Sports training plan will tune in to you much better.