Image source: Garmin

Garmin’s new Training Readiness metric explained

Garmin has introduced a new metric with the unveiling of the Forerunner 955. It is called Training Readiness. Here is how it works.

The launch of the 955 and 255 was the world’s worst kept secret. There have been multiple leaks and pretty much everything was known before the big day. Both devices pack some handy upgrades but only the 955 has something called Training Readiness..

Presumably, some of the other watches with the latest generation heart rate sensor will also get the functionality. Which includes owners of the Fenix 7, Epix 2 and Tactix 7 series. Maybe even the Venu 2 and Venu 2 Plus. It is not clear yet whether those with earlier Garmin devices will be in luck. Probably not.


Garmin Training Readiness – what is it?

Put simply, the new metric is gauged to let you know how prepared you are to benefit from training on a particular day. It utilises several factors to arrive at its conclusions. This includes:

  • Sleep and Sleep History. Both are important as one good night does not fully erase the effects of a significant sleep deficit;
  • Recovery Time from your last activity;
  • Acute Load or the combined impact of your recent activities;
  • Stress and Stress History (over the past three days);
  • HRV status.

There are two primary drivers behind your training readiness assessment. The first is how well you slept in the previous 24 hours, the second the residual recovery demands of recent activities.

Essential reading: Garmin Forerunner 955 vs 945 vs 935

Garmin is keeping things as straightforward as possible. So Training Readiness is displayed on a scale from zero to 100. Furthermore, you’ll get a colour-coded rating ranging between prime, high, moderate, low or poor for your training readiness. You also get a short explanation on what each of these mean.

Training Readiness

As you’d guess, a high rating implies that you are in good condition so should go out as you will get excellent benefits from training that day. Moderate means there may be a factor or two you might want to address but it is still perfectly fine to exercise. Low or poor ratings are an indication that it is probably not a good day to attempt a personal best time for a run. Perhaps you should ease up a bit that day and not challenge your body too much.

Garmin Training Readiness
Garmin Training Readiness

Fatigue is not actually bad and you will be experiencing it occasionally. It is inevitable. If you’ve been pushing yourself your body will react. Just make sure to get plenty of rest as this will allow your body to recover and adapt for even greater training benefits in the future. This is how gains are made!

The readiness score should be enough to let you decide whether your body is jacked and isn’t in any condition to be doing a hard workout. But Garmin has taken this up a notch by dishing out feedback and providing suggestions on how to manage your Training Readiness for optimum performance and maximum gains. That way you can aim for peak condition for an important race.

The metric is calculated in real-time but only on the watch

The Training Readiness metric is dished out continuously. You have real-time view on your Garmin device on how it is changing from hour to hour. Similar to what you get with the Recovery Time metric.

Unlike your Garmin watch, only the early morning Training Readiness score is displayed in Garmin Connect and the web dashboard. This comes from your Preferred Activity Tracker.

Training Readiness

It’s worth noting that you won’t get a value straight away. Garmin needs you to wear your watch for at least three consecutive days, day and night. You will still get a score even if you don’t wear it when sleeping. But the results might be skewed.

Also, it is worth emphasising that it will take longer that the initial three days for your score to be as accurate as it can be. That’s because certain metrics take a while before a baseline is established. For example, it takes at least three weeks to establish an HRV Status baseline. So the more frequently you wear your device and the more time passes – the more accurate your Training Readiness will become.


How is Training Readiness different from Recovery Time?

Most of us with Garmin watches have grown accustomed to using Recovery Time. It has been around for a while now.

Displayed in hours, this is a Firstbeat metric that shows how long it will take to recover from your last workout. It appears immediately after an activity, and basically counts down to zero as time passes. At that point it is okay to train again. At least, that’s the idea. The recovery time can range from zero hours to a maximum of four days.

Training Readiness is a wider metric than Recovery Time – that assesses your physical state overall. For example, perhaps enough time has passed and Garmin says you have recovered from your last workout. But other factors might be at play. You might be under psychological stress, perhaps you are not getting enough sleep, maybe you have caught an illness. Training Readiness takes all of that into account as it uses HRV which assesses the condition of the nervous system and whether the sympathetic or parasympathetic system is dominant.

Essential reading: Garmin Forerunner 255 vs 245 – what’s new and different?

So even though Recovery Time might be down to zero, this may not necessarily correspond with how you actually feel. That metric is just telling you how long it will take to recover from your last workout. Once you’re there it doesn’t mean you are primed and ready for action. It just means enough time has passed to give you a chance to physically recover from that particular activity. But other factors could mean that your body is still not in an optimal state for a heavy workout.

A Redditor has posted an excellent analogy which makes the difference perfectly clear. It’s like if you’re cooking soup and something flares up and there is steam everywhere and you can’t see anything. Recovery time is how long until the steam clears. Training readiness is the status of the soup.

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3 thoughts on “Garmin’s new Training Readiness metric explained

  • When will Garmin add a 3rd sensor to more accurately read Oxygen saturation? I’ve read that they have patent in hand.

    Reply
  • Terrible analogy, but otherwise awesome article.

    Reply

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