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Garmin Improved Recovery Time calculation explained

Garmin has recently improved its Recovery Time feature. Now it takes even more factors into account. Here’s everything you need to know about this useful metric and how it arrives at its calculations.

The importance of scheduling in rest days

Whether you are a recreational or serious athlete, it is important not to overtrain. Not only can it lead to injury but it can be counter-productive in terms of performance. And let’s face it, you don’t want to get the dreaded Garmin “Unproductive Training Status” message and reduction in Vo2Max.

Training with high intensity breaks the body down and causes a tiny amount of tissue damage. So time is needed in order to rebuild and fix this damage. Rest gives your body a chance to adapt in order to get stronger and more resilient. This is how muscles and stamina are formed and is what makes your next performance possible.

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The other benefit of rest is that it reinvigorates your spirit so that you actually want to keep on training. Which is also very important as it helps to avoid staleness and apathy during workouts. In essence, scheduling in enough recovery time helps strengthen the body and sharpen focus. It helps to avoid overtraining fatique and lack of motivation.

Garmin Recovery Time metric eliminates the guesswork

Okay, we all agree that getting adequate rest is just as important as the volume of training you put in. But how much rest time is actually needeed? How long is enough? This is where Garmin Recovery Time calculations step in.

The metric has been around for a few years now on many Garmin GPS watches. Post workout, it provides a count-down for the amount of time you should rest before doing another hard workout. 

The value ranges from zero to a maximum of four days. When your timer hits zero, it means you are fully ready to do another workout of the same or greater intensity (Training Effect: 3.0+).

Improved Recovery Time

On older watches the calculations are simplified. They take into account the following factors:

  • The training effect of your most recent workout – this is the most important factor. Garmin says it is measured “in terms of excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC) based training load”. The strain also depends on your recent workout history. However, Recovery Times are not simply added together. Instead they are re-evaluated by the Garmin algorithm.
  • Your current fitness level – behind the scenes adjustments are made that take into account your VO2 max fitness level and your acute (7-day) to chronic (28-day) training load ratio.

Something to keep in mind – you can still train even if your Recovery Time is not down to zero. But in this case it is best to keep the workouts light. You should definitely not attempt that personal best if your remaining Recovery Time is high.

Also, if you have a new Garmin watch it may take a while before the results are accurate. This is because the device needs time to learn your overall fitness level. So it is best to put in several exercise days before being religious about following Recovery Time recommendations.

Newer watches have Improved Recovery Time

Newer watches feature a better recovery time algorithm. Garmin refers to this as Improved Recovery Time. Now you don’t get a simple countdown. You actually have the ability to shorten the initial recovery time calculation with day-to-day lifestyle changes.

These are the additional factors that are taken into account:

  • Stress levels
  • Quality of sleep
  • Additional training intensity
  • Daily activity levels

So get enough quality kip time, keep the stress to a minimum, engage in light daily activities and you might see your Recovery Time shrink. Sleep is probably the most important factor as this is when your body does most of its repair work. Miss out on a good night of sleep and your Recovery Time will increase.

It is no wonder Elite athletes are encouraged to get at least nine hours of quality kip time. And to treat it with just as much importance as training.

Improved Recovery Time

This is the full list of devices with the improved Recovery Time feature:

  • D2 Mach
  • Descent Mk2 Series
  • Enduro Series
  • Epix (Gen 2) Series
  • Fenix 6 & 7 Series
  • Forerunner 55, 245 Series, 745, 945 Series, 955 Series
  • Instinct 2 Series
  • MARQ Collection
  • Quatix 6 Series
  • tactix 7 & Delta Series

The next step up from the Recovery Time feature is something Garmin calls Training Readiness. This is a more encompassing metic that assesses your physical state overall.

It uses heart rate variability (HRV) trends which measure the overall condition of the nervous system and whether the sympathetic or parasympathetic system is dominant. The value ranges from zero to 100. The closer you are to 100, the better your Training Readiness.

At the time of writing Training Readiness is only available on the Garmin Forerunner 955. But it is already in Beta on Fenix 7 and Epix, so should hit these and other Garmin watches in the next month or so.

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Marko Maslakovic

Marko founded Gadgets & Wearables in 2014, having worked for more than 15 years in the City of London’s financial district. Since then, he has led the company’s charge to become a leading information source on health and fitness gadgets and wearables.

One thought on “Garmin Improved Recovery Time calculation explained

  • Why are Garmin Edge 1000+ top of the range cycling computers not included..??


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