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A Must-Have In A Runner’s Toolbox (#2)

Top 9 Gifts for Runners – According to the Experts

Is the runner in your life measuring “Heart Rate” or “Heart Rate Variability?” The difference between the two is significant! Impress your loved one with a device that professional runners are using—a wearable device that tracks HRV, our second gift recommendation (out of seven).

These days health trackers that measure steps, heart rate, pace and distance are a common tool used by most recreational runners and more serious runners. Professional runners have taken that a level higher and are understanding the need to track variability. Why? Having this device is like having your body whisper in your ear that it’s ready to go, or that it needs a rest.

HRV gives information on how well a runner is recovered. Knowing this allows athletes to make better decisions about when to train hard and when to take it easy. Running hard when your body is ready means better, faster workouts. This translates to faster racing times. On the flip side, knowing it’s time take it easy helps give your body a rest when needed and prevents injury and illness.

Devices that give feedback on HRV give runners information on the balance between parasympathetic and sympathetic activity, which is a scientific way of saying the way your body works to regulate itself. It measures the difference in milliseconds between heart beats. The devices track your individual baseline and follow the changes from day to day, showing the ability to adapt to stress. A low variability can be a sign of fatigue or overtraining. It can also be an indication of an oncoming illness or other health issues.

Many runners use resting heart rate for the same function; however, resting heart rate isn’t nearly as reliable as using HRV. According to Alex Gometz, PT, DPT, CIC from Prehab, “…heart rate variability gets my attention. I recommend the metric for performance enhancement as it gives you the ability to predict recovery. When there is such detailed attention to physiological responses and readiness, they can improve confidence while making decisions about increased demands in training and when to hold off with certainty rather than based on a hunch.”

Biofeedback devices that measure HRV are more accurate if used in conjunction with a chest strap. On average, they cost around $150.

Last week we gave our first gift recommendation. If you missed it, you can find it (and the entire series) at Prehab’s Blog Page—and don’t forget to subscribe to our monthly newsletter with running tips and continued inspiration.

Prehab is a science-based running clinic with locations in New York City and San Diego, also offering services virtually. Our mission is to help all levels of runners enjoy the sport with top performance, while preventing injury.

Why rehab when you can prehab?®

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