For those in your 50's : do you plan your rides according to your heart weekly/daily stats?

Sorry, this may be a very newbie question even if I’ve just turned 50.

I’m picking up the habit constantly peeking all the times at my Apple Watch to check my heart rate at rest number. What about deciding what type of ride to do according to what those numbers say ? It’s 11 am now and I’m at 53, but same time few days back I was floating between 63 to 59.
So, 53, I should kick some ass tomorrow then ?

I would say to listen to your heart, but in an emotional way


I’m not (yet) in my 50s but my RHR goes up if I drink alcohol, feel stressed, have done a workout, and it’s only ever really low when I’m super relaxed, eg on holiday after a long but not taxing walk in nature. If I adjusted my workouts according to my RHR I’d never get anything done! :grinning:


I would prefer the HRV trend to a single HR figure. An upward HRV trend tells that you are well recovered and an downward trend the opposite. You can see the HRV trend from the Apple Health.


I use heart rate another way in that I try to make sure I don’t max it out more than two days per week. At 55 years old the max heart rate I’ve hit in 2023 is 167. I’ll try to make sure that I don’t exceed 160 bpm more than two days per week…say on a Tuesday and a Saturday. My other rides/runs I try to keep my heart rate lower.


I’m 50+ and my resting HR is 46. As i’m sat here now it says 53, a few minutes ago it said 60. You can’t tell anything useful from moment to moment looking at your HR to see if it looks like a candidate for being your current Resting HR.

If i’ve been hammering the intensity a bit in previous days and my body needs a rest then my morning reading of sleeping minimum HR might be in the low 50’s. If i’m rested then it’ll say 43. I add this data point into the mix of other things like “Can i be bothered to ride hard today or shall i ride up a mountain in zone 2 on Fulgaz?” “do i fancy VO2 max today”, “am i tired?” “Have i done a reasonable mix of sessions this week yet?”.

So - for sure Yes your resting HR tells you something about your system that day, but only if you use the correct data (and interpret it correctly)


I’m sort of just restating what others have said, but to share my personal experience at 55, I’ve found that what matters are trends, not minute by minute values. I can alter my hr with a cup of coffee or breathing exercises, so I would not take any given measurement throughout the day to mean anything. On the other hand, if my daily average RHR is trending upward, you can bet I’m fatigued. If I take a few days off and relax, those numbers go back down. When I’m really pushing hard over multiple days (lots of movement, not enough sleep or rest, high stress), my HRV will also trend down, but by the time this happens, I’ve usually already recognized this in my own body anyway.

All that to say, what my HR reading is at 11 wouldn’t impact my decision on what to ride at 5, but if my RHR over two or three days was higher than normal, that would tell me it’s time to take a day off or do an easy ride, get some extra sleep, etc., but if I’m being honest, I’ve been at this long enough that I know even without looking at numbers. My body is telling me. I just have to not let pride get in the way and do an easy workout or take a day off.


I’m 57 and to be honest my morning resting heart rate doesn’t get that perturbed unless I’ve just done a big event. I measure HRV / HR every morning after getting up and before other stuff, I go more by how I feel and where my motivation is. It’s rare I have to switch workout types or take an extra days rest (other than after events) but if I do, I just do it, get on with and don’t worry about it.

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I’m 56. I don’t use a HR monitor or smart watch at all for cycling. The wrist based monitors can be horribly inaccurate. As stated above, there are numerous factors that influence HR, many of which have zero impact on a workout (ie you slam a latte 10 minutes before a workout; HR goes up, but that isn’t necessarily going to impact your workout). I will occassionally do a block of running and use a (chest strap) HR monitor to force myself to keep a slow pace; after 4-6 weeks I can usually do 1:00 to 1:30/mile faster at the same HR. I find that useful; otherwise, I rely much more on ability to hold watts during a workout. If I struggle to maintain target power for the first couple of intervals, I may elect to shut things down and do a recovery ride. But I haven’t failed a single workout since AI took over our lives.

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I look at my HR every morning, but it doesn’t factor into my ride. How my legs feel (and my level of fatigue based on the last couple weeks riding) and what level of intensity I have scheduled for the rest of the week, are what determines how hard I’m riding.

If my RHR is a little high, that usually means I didn’t sleep too well, and I know that because I didn’t sleep too well. :smiley: So, I’ll try to sleep better. But my legs usually control the ride intensity, and they do a good job of letting me know what’s up.


Ok got it. Especially the pride thing, lol…


Oh and I’d say if you’re going to look at resting HR each day, then do it when you wake up before anything else (including breakfast). You’ll get a more consistent baseline that way.

Re: RHR and HRV, in my experience there are no hard and fast rules that are broadly applicable. For every person I’ve seen that has HRV trends that fall into the generally accepted thumbrules of “up good, down bad”, there are people for whom HRV seems like a random number generator (ME!).

I think with this stuff it is important that you track your own data and analyze your own trends and behavior for a long enough period of training that you can then draw your own conclusions, rather than worrying about what other people say or what Oura or Whoop or Garmin Body Battery tell you.

