New Features on Garmin Smartwatches Help to Maximize Your Training

The new Garmin heart rate variability (HRV) status and training readiness features, as well as improved training status, are all purpose-built with the athlete in mind.

Much like the athletes we serve, at Garmin we’re always striving to be just a little bit better. Our technology is constantly advancing, and we’re always researching new ways to help you better understand your bodies and how they function. And now Firstbeat Analytics™, our science-backed platform that provides physiological analytics and metrics, is delivering two new features — and another preexisting one we’ve improved — to add to the performance-enhancing benefits of your compatible Garmin smartwatch.

HRV status, training status and training readiness analyze how your body is operating and help you see beyond the regular changes from day to day to reveal the bigger picture. Not familiar with what these terms mean? Keep reading — you’re going to want to add them to your vocabulary. 

What Is Heart Rate Variability?

Did you know that your heartbeats aren’t spaced evenly apart? If your heart is beating 60 beats per minute, some of these heartbeats will be slightly more than one second apart, and some will be slightly less. This is a totally normal phenomenon, but there’s valuable insight to be gained in how it changes over time. Your heart’s activity is regulated by your autonomic nervous system, which fluctuates to accommodate situational demands. You typically have a higher HRV when your body is at rest, while a lower HRV is normally associated with a fight-or-flight response to a stressful situation.

But monitoring the change in patterns of your HRV status over time is difficult. Really, it’s all going to look like a bunch of meaningless data — unless you’re relying on your compatible Garmin smartwatch to record and analyze those patterns. Be sure to wear your watch overnight for at least three weeks (and all the time if you want the most accurate data!) so it can capture your personal HRV baseline. This will be the lens through which future changes in HRV can be interpreted.

Want to learn more about HRV? Visit our HRV science page here.

What Is Garmin Training Status?

The Garmin training status feature is a tool that helps you see how effectively you’re training. Like the HRV analysis, your training status takes in a wealth of daily data to help you make the connections between how you train and the results you see. You’ll be able to interpret changes in your fitness based on how — and how frequently — you’re training. Your compatible Garmin smartwatch will track your VO2 max, your HRV status and your amount of training to give you a comprehensive picture of your personal fitness, as well as specific guidance based on where you currently are and where you’d like to be.

When the feature has enough data to provide an assessment, you’ll be shown one of 10 status categories. These range from peaking (which means you’re in ideal form to compete) to strained (which means your fitness level may be declining, and your HRV status is indicating accumulated fatigue). As with all analyses, it’s important to give your Garmin smartwatch as much data as possible to work with. Wear it to track all activities (not just the ones in your preferred sport) and wear it while you sleep as well — how your body reacts to all situations is important to your overall fitness level.

Want to learn more about Garmin training status? Visit our training status science page here.

What Is Garmin Training Readiness?

Even if you’ve hit the “detraining” level of training status — meaning your body’s fitness level is declining because you’ve been in rest mode for a bit too long — that doesn’t mean you should start pushing your limits at all times of the day. This is where training readiness comes in. This feature helps you to understand when you are most likely to benefit from a hard workout, which changes around the clock.

The main determinants of training readiness are how well you slept the night before and the recovery demands of any recent activities. This feature will also analyze your acute training load, HRV status, sleep history and stress history to determine just how ready you are for a challenging workout at any given moment. Training readiness will be calculated as poor, low, moderate, high or prime.

Want to learn more about Garmin training readiness? Visit our training readiness science page here.

Putting It All Together

Jam-packed with cutting-edge Firstbeat Analytics physiological data and metrics, Garmin smartwatches are designed with so many cool features in the hopes that you use all of them to get the full picture of how your body is performing. You’ll also start to notice that they’re all related — a low sleep score is going to lead to a low Body Battery™ the next day, which will impact your training readiness. This is how your body functions. A lag in one area will impact others, just as an improvement in one area (like a good night’s sleep) can help to boost other functions. It’s important that you wear your watch as much as possible, especially while you sleep, to help get the most accurate read on your body’s data.

Want to learn more about Garmin smartwatch features? Explore just a few of their capabilities here.