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Cardiac recovery rate


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The heart rate recovery rate is a value that tells us how well our body adapts to the training sessions we are doing and how well it is able to reduce the number of heartbeats after we have finished our training.

This rate is the number of heartbeats you are able to lower since you finish training and start resting, usually within one minute. That is, imagine you finish a workout (full or series) at 170 beats per minute. After the minute of rest your heart drops to 115 beats. Therefore your recovery rate is 55 beats.

What is the importance of this index? It serves to know what your physical condition is like. The greater the number of pulses recovered, the better your condition will be. And not only does it serve to know whether or not you are in good shape, but it also allows you to know if there is any type of cardiovascular alteration.

Measuring the recovery rate

The measurement is very simple, you simply have to check your heart rate at the end of your training (or part of it, for example at the end of a series). Before the technological revolution, the method was purely manual. You counted the heart rate with your finger for 6 seconds, waited for the minute to be accurate and then counted the heart rate again. The difference between the two results is multiplied by ten and there you have your recovery rate.

Today, thanks to technology, it's much simpler. With a simple glance at your wrist you can see how many beats you have completed your training, wait a minute and see how much you are able to recover.

Garmin Forerunner 225 - Heart Rate Display

If you have extra pages of data you can prepare one with duration (total or interval, and press lap button for example) and heart rate, to check at a glance how you are recovering. It is also an important value to track between sets. You will see how you recover after each interval and so know when it is a good time not to continue making sets (when your body is not able to recover enough pulses).

Garmin offers this feature on its watches, but the recovery rate is two minutes instead of one. This will not help you to check the classification below (it is not necessary either), but it will be very useful for you to remember it as you train and to be able to compare between different days. As fatigue increases, the heart rate you recover will be lower and lower, a clear sign of overtraining.

Simply stop the activity and, without leaving the pause screen (i.e. without saving the activity yet), wait a couple of minutes. A screen will appear indicating how many keystrokes you have recovered.

This information is also available on Suunto watches, but for this an application must be installedBut remember, if your watch doesn't have this function, you can do it manually, just look at the taps.


When to perform the measurement

You can do it whenever you want. When you finish a series and keep jogging, or when you finish it and stop completely. Or when you finish training and just stop. The only thing you have to keep in mind is that, logically, it is always the same procedure. That is, don't mix the recoveries between series in which you continue jogging to when you stop completely and try to recover the air after a very intense series.

Indicative classification

It would be absurd to create a comparison table, since each person's organism functions very differently, so we should not compare ourselves with other people. But it is a good guide that can help us measure our state of form (and fatigue) over a season, and can monitor your individual progression.

In spite of this, and as a table with points and levels always looks good in an entry, I can tell you that there are some more or less pre-set levels that we could compare ourselves to if everything in your body works correctly. All this counting on finishing the training at a high intensity in a demanding exercise (that is, if you are doing a recovery session at 115 beats, don't try to recover 60 in a minute).

  • Recovery less than 20 ppm - People who are sedentary or who exercise very sporadically
  • Recovery between 30-40 ppm - This is for people who have only been training for a short time, although if you are too tired or overtrained, you will also find that your recovery is in this range.
  • Recovery between 40-50 ppm - This is normal for people who have regular workouts and don't have any cardiovascular problems. That is, if you finish at 170 beats and recover up to 125, your heart is in good shape.
  • Recovery between 50-70 ppm - We already enter the field of athletes with regular training and who work all the heart areas on a regular basis (series training, constant rhythms, etc).
  • Recovery greater than 70 ppm - The elite, not only because they are able to train in very high heart rate zones, but also because they have a very fast recovery from the demands they are subjected to. For example, finishing a very intense 800m series at 200 beats and being able to recover up to 125 ppm.

But as I say, although you shouldn't take it absolutely, you can use it to see the trend of the recovery rate throughout your workouts. Not only to confirm that your fitness is improving, but also to make sure you don't fall into over-training.

And of course it is worth noting that when I talk about recovery rate I do not refer exclusively to running training. It is a totally useful measure in any sport (cycling, swimming or any other activity with moments of intensity), even swimming.

Underwater Clock

You are simply measuring how many heartbeats you are able to recover when you finish an intensity exercise, so it doesn't matter what activity you have done to get there.

And with that... thanks for reading!


Eduardo Mateos

I've been surrounded by electronic devices of all kinds for more than 25 years. Using them, testing them, taking them apart and dissecting them. Long distance triathlete: I swim, run and cycle for a long time. Maybe too much.

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  1. I tried Forerunner 230 and got 113 ppm recovered and between parentheses 63 heartbeats.

    Could the one in the parenthesis be the recovery in a minute?

    1. Well, I don't have one handy, but I should be able to handle it. You can try it on your next workout.

  2. Hi, Eduardo,

    I love your blog, thanks to you I decided to buy the Garmin FR235 and I'm delighted, it arrived on Friday and I'm happy with my new toy, of course bought through your link to Amazon ?
    I have a question, does the rate of cardiac recovery indicated by the clock after running, is it stored in a Garmin Connect history? Or will I have to manually record it to follow my progress?

    Thank you very much!


    1. Thank you, Fernando, for supporting the page.

      No, the index you see on the screen is not recorded, so you will have to remember it. You do not have to be exact either, just know what approximate range you are in to monitor how your recovery is going.

  3. I need you to recommend a running watch I'd like you to have for monitoring heart rate and gps

  4. Good. Very good info. I don't understand pq Garmin designed the system with 2min. recovery... Does anyone know why? Does it have any advantages?

  5. The Forerunner 235 gives me a number after the two minute mark of 112 (11). What do the two numbers indicate?

    1. The first is the heart rate after the recovery time and the second is the heart rate you have recovered in that time.

  6. After one minute of recovery in static and standing position, I recover 25 bpm, but if I assume this minute of recovery in sitting position is 40 bpm, is this normal?

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