Here are some frequently asked questions we have received from customers:
This list is growing, so if you have a question please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll try to post the response here.
For what sports is Restwise useful?
Restwise is equally effective in measuring fatigue in athletes who participate in any sport that requires demanding training, whether it is an aerobic endurance sport, a power sport, or one that combines both. The tool will not say “your legs are tired”. Instead, it will say “your body is showing signs that your training load is too great for your body to absorb.” This is relevant across all physically demanding sports.
What level athlete should use Restwise?
Restwise was designed for any athlete who is pushing himself or herself to reach a challenging physical goal, whether that is training for your first sprint triathlon or to make the Olympic rowing team. The physiology of elite athletes is essentially the same as amateur athletes, and Restwise calibrates against your personal baseline. We don’t say that “a RHR of 34 is better than a RHR of 64”, but we do say that an unusually elevated morning heart rate may be an indicator of fatigue. So we flag it and factor it into that day’s recovery score.
Are all the inputs weighted the same?
No. The weighting varies for each marker and is dependent on the strength of the empirical and anecdotal evidence of each. Keep in mind also that the algorithm is specific to the individual by intelligently referencing to an individuals baseline data and also intelligently responding to the degree by which specific markers change over a few days; for example the weight of last nights sleep score (a proprietary algorithm for duration and quality) is dependent on the previous two nights scores, with the understanding that the effect of poor sleep is cumulative.
How can I make sure I get the most accurate score possible?
The two keys are consistency and honesty. For quantitative inputs, such as resting heart rate and weight, it is critical to establish your own protocol and stick to it. For example, you should take your pulse under the same conditions every day. Subjective questions really require honesty and sensitivity to what our bodies are telling us. As athletes, we tend to be driven to succeed, and we like to score well on tests. But to get the most from Restwise, you have to put aside that mindset and answer questions as honestly as possible, even if you know this will result in a low score. More specific advice on how to capture each marker is provided within the Restwise software.
What does my recovery score tell me?
Your Restwise recovery score is a measure of how well your body is responding to your training load. A low score, particularly over an extended period, is an indicator of fatigue, stress, and over-reaching. It suggests that your system is most probably requires increased rest, prudent nutrition (especially high carbs), positive fluid balance, etc to train or compete at a high level. Importantly, Restwise is not is a predictor of acute performance. You may have a great performance on a day that you have a low recovery score, but you are risking tearing yourself down in a way that is counter productive and ultimately will lead to underperformance. Rather, Restwise will help you find the line between over-reaching and underperformance.
How do I use the score?
Your recovery score has to be interpreted in the context of a coherent training plan. If you are intentionally over-reaching in order to produce a supercompensation, then you would expect, even want, a low recovery score. However, if you are nearing the end of a recovery phase and your scores have not rebounded, then it is an indicator that you should rest more before resuming hard training or competition.
Will my recovery score predict how I’ll perform in competition?
The quick answer is “no”. The results of sporting events are always unknown. That is what makes competition so intriguing! The long answer is more nuanced. Performance in competition depends on any number of variables that are beyond the ability of science to predict. Strategy and tactics, nutrition, weather, attitude, the competition… all will influence outcomes, and all are beyond the scope of our tool to predict. It is important to remember that the core idea of training is to increase the probability of a successful outcome when you compete. Since Restwise is, essentially, a training optimizer, we can state with confidence that using it consistently will give you a better chance as performing well. However, neither Restwise (nor anyone else, for that matter), can predict how you’ll perform on a given day.
Why are there so few choices for answers?
A 3-point scale based on the normality of data has shown to be most reliable for the collection of longitudinal data. i.e. data collected over a continuous period of time. (A more detailed 5-point scale [or 7-point scale] can be useful for the interpretation of a specific variable over a short period (few days) or for intermittent data collection, but not for longitudinal data collection). In addition, the majority of people have difficulty in differentiating between normality and abnormality, and with a greater scale of options this becomes increasingly more difficult.
But doesn‘t it make a difference if, for example, my energy is just worse than normal or much, much worse than normal?
The degree of abnormality for a single variable has little effect on the overall recovery index, what is important is if there is deviation from normality, how many of the variables show abnormality, and which variables show abnormality, as each carries a different weighting depending on the empirical strength of the variable.
My resting heart rate is usually lower late at times other than first thing in the morning. When should I take my pulse?
Resting heart rate varies with body temperature depending on the time of the day, which is referred to as the circadian rhythm (body clock). Typically, resting heart rate is lower during the night than during the day time, this is the result of a decrease in the late evening and an increase during the early morning. Depending on what time you take your measurement, you may find variation. For example, it is not uncommon for resting heart rate at midnight to be lower than at 9am.
The validity (accuracy) of Restwise is based on consistency of the data entered, i.e. your values are continually compared with previous values which should be monitored at a similar time of the day, ideally, immediately after waking. Therefore regardless of diurnal variations, you should always record your resting heart rate (and all other data) at the same time of the day, which should be first thing.
What should I do to improve my recovery score if I am training for an Ironman?
In short, there is one sure-fire way to improve your recovery score: stop training! Seriously, when you embrace this goal means that you have also embraced a level of training stimulus that will, and should, result in periods of compromised recovery scores. But, remember, that this is the point of training: to load the various physiological systems to the point that they, and your body, is in a state of stress (fatigue) and then recover from that state such that you have introduced an adaptation resulting in increased fitness. So, seen through that lens, the recovery score is a result/symptom of training rather than a goal in and of itself. In this way, it is training guide which supports your training decision process as you peak for Ironman Canada.
Of course, there are ways to focus on recovery strategies which can ameliorate the impact of heavy training, thus increasing your body’s ability to recover and thereby increasing the adaptation process… leading to better performance. Many of these strategies are the derivatives of the questions we ask in the application. Make sure you are getting plenty of sleep. Ensure that you stay hydrated. Try to avoid non-training stress. Pretty simple stuff, most of it. We are less inclined to support some of the more esoteric methods like EMS, various compression garments, ice baths, low-gluten diets, etc…. not because we are hard-wired for skepticism but because the scientific data around these strategies is inconclusive at this point. Nevertheless, I personally have had success with compression garments during international flights on my way to races, have enjoyed ice baths after Ultras, but have had a terrible experience with a low-gluten diet. Perhaps you could experiment with some of these, long before Ironman Canada, of course. The last thing you want to be doing is experimenting in the last few weeks before the event.