One of the reasons I bought a Garmin fēnix 6 was so I could more accurately track my activity levels, which I hoped would lead to better insight into my fitness level, workout recommendations, and a better handle on my training status. What I seem to be getting though is borderline useless…
Below is a table indicating the last month of activity: what Garmin suggested, what I actually did, how it impacted resting heart rate (RHR) (note that this is a trailing indicator), and the Training Status associated with the actual activity for that day.
|4/8/2021||Anaerobic 1:02:00||Tempo 59:04||46||Unproductive|
|4/7/2021||Base 1:13:00||Hike 1:04:19 / Run 10:13 / Strength 42:56||45||Unproductive|
|4/6/2021||Threshold 1:02:00||Tempo 1:22:28 / Base 55.37||45||Unproductive|
|4/5/2021||Threshold 1:02:00||Run 10:10 / Body Weight 22:43||46||Unproductive|
|4/4/2021||Base 1:33:00||Base 2:53:00||50||Unproductive|
|4/3/2021||Base 1:46:00||Base 3:48:06 / Hike 32:46||45||Unproductive|
|4/2/2021||Base 1:46:00||Run 10:21 / Strength 39:24||45||Peaking|
|4/1/2021||Base 1:39:00||Base 1:00:44||47||Peaking|
|3/31/2021||Base 1:13:00||Run 12:19 / Body Weight 27:56||50*||Unproductive|
|3/30/2021||Tempo 1:20:00||Tempo 1:38:56||47||Unproductive|
|3/29/2021||Base 1:13:00||Ride 18:08 / Strength 38:55||47||Unproductive|
|3/28/2021||Threshold 1:07:00||Base 3:35:24||46||Unproductive|
|3/27/2021||Anaerobic 1:02:00||Base 2:04:23||49||Unproductive|
|3/26/2021||Base 1:13:00||Run 10:08 / Strength 45:06||46||Unproductive|
|3/25/2021||Recovery 30:00||Threshold 1:11:49 / Base 1:03:19||47||Unproductive|
|3/24/2021||Base 1:13:00||Run 10:30 / Body Weight 23:33||47||Unproductive|
|3/23/2021||Base 1:45:00||Threshold 1:14:36||45||Unproductive|
|3/22/2021||Base 1:13:00||Run 10:06 / Strength 42:12||48||Unproductive|
|3/21/2021||Anaerobic 1:15:00||Threshold 2:04:41||46||Unproductive|
|3/20/2021||Base 2:02:00||Recovery 2:04:41||48||Recovery|
|3/19/2021||Base 1:13:00||Run 10:11 / Body Weight 24:29||48||Productive|
|3/18/2021||Threshold 1:10:00||VO2 Max 1:09:59||45||Productive|
|3/17/2021||Threshold 1:10:00||Run 10:08 / Strength 35:41||44||Peaking|
|3/16/2021||Base 1:53:00||Base 1:32:51||42||Peaking|
|3/15/2021||Base 54:00||Run 12:27 / Body Weight 23:40||46||Productive|
|3/14/2021||Base 1:33:00||Base 2:11:56||48||Productive|
|3/13/2021||Anaerobic 1:20:00||Sprint 2:56:56||45||Productive|
|3/12/2021||Base 1:15:00||Base 1:15:27||46||Productive|
|3/11/2021||Base 1:10:00||Tempo 1:09:16||46||Productive|
|3/10/2021||Rest||Run 10:05 / Body Weight 23:57||47||Unproductive|
|3/9/2021||Tempo 1:20:00||Tempo 58:06||45||Unproductive|
|3/8/2021||Recovery 30:00||Run 10:09 / Strength 40:17||48||Unproductive|
* I suspect this number is abnormally high because I got my first COVID shot the previous day and I slept poorly because my arm was really sore.
There’s a lot going on there that I do not understand, but covering the big ones:
- I spend a lot of time being “Unproductive” according to my Garmin watch. Even though I consistently workout at numbers above what Garmin thinks my FTP is, and today (the screenshot above), even though “my fitness is declining” I felt good enough after the first two sets, to bump up the third by 5W (104% over what I have my FTP set to in Zwift).
- There doesn’t seem to be a strong relationship between what’s suggested one day, what I do, and the impact on that the following day. For e.g. on 3/25 Garmin suggested a 30 minute Recovery workout, I did a 1:11:49 Threshold and a 1:03:19 Base workout instead, my RHR went down, and then it suggested a Base workout for the next day. If I really needed a Recovery workout on the 25th, going the opposite direction should have created a Rest suggestion to avoid overload, but obviously that’s not what happened. So the fēnix clearly didn’t understand where I was physiologically on one of those days, and probably both.
Maybe I’m holding it wrong, or don’t understand what the data/suggestions are telling me, but frankly it just seems like a random number generator with little actual sense driving the bus.