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Physiological Measurements
Running Dynamics
Training Readiness

Understanding Garmin Training Readiness

Training readiness is a top-line insight designed to help you maximize training efficiency. You work hard because you want results but pushing your limits before you are ready can be counterproductive. See when you are most likely to benefit from a hard workout and when to consider dialing down to let your body catch up.

This insight is achieved with the help of a multi-layered analysis that considers combinations of activity and lifestyle data. Your training readiness is classified from poor to prime with low, moderate, and high in between. Checking the widget will reveal your current readiness score and how underlying factors contributed to your current situation. You can also view this information as part of your morning report.

How Training Readiness is Calculated

The primary drivers behind your training readiness assessment are how well you slept last night and residual recovery demands of recent activities. This information comes from your recovery time and advanced sleep tracking. Beyond that, training load trends, HRV (Heart Rate Variability) status, recent stress levels and how well you have been sleeping prior to last night also influence your results.

Sleep Score: Your sleep score (0-100) reflects how well you slept based on how long you slept, sleep stage distribution, and evidence of recovery activity occurring in your autonomic nervous system derived from heart rate variability data. Sleep quantity and quality evaluations compare your sleep to standards established by expert organizations.

Recovery Time: This countdown reveals when you can expect your body to be fully recovered from your last activity. How much time is on your clock varies according to the strenuousness of your last activity and hours, if any, remaining on your Recovery Time at the start of that activity. Significant changes in your sleep quality, stress levels and daily physical activity levels can speed up or slow down your recovery countdown.

Acute Training Load: An optimal acute load indicates that the combined impact of your recent activities is enough to maintain and improve your current fitness levels. Unchecked over time, excessive loads can compromise your functional performance capacity and increase injury risks. When you record an activity the full impact of that activity is added to your current acute load. The effects of that activity then gradually expire over the next 10-day period.

HRV Status: A balanced HRV means your 7-day average HRV is within your personal baseline range. This is a good indication that your body is successfully navigating the challenges of your life. An unbalanced HRV status may point towards a lack of adequate recovery, excessive workloads, alcohol consumption or your immune system working to fight an illness.

Sleep History: Your sleep score reveals how well you slept last night, but one good night does not fully erase the lingering effects of a significant sleep deficit. Sleep history factors in how well you have been sleeping prior to last night.

An exceptionally long awake period (e.g., 20 hours) before your most recent night’s sleep can also reduce training readiness.

Stress History: All-day stress tracking can reveal when your body’s resources are deployed to help you navigate life challenges unrelated to training activities. Stress is a normal part of life but experiencing higher stress levels for extended periods can reduce resiliency and minimize training benefits. Your stress history considers stress levels from the past three days while you are awake.

How Training Readiness Changes Around the Clock

Checking your training readiness first thing in the morning helps set reasonable expectations for the day.

The biggest adjustment to your readiness level happens right when you wake up in the morning. This is when last night’s sleep score, HRV status, and longer sleep history are updated along with big-picture insight from your acute training load and stress history.

Your training readiness then updates throughout the day according to changes in your situation. If you have hours remaining on your Recovery Time countdown, expect your readiness to increase as that time expires. Record an activity and you will notice a decrease in readiness afterwards that reflects your current recovery needs. Light efforts have minimal impact while hard workouts can significantly reduce your readiness.

Can I still train when my training readiness is low?

As any good coach or experienced athlete can tell you, there are times when looking beyond the daily horizon is the right thing to do. Training camps and high-volume training blocks are valid methods of training prescription and can be remarkably effective when properly utilized. A typical block training model often involves several consecutive days of deliberate overload offset by an extended recovery period.

If you are using a block-based training model, then a lower training readiness score during a deliberate overload period likely echoes that work. Against that background, you should still check to see which factors are driving that lower score. Higher than normal acute training loads and longer recovery time estimates can be expected during block training. Reduced readiness caused by other factors (e.g., sleep history or high stress) might be reason to re-evaluate your approach.

The insight you gain from the training readiness widget is only one of the perspectives you should use to guide your training efforts. As always, listen to your body, consider the data together with how you feel and adjust your plans and expectations accordingly.

Training readiness versus performance readiness

It is worth wondering. Are training readiness and performance readiness the same thing? Does your training readiness score the morning of a big race predict (or worse, determine) how well you will do? Does a less than prime readiness score mean it is time to scuttle your pacing strategy and lower your expectations?

There will be times when you may notice a link between training readiness and performance, but strictly speaking the training readiness analysis is not designed to predict performance. Many athletes report sleeping poorly the night before a big event and go on to achieve impressive results and set personal bests. Stress levels can also increase due to the anticipation and excitement of your big day.

Training readiness focuses on relationships between elements of strain, stress, recovery, good sleep hygiene and your ability to maintain homeostatic balance. Guidance is geared towards laying the groundwork for success, getting the most out of your workouts and improving performance abilities over time.

Race-day performance is about executing and putting those abilities to work.