In this episode of The Athlete’s Compass, hosts Paul Warloski and Marjaana Rakai, along with special guest Dr. Paul Laursen, delve into the concept of Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE) and its critical role in training for endurance athletes. They discuss the evolution of RPE from a simple subjective measure to a sophisticated tool used in conjunction with data from heart rate monitors, power meters, and Athletica’s innovative workout reserve feature. The conversation highlights the importance of developing a keen sense of ‘feel’ for one’s own exertion levels and how this can lead to more effective and sustainable training practices.

Key Takeaways:

  • RPE as a Fundamental Training Tool: Understanding and using RPE effectively can help athletes monitor their training load and adjust their efforts according to their body’s signals.
  • Data Integration: Combining RPE with objective data from heart rate, power, and workout reserve provides a comprehensive view of training intensity and its impact on the body.
  • Developing ‘Feel’: Cultivating an awareness of one’s own exertion levels is crucial for long-term progress and avoiding overtraining.
  • Workout Reserve: Athletica’s workout reserve feature offers real-time insights into how much energy an athlete has left in the tank, allowing for smarter training decisions.
  • The Role of HRV: Heart rate variability (HRV) can be used alongside RPE to assess the body’s response to training and overall recovery status.



Paul Warloski (00:36)

Hello and welcome to the Athletes Compass podcast where we navigate to training, fitness and health for everyday athletes. Today we're talking about RPE or the rate of perceived exertion, the subjective way of determining how hard your workouts feel to you. Kolie Moore once posted a great meme on Instagram that has always stuck with me about RPE. There are four images.

The first is a small brain and a skull, kind of a person just getting used to riding to perceived effort. The second is a slightly larger and partially lit brain on riding to heart rate. And the third is riding to power when the brain is more well lit. But the fourth image is of an enlightened brain. It's all lit up and stars are blowing out of it. And that is back to riding to perceived effort. So what are the main...

benefits of riding or working out using RPE to monitor your intensity compared to other methods like heart rate or power.

Paul Laursen (01:42)

Sure. Yeah. So for me, and this kind of goes back to one of my main objectives when I'm coaching an athlete is I'm always trying to teach, but I'm trying to teach feel. And it's such a hard thing to do and to grasp. And it really kind of, to me, it depicts really the meme or the

you know, the image that you've just illustrated, Paul, and that's, you know, you start out and you're trying to kind of do your best to ride to perceived effort, but you don't really have that feel for exercise yet. Heart rate gives you a little bit more insight. Power might give you even more insight or pace. Putting them all together ultimately really, really brings the whole picture. But then, you know, you kind of come full circle at the end of the day. And after you've grasped all that insight,

from all your different tools that you use and that we use on Athletica, you need to start trusting your feel again. And then that is kind of like the holy grail once you nail that, once you've gone through that whole learning process. So, but just to kind of maybe step back for perceived effort, like it's a scale. This was first done by a fellow by the name of Borg.

Marjaana Rakai (02:55)

So, but just to kind of maybe step back from the scene, we received effort, like it's a scale, and this was first done.

Paul Laursen (03:06)

And it was, I think it was papers, 1980, 1982 from memory. And he basically came up with this six to 20 scale that corresponded, if you just basically, if you added a zero to the end, like, and just imagine it being a scale of 60 to 200. Well, that's your, it's kind of the range of a typical 20 year old's heart rate range, right? From 60 rest to 200 max.

And really the scale kind of falls all along that from, you know, maximal at 200 or 20, and then down to rest or doing nothing at 60. And you know, it just completely lines up. So that was the original scale of Borg's back in 1980. And then again, just to give you a little bit more history about it, Carl Foster, one of the first sport,

Marjaana Rakai (03:49)

and just completely un-dubbed. So that was the original scale of Lawrence Backer in 1980. And then, again, just to give you a little bit more history about Paul Foster, one of the first sport fans, sport and exercise scientists that actually, almost, I almost feel like he was a part of it. I met him at the College of Sports Medicine Conference in 1999 in Seattle, and I gave this crappy...

