Christy O'C has asked
What is the Polar Own Optimiser Test? It sounds like an interesting/decent way to tell whether you should take a break or not. Does it require specific telemetry?
The reason I'm asking is that I went out for an 8 miler yesterday evening and pulled up at just under 6 miles. I had planned an upper aerobic session but felt every footfall during the run (I haven't felt like that in a while). Maybe this test could help to determine the reason?
Polar OwnOptimizer is based on regular long-term measurements of five heart rate parameters. Two of these five values are calculated at rest, one while standing up and two while standing. Each time you perform the test, the wrist unit saves the heart rate values and compares them to the previous values registered.
After the test you will see your training state, your average heart rate while lying down (Rest HR), the highest heart rate while standing up (Peak HR) and the average heart rate while standing (Stand HR).
In the list below the name of the state, for example, Training Effect and the number of the state is shown.
Good recovery or Recovered (1)
Your test heart rates are lower than average. This indicates that you have recovered very well. You can continue training, including intensive exercise sessions.
Normal Training State (2)
Your test heart rates are at a normal level. Go on with you training; include both light and intensive training sessions, and recovery days.
Training Effect (3)
Your test heart rates are higher than average. You may have exercised intensively in the previous days. You have two choices: 1) rest or light train for one or two days, or 2) continue intensive training for one or two days and then recover well. Other sources of stress, the beginning of a fever or an attack of the flu can result in the same kind of response.
Steady Training State (4)
Your test heart rates have continuously been at a normal level for a long time now. Effective training requires both heavy training and good recovery, and this should cause variation in your test heart rates. Your OwnOptimizer Test indicates that you have not had very intensive training or good recovery for a while. Perform the test again after a rest or light training day. If the recovery is effective, you will get Recovered as a test result.
Stagnant Training State (5)
Your test heart rates are still at a normal level, and this has continued for a long time. Your test indicates that your training has not been intensive enough to develop optimally. To improve your condition most effectively, you should now include more intense or longer exercise sessions in your training.
Hard Training Effect (6)
Your test heart rates have been higher than average several times. You may have trained hard on purpose. Your test indicates overloading, and you should recover well now. To control your recovery, perform the test again after one or two resting or easy training days. If your next test result shows Recovered, it indicates successful training periodization and possible super-compensation. However, getting Normal Training State as a test result allows you to continue training.
Your OwnOptimizer Test indicates that you have had a very intensive training period for several days or weeks. Your test heart rates have continuously stayed at a high level. This seriously indicates that you should have a complete recovery period. The longer you have trained intensively, the longer the recovery period required to recover. Perform the test again after at least two days of recovery. Before continuing intensive training, wait until you get Normal Training State or Recovered as a test result. When you can continue training, you should control your training state carefully with OwnOptimizer Test and your subjective feelings.
Sympathetic Overtraining (8)
Your OwnOptimizer Test indicates that you have had a very intensive training period for several days or weeks, and your recovery has not been sufficient. This has result in a state of overtraining. To get back to a normal training state, you have to rest for a carefully controlled recovery period. Control your recovery with OwnOptimizer Test by performing the test 2 – 3 times per week.
You should not exercise, and instead rest completely for most of the recovery period. You can possibly have a few days with some light aerobic training in short sessions. Consider some other sport than your main sport. However, it should be one you are familiar and feel comfortable with. Also check if you have other signs of overtraining. Before continuing intensive training, wait until you get Normal Training State or Recovered as a test result, preferably more than once.
Parasympathetic Overtraining (9)
Your heart rates have stayed at a low level, which is generally interpreted as a sign of a good recovery. However, other parameters indicate parasympathetic overtraining. You may have trained with high volumes for a long time and your recovery times may not have been long enough. You should check if you have other signs of overtraining. For example, overtraining is marked by decreased performance, increased fatigue, mood disturbances, sleeping problems, persistent muscle soreness and/or a feeling of being burnt out or stale. You may also have been subjected to other stresses.
Further and more detailed information is available from the Polar website.
If you download the results of the test from your wrist unit to the PC, you can analyze the results with the Polar PC software. The software offers you various ways to analyze the results and receive more detailed information about your progress. You can also generate graphical comparisons with your previous values. My test results are usualy between 1 and 3 with the ocassional 4 or 5.