Let's talk resting heart rate, shall we?
My running group coach and my PT advised me to regularly measure my resting heart rate. Just to make sure that the engine that keeps this body going isn't exhausted and ready for three weeks on the Seychelles yet.
So, once or twice a week I measure my resting heart rate as soon as I wake up in the morning. Just a little piece of info on this one: due to the medicine that I have to take, my heart rate is higher than the heart rate of someone that's not on those meds. To illustrate this, before I picked up running my resting heart rate would be in the low 90's/high 80's, due to those meds. Before I was on this meds it was in the low 60's, and I was a total coach potato at that point. But that's just how it is. Stop taking them is not an option. Bummer...
Eight months into running, and despite of the sucky meds, my resting heart rate is now down to 54 bpm. Sometimes I meassure 50 bpm, and sometimes 58 bpm, but it averages 50-54 bpm. I was told it should be down to the low to mid 40's in the next year if I continue running the way I do. Yay!
But here's the catch...
My PT told me not to obsess over fluctuations in my resting heart rate. But ofcourse I do. I'm an official internet self-diagnoser (is that even a word?). Terrible habit, but that's just silly me. The positive thing about Googling my butt off, is that I've found this guite informative article on resting heart rate on completerunning.com: http://completerunning.com/archives/2006/11/01/resting-heart-rate/.
And by Googling (a lot), now I know that apparently your resting heart rate can fluctuate based on a number of variables. For example:
- caffeine (I'm a diet coke junkie...bad bad habit);
- how well you are rested (uhm...I might have the tendency to just want to finish reading a book, even if it means I won't go to sleep untill 3 AM);
- work related stress (HELLO, EYE OPENER!);
- whether or not you are over-trained (I sure hope not!); and, last but not least Ladies...
- the days before having your period you might have a higher resting heart rate (OK, I didn't know this!).
Overtraining is obviously something to be careful with. No-brainer! My doc told me that if you're resting heart rate is up with 10 bpm for a week or so, you might be over-trained. And you'll need to recheck your training regime. However, you might also be over-trained when your resting heart rate is significantly lower than it has been in the last couple of weeks. OK, I guess I have found something new to obsess over now..... ;).
Do you obsess over your resting heart rate? How often do you measure it? Do you believe it's the most important early sign of overtraining?