Paul Laursen (04:04)

sport and exercise scientists that actually almost I almost feel like he was a father like he took me under his wing. I met him at the American College of Sports Medicine Conference in 1999 in Seattle and I gave this crappy poster presentation, my very first one as a master's student and it was on my experience in the race across America and I collected a little bit of data on the four riders that did this team race across America

It was a really, it was like pretty poor quality relative to what I was, what I do, do today or what he could do. But he was just so, you know, congratulatory and just thought, you know, he really gave me the confidence that I could do. I could become a sports scientist. I just, I remember how important that was for me as a young, as a young person that was starting in that, in that career. It helped shape me. But anyways, Carl was like the, he's now another.

um... forefather or grandfather and he took Borg's uh... six to twenty scale and he created something called the session RPE that we use in Athletica today and what the session RPE does this is more of a scale of zero to ten one to ten where one is you know again rest ten is maximal but it's your you're kind of your you're going retrospectively and you're going backwards and you're saying how hard was that

And that's the session RPE. And that's important because we also use that to determine how much training load actually occurred. And you can do the cool thing about what Carl Foster figured out. It was probably a bit of luck, but he just kept testing it, was that it works across any different sport. So for example, session RPE.

It can calculate load of a strength training session. And it almost equates it to a session like Marjaana did the other day where she did a 30K ultra training run, which we might talk about later on. If you multiply the duration...

Paul Warloski (06:19)

Thank you.

Paul Laursen (06:25)

of that workout by the intensity of that workout, you get a really good load score. So we use that also in the back of Athletica as a bit of a backup actually. So typically we're using a lot of the metrics that are on your watch, but often you will rate how that session felt at the end and how hard that session was. And we'll use the duration of that session to just like Carl Foster did.

way back in, I forget when his, he was probably more in the 90s and stuff when he was doing the session RPE one. So I'm going off on many different tangents. I'm sorry, listener, but basically what I'm saying is developing your feel, using rating of perceived exertion is a fantastic tool to both develop yourself and learn about.

Marjaana Rakai (07:08)

But basically what I'm saying is...

Paul Laursen (07:21)

and also to monitor your own, your training.

Marjaana Rakai (07:27)

Yeah, for my athletes, I give them a chart to kind of learn what am I talking about RPE, why am I always talking about RPE. So I give them this chart from zero to 10, and I'm trying to teach them. Because when you're a new beginner and you just don't understand this concept,

Like if you've never trained before, I remember, so this is gonna reveal my age, but I remember when I started training to compete and stuff, we didn't have power meters or even a heart rate monitor. It was pretty new. But before I got the huge watch, one of the first Polar ones, it was...

just understanding the feel that we went by. And I remember many times I was skiing, I was a cross-country skier, so I was skiing, doing my base training. And sure enough, some 70-year-old guy, I would catch him and then he would, you know, of course they would let me pass, but then he would be stuck with me.

So I was always annoyed by those guys because they would never just let go, which made me go fast because I wanted to drop them. So that totally ruined my session and his session, right? So that kind of led me to learn how to go by feel and leave the ego at the door. But yeah, if I can talk to...

About my, my 30 K run. I think I actually didn't rate it correctly. Yesterday. I think I gave it four, but if you ask me at 20 K mark, it would have been nine. Like from zero to 10, because I was just up to 15 K. It was okay. I was managing it.

Paul Warloski (09:26)


Paul Laursen (09:41)


Paul Warloski (09:42)


Marjaana Rakai (09:50)

But from 15 to 20 K, the boulder that I was pushing along, it just felt heavy and heavier. And 20 K, I actually sent my coach a voice note, rationalizing why I should just walk home. So at that point, my RPE was probably nine. Um, and the funny thing is that your mind is so powerful.

Paul Warloski (09:53)



Marjaana Rakai (10:17)

And yesterday I just needed permission from coach to, you know, walk home and call it a day. Once I got that, I did not want to quit anymore. So I kept going another 10 K. But yeah.

