In 2017 I was preparing for some big ultra-marathon race goals and I was also working part-time as a consultant. This meant that I was travelling a lot, away from home for extended periods of time, and that my normal routine was regularly being disrupted. I wanted to find some additional advice or guidance to help me manage the load and to optimise my training time. I found some interesting studies on heart rate variability (HRV) and it seemed like it would a great addition to my training analysis and that it could provide the little extra detail that I was looking for.
After becoming interested in using HRV I needed a way to measure it myself and that's how I found HRV4Training. It was so simple to download the app and I didn't need anything more than my phone as the app uses the camera and flash from the phone to take the measurement. In addition to being user-friendly, I was reassured that the measurement was accurate because of the research that validated the camera-based protocol. I started my own trial period and quickly saw that the HRV measurements and daily advice were consistent with my sensations and subjective data - it looked promising as a tool to help my training.
I know my body quite well and I'm familiar with using physiological signs and subjective feedback to make training decisions. So why did I need an extra objective measure to do something I was already doing? The reason was that there were some days that fell in a grey zone where I didn't feel great, but I didn't feel terrible. That left me uncertain about whether I should just push hard and get the work done, or if I should back off and have a rest day. What would be the most effective? With all the travelling and disruption I mentioned above, I was having more days in that grey zone and I didn't know if my sensations were related to training or travel or being outside my normal routine. The objective data from HRV helped to provide another layer of information to inform my training and that was just what I needed.
I believe that any great performance is the result of a 1000 great decisions. Choosing the right training at the right time, choosing the right race, choosing the right equipment, choosing to rest when needed, and many, many more decisions. HRV4Training provided an extra tool and set of analysis that helped me to make better decisions.
In 2018 after using the app regularly I sent an email to the support address with some suggestions for improvements to the app and a few questions about how I was using it. I was incredibly impressed when I received a reply almost immediately from Marco, the lead developer of the app and owner of the company, that explained where some of my feature suggestions were already included in the app, that he would consider my other suggestions for future updates, and detailed explanations of how best to use the data. My belief in HRV4Training and loyalty towards the app and team increased and I jumped at the opportunity to become an ambassador in 2019.
|Racing as an HRV4Training ambassador.|
In 2019 Marco shared a post looking for someone to help with the HRV4Training customer support. I remembered the great experience I had when I sent in an email so I applied, got the job, and then started working with the team. I love being a part of this team and being able to help users of the app. While I now find HRV data quite intuitive and I know my way around the app and web platform very well, I recall having to learn about it and taking time to become familiar. Now I'm in a position to help other athletes and users to solve problems that range from small technical questions about using the app to bigger questions about planning and periodising training and understanding their own physiology. It's a rewarding role and I enjoy the real benefit of helping other athletes to get the most out of themselves.
This summer Marco and Ale came to visit us in Switzerland. It was great to meet them in person and to share a little bit of our lives here, to show them my favorite trails, and to log some miles together. I learned more about them, the philosophy behind HRV4Training, and the evolution of the company over the last few years. After their trip, Marco asked me if I would be their first sponsored athlete. I was delighted and accepted the offer immediately.
|With Marco and Ale in Switzerland in 2020.|
The chance to be sponsored by HRV4Training is an absolute dream. The first thing I do every single day it to use the app to take my HRV measurement. I use the analysis and advice to guide my training and I use it with the athletes I coach. I trust and believe the data and measurement and I always recommend it to all athletes. In addition, as part of the customer support team I see how much value other athletes and coaches get from the app and I'm convinced that it's a great addition to any athlete's toolbox. I feel very fortunate that Marco and Ale believe in me and want to support my running and racing. I'm really excited about the year ahead and all the implications of being a part of the HRV4Training team.
|My first race as an athlete sponsored by HRV4Training.|