You’ll get more from ithlete if you use the subjectives! By tracking and correlating the suggested subjective metrics you will be able to better understand what is influencing your stress and recovery levels. Here are our top tips for using the subjective indicators.

  1. Use all of the available subjectives

    All forms of stress effect the body in a similar way, and can have an impact on one another. So to best understand your current stress and recovery level we recommend tracking:

IMG_0294Sleep quality – Sleep and heart rate variability (HRV) are intrinsically linked. As sleep also significantly affects your recovery and ability to perform it’s a must for anyone seriously looking to improve their performance. This infographic is a good overview of why sleep is so important.Fatigue – Fatigue is just a perception, as discussed in this Running Competitor article, and alone fatigue isn’t an accurate enough picture of recovery and readiness but teamed with HRV it can help make up the overall picture.Muscle soreness – Do you take muscle soreness as a warning not to train? Tracking HRV and muscle soreness will help eliminate the guess work and really tell you when your body could work through those stiff legs.

(Emotional) Stress level – Whether it be from work, home life, relationships or anything else stress significantly influences HRV and therefore training readiness, which is why we ask you to track your perceived emotional stress.

Mood – Your mood may be a response to something you already know about (monotonous or hard sessions, long working days, etc.) or a warning sign of things to come. Track it and see!

Diet – Nutrition can have a tremendous effect on HRV as a bad diet adds unnecessary stress to the body. There are some great nutrition tips on our blog such as this post.

Training load – Arguably the most important metric to record when you’re looking to understand recovery and readiness. Research shows that recording an honest subjective measure can be as powerful as a complex calculation. This is a useful post on training load tips too!

2. Use the full range

Making good use of the 1-9 point scale provided in the ithlete app is important to truly see the influence a change has on your readiness and training. Weeks of data using 4-6 doesn’t tell you enough. For instance you’ve had a bad night’s sleep bring the score right down as opposed to just a point or two.

3. Think about yesterday’s scores

Think about yesterday and the past week. Is your diet poor compared to what you would normally have? Much better to rate against your own history than an ideal.

4. Be honest

Looking back at data which is skewed because you weren’t being honest with yourself won’t be of any benefit. If your muscles are sore mark it down, don’t try to pretend otherwise.

5. Don’t be afraid to change your mind (or score!)

It’s not always easy to assess these subjective metrics first thing in the morning, so if you make observations later in the day and change your mind simply open the app and change the score.

Analysing the subjective data

Once you’ve started recording your subjective metrics each day you can begin to spot patterns and trends in the data. There are a number of ways to help you do this with ithlete, including:

  1. Rotate mobile app to landscape and look at subjectives pattern with the ithlete landscape chart.
  2. For a more detailed view and to really analyse the relationship between subjectives and HRV use the ithlete Pro timeline.

Looking forward we are partnering with Edinburgh University to have ithlete analyse your subjective metrics in order to identify which has the biggest impact on your HRV. Start recording subjective metrics now so that when this big release comes you’ll have plenty of data ready to inform the algorithms.

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