HRV Metrics With Multiple Watches
I saw a Suunto Facebook post today talking about HRV, in which it said: “Did you know you can measure stress and recovery in your Suunto watch? Based on your heart rate variability (HRV), the watch shows whether you are currently stressed, active, inactive or recovering and how your body resources develop throughout the day.”
HRV isn’t new, per se, but Garmin did appease its audience this year by adding HRV status as something visible in the watches. However, I’ve seen a YouTube reviewer recently mention that the status metric within the Garmin watches themselves get really wonky if he switches devices a time or two each week. Because, he notes, that it takes 3 consistent weeks to calibrate HRV properly.
This is a round-about way of me asking: Am I missing out on the benefits of HRV data by switching between wearing a Suunto 9B and 5P? Or does each watch collect its HRV data and then it all gets synced by the app so that it’s accurate and helpful for the long term?
PS - latest garmin alpha for Fenix/Epix etc includes HRV status sync - so that should hopefullly not be an issue going forward. It isn’t announced as part of the alpha details possibly for two reasons: 1) still in alpha and not sure how well it works; and or 2) its part of a larger upgrade around physio true up. But Ray @ DC Rainmakers has confirmed it is definitely syncing between his Epix and F7 which are both on latest alpha version, but not on his FR955 which hasn’t yet received an alpha.
So are you missing out - yeah I reckon you probably are. Reason for that is I find it works really well for me. Currently received a Strained Training status message this morning - previously I would never have received them as load focus is good (just short on a little bit of anaerobic), acute training load is along optimal band - but giving me strained as HRV status has been unbalanced for last 4 days - fighting a cold, haven’t pulled back from training and am struggling with sleep at the moment - so strained status: Your training status is optimal but your HRV status indicates accumulated fatigue. Be sure to give yourself enough time to recover.
Its spot on and have purposefully pushed it as planning a break in a couple of days and know I can recover then (and hopefully sleep picks up in between). but yes am starting to see fatigue due to lack of sleep - feel it, Stress is up, BB is down, HRV status unbalanced - and Training Status is calling it correctly.
So this morning pulled back on miles by 1/3rd - and in a couple of days will spend some time doing recovery only.
@TrailEyes Two items, first is this. https://uphillathlete.com/aerobic-training/why-we-stopped-relying-on-hrv-apps/
Second, I have used Suunto, Garmin and Apple Watch to track HRV status. I record my subjective feelings before I look at HRV status. Today I feel well rested and slept well. I will do a 1.5h run and feel I can push a bit. My HRV status is about as low as it could be. Do not put your entire trust in HRV readings and a watch telling you how you feel and whether or not you should run a marathon today. Our bodies are highly complex integrated systems and your brain will do a far better job of telling you how you feel. I have other examples I can refer to if you wish.
This is one reason I dislike Garmin, as the Training Readiness is integrated into everything you do. I know some may believe it but I do not. I think too many individuals blindly trust the numbers coming from a watch.
@Brad_Olwin I mean, if we’re going by feel, then it’s basically 98% dependent on whether I get to play on the trails or have to do a pavement run instead. Totally different enthusiasm and vibes going into each
More seriously, thanks Brad and @Jamie-BG for the responses. When I had just one watch, I liked supplementing how I approached activity and recovery with it, even if the metrics didn’t fully dictate my choices.
Additionally, I have a food allergy that takes several hours to manifest in hives, difficulty breathing, etc., and some days, I’d notice my Body Resources drop relatively fast, and that was sometimes tied to my heart signaling a latent cross-contamination incident. Part of why I asked the original question was I wonder if I may not get that “heads-up” if I’m swapping watches on the regular and they’re unable to calibrate certain data.
BB isn’t yet transferring watch to watch - but from the hints that Ray has left it suggests that Garmin is looking to change this at some point.
@TrailEyes I had/have the same problems wih some “food” - for me it’s not an allergy but my guts don’t like some kind of artificial sweeteners and whenever I consume them it seems to trigger an inflamation process, which I can also recognize in HRV and resting HR changes. But I agree with @Brad_Olwin on HRV not to be a reliable indicator for your bodies recovery. I think Brad is right, when he says, that this is just one value in a much more complex system. HRV in my experience seems to be a good indicator of psychic stress, since I can raise my HRV considerably by meditating, lowering my psycholgical stress, but I am pretty sure this won’t raise my physical abilities in a considerable way too. As for Brad, Garmins Training Readiness did not work most of the time, telling me to rest, when I felt good and could do a 5 to 10k run (which is a longer distance for me :-)) I would not count on such systems and also rely more on my personal feelings too like Brad reccomends.
@ChrisA you and Brad make great points and I agree with you. I particularly follow Scott Johnston’s work with Uphill athlete (and now Evolv). SJ wasn’t absolutely against HRV btw, but that current methods of measuring them aren’t reliable (as we have experienced as well).
That said, I believe the main idea of the original question is whether this measurement is inconsistent when swapping watches. They probably somewhat are if there are differences in watch sensors. I mean, we can get different results on the same watch just by switching arms.