n International SportMed Journal - Day-to-day variation in heart rate recovery and excess post-exercise oxygen consumption after a submaximal treadmill protocol : original research

Volume 15, Issue 4
  • ISSN : 1528-3356



A recent, novel approach to measuring training load has been to investigate measures of the post-exercise return towards resting homeostasis for potential in this role. For practical reasons, it is important to determine whether changes in training load produce changes in the recovery measurement that are in excess of the day-to-day variation or within-subject reliability of the measurement. However, the day-to-day variation in certain recovery measurements is not always known. To determine day-to-day variation in measures of heart rate recovery (HRR) and excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC) so as to determine the minimal detectable difference in these measurements for future research. Observational cohort study. Twelve moderately trained runners completed 3 repetitions of a submaximal treadmill protocol on consecutive days. The protocol involved 20 min of running at 70% of maximal oxygen uptake and 15 min of controlled recovery. Day-to-day variation for exercise and recovery measurements was calculated as the typical error as a coefficient of variation (CV). Recovery measurements showed CV values of 8.0% (90% C.I. 6.7-10.3%) for the magnitude of EPOC, 12.9% (90% C.I. 10.6-16.4%) for the time constant of the oxygen consumption recovery curve, 8.7% (90% C.I. 7.2-11.2%) for 1 min HRR and 10.0% (90% C.I. 8.2-12.8%) for the time constant of the HRR curve. In contrast, most exercise parameters had CV values of 2-4%. For future studies in a similar setting, changes in training load that produce changes in HRR or EPOC greater than the CV values of these recovery measurements might be interpreted as of likely practical significance.

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