If you’re one of the lucky ones for whom those devices and measurements seem to work, great. In my opinion, HRV/RHR data is better as a supplement to your own subjective feeling. One reason I still track mine on a daily basis using HRV4Training is that it forces me to spend a minute each morning reflecting on how I’m feeling - mood, energy, soreness, sleep, etc. As I do that, I have a pretty good idea of if I want to train as planned that day, or maybe go a little harder, or take an unplanned rest day, etc. And I get that idea well before I see what my RMSSD or RHR or HRV4T’s recommendation is.

Most often, when I feel like trash, it’ll be reflected in something. Conversely, I have plenty of days where I feel great, RMSSD is a bit low, and I have a fantastic workout in spite of that.

I do take note when I have days where things are out of whack with those numbers, and if they start to string together and other things like body temp or sleep are affected, then it’s more important to pay attention and back off. But as one-off data, I do not personally find all that much day-to-day use out of HRV/RHR.

That said, someone mentioned long-term trending, and I do pay attention to my baselines. As RMSSD baseline comes up and RHR drops, my fitness generally improves, so it is a marker for me to know that things are going in the right direction. That said, I think my HRV will just continue through onto the moon if I just keep training… and then when I finally take rest, it usually drops like a GD rock for the first few days, and remains depressed until I get back to training.

TL;DR - it’s most important to know what your data means for YOU, and that’s going to take some time and analysis on your own part to know whether using that data is meaningful for you or not.


No. Full stop.

Nope. However, I do look at it. Daily Garmin RHR is based on the lowest 30min avg IIRC, so typically while you sleep. Between that and HRV trends, I can tell if I’m becoming fatigued, sick, etc… But you know what, I don’t need to see the numbers to know how I feel. It was interesting to watch though when I was KO’d by Covid for 5wks.

Workouts are based on watts (ride) or pace (run). If I’m tired, I push the workout a day or reset expectations.


Yep. I start looking at HR when I pair my HR strap 2 minutes before my ride, and I stop looking at HR 2 minutes after my ride when I switch my HR strap off.

I might look at Power/HR post-ride every now and again to see if there are any trends over time.

On a day to day basis, HR doesn’t seem to be as good an indicator of how I’m feeling as just seeing my head and legs feel.



One of my 50s projects has been to get better at listening to the signals my body is sending and to consider how much life stress I’m dealing with. I now look at only the “obvious” metrics like sleep, in-workout HR and power but nothing else (despite frequent tech temptations!).

Despite this, I’ve still experimented with tracking my RHR, HRV (all night, morning, and in-workout), sleep, stress levels, Garmin body battery, Garmin training readiness (esp. Forerunner 965), etc. to help plan/select my workouts and to help me calibrate how I feel, but in my experience, they’ve all been less valuable than I had hoped. They usually just ended up telling me something different than how I felt and performed, or they told me what I already knew.

Moving forward, my focus is on improving my ability to calibrate (1) how recovered I feel before and after workouts with (2) how I perform during my workouts.

This is the name of the 50+ game, IMHO.


I have taken opposite approach: trying to find long term training regimen so that vitals are never out of usual range plus weekly/monthly TSS graph is steady. Depending how well one recovers, it might be different but for me it means polarized approach: 2 hard days (bottom Z4 with long intervals / Z5 with 3-5min intervals) + 4-5 easy days (bottom Z2). With this, my RHR/HRV have been very steady and more importantly, I do not have motivational burnouts like I used to have with TR SSBHV plans, even if TSS-wise it was 60-80% that I am currently doing.

Of course, there are still days when HRV is not in usual range but very rarely out of 7-day average range. But I skip workouts only if I actually feel bad, never because some graphs are weird.

EDIT: to monitor RHR, I watch 7d/60d averages: if 7d graph crosses above 60d line, I’m getting overexcited. I’ll not change monthly block because of that but will try to correct it with next block. fitness page allows to create such graph.

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An indicator I picked up from the thread is about using RHR as a rough assessment of training readiness.

In one of the interviews, ISM mentions an example of an athlete whose RHR was 10 point higher than their average. In that example, he expects the athlete will do poorly on that day’s workout. There could be many reasons for why the RHR was off, but the data point alone was enough to lead to a change in plan for that day.

That stuck with me and I’ve used it since. By itself, it doesn’t cause me to change my plans. But, if I’m feeling off, it’s one of the data points I’ll use to assess whether I’m ready to do my planned workout.

I would never make training decisions based on HR as you’ve described in the first post.

However I do like looking at HR/RHR/HRV trends on the Athlytic app.

For example yesterday morning after 40 minutes of weight lifting

Look, it learned that I do a metric crap ton of 2+ hour endurance rides and told me I could go out and do 2 hours of my typical negative split 100 TSS endurance ride (well, not in those terms, but I know the context). Last night I went out for 90-120 minutes of anaerobic intervals at 5:30pm. Ended up at a total exertion of 7.1 just a smidge under the window of 7.2 to 9.2.

This morning:


Its just confirmation that I’m either doing the right things off the bike, or the wrong things and recovery is trending down.

I don’t use it to make training decisions before getting on the bike. However if I’ve been trending down for days in a row, and I get on the bike and am not feeling it, I’ll call an audible mid-ride and ride easy.

Again its about trends and using an adaptive engine that monitors both workouts and recovery.

Hope that helps.