For Discussion: Your Watch Doesn’t Know How Much Recovery You Need

On sleep, I’m hoping WatchOS 9’s changes improves my Apple watch’s sleep tracking.

My 530 has told me I needed 48 hours. Less than 1 day later, I felt zero fatigue, set some new PRs, got an FTP bump from the device, and then was told I needed 24 hours.

So my problem isn’t with not understanding the device’s messages. Mine is that the device rarely knows how hard I actually pushed myself (despite always wearing a HR strap and using a power meter). My problem is also that when I ignore the device and ride very hard before the recovery time is up, instead of compounding the total recovery needed, it can think I need less after 2 hard days than it did after only 1 hard day.


I find that looking at the HRV number and sleep score on my Whoop gives me a pretty good reading on my body’s situation regarding fatigue and overall “condition” for want of a better word. I use “condition” to describe that vague overall do I feel crappy or good and how much reserve might I have before I feel crappier than I do now question I tend to be always asking myself. I find the data to be really good at giving me useful insight into that and spotting trends. But, its never a “red light/green light” kind of thing. More like a traffic report that needs some interpretation based on experience driving that particular route every day.

While I do definitely take those readings into account over time, its pretty rare where I use them as the sole basis for deciding if I should do that day’s scheduled activities or not. I do occasionally back off based on my Whoop but more likely I use them to remind myself that I need to get to bed earlier or, that even though I don’t feel great, the numbers aren’t that bad and I should suck it up and get on with it.

One situation where I do really like the numbers is where non training stress is involved. HRV in particular tells me if I’m sick or, if a spate of traveling or work stress may have taken more out of me than I thought. Many of my lowest HRV and recovery scores have come after days with low or zero TSS…

:joy: That almost exact pattern happened yet again today and my resting HR overnight apparently lowered from 57bpm in the morning to 51bpm this evening :joy:

I’ve also had this happen. Guess that’s because it just looks at your HR when your stress score is in “rest” status. Wish it would just use your rest HR while it also detects you’re sleeping.

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