Paul Laursen (10:34)

Yeah, it was pretty cool. That's it. Yeah. Back to the brain meme and stuff. It really is so mind influenced, right?

Marjaana Rakai (10:41)

Yeah, absolutely. Like your mind has such a power over what you can do. And that was like, and on the long runs or long rides, sometimes we just need to struggle through that and, back yourself up with that, you can do hard things.

Paul Laursen (11:08)

Yeah, yeah.

Marjaana Rakai (11:14)



Paul Laursen (11:28)

and it just changes the game. So there's a strange body mind connection or who knows what kind of goes on, but we go through, so just because there's a given moment of that exercise that might be different than another moment. And again, back to.

If I kind of go back to what Carl was creating, he's really looking at the whole big picture of that whole time. So your entire 30K that you ran, Marianna, you rated that a four. But yeah, like you said, there was a moment in there that it was a nine. But again, you're reflecting on it and you're taking it as a whole. So you still did the technique correctly according to what we're trying to do and to get an overall.

Marjaana Rakai (12:04)


Paul Laursen (12:19)

a picture of the load stress on your body in that given period of time for that given exercise training session. like, so there's a lot of limitations we've just identified through this talk, right? Like there's like, there's a lot, there's a lot, a big learning effect that kind of goes on. So if you're just starting into exercise training, you're going to have to realize that you're going to probably go through a learning process here.

Maybe your judgment on this rating perceived exertion might change as you develop over a year or even six months or whatever as an athlete. That's okay. You'll get better and better at doing it like anything as a familiarization process. But once you become more familiar with that, then like Paul's meme there, the brain starts lighting up and you start pairing this with your heart rate. You start pairing this with your power and pace.

And then it's almost like you don't even need to use the heart rate or the pace or the power anymore and you can play these fun little games out there where it's like you can start playing in your mind and start saying, I wonder what it is, what my heart rate is. It feels like it's going to be feels like a 140 and it feels like I'm at a 4:55 (per KM) pace right now. And like that's kind of something I would try. Right. And then like, oh.

yeah, not bad, I was only five beats off and 15 seconds off, whatever, right? And then you just continue to refine that whole process as either a runner or a cyclist or whatever. But yeah, feel is awesome. When you develop that, the feel for your perceived exertion, it's super powerful because, I don't know, you just becoming at one with your ability to move.

Paul Warloski (14:09)

Thank you.

Paul Laursen (14:10)

ability to train, exercise, train. And then that means your listening is getting better and better. And you're listening any problems that might manifest as you go along the process of training being an athlete.

Paul Warloski (14:13)


Marjaana Rakai (14:24)

Yeah, that's one of the things that I look at when I'm going to Athletica and looking at my athletes aerobic sessions. I look at their RPE and if I see seven or eight, then I question, did you go a little too fast? Like why would it, why was it seven or eight? And then we have that discussion. And oftentimes I might, in addition to heart rate and power, I also...

describe by feel, so RPE, and I really try to encourage my athletes to understand what it is. I've ditched my bike computer because I have that feel after many years of, you know, going by feel.

Paul Warloski (15:11)

Well then how did the ride actually happen? You gotta have a computer doing the recording. Oh okay, so there is recording, all right, all right.

Marjaana Rakai (15:18)

I just have my watch, it's recording, but I don't have my computer ahead of me that I watch all the time.

Paul Warloski (15:29)

So was your long run, did you have a certain purpose or, you know, you talked about how your run was generally a four, but there were certain times it felt like a nine. Was the purpose of your run just to get 30K in?

Marjaana Rakai (15:47)


Paul Warloski (15:48)

Would you have changed your run at all if you had said, I'm really feeling like a nine and then I need to, I needed to stop as opposed to seeking permission. Does the purpose of your workout change given your RPE?

Marjaana Rakai (15:55)


Well, the purpose yesterday was to really get that 30k in because I had three weeks to marathon. So if I had longer time, I would probably packed it in. But I feel like I really needed that 30k to build confidence that I can run marathon in three weeks. And at that 20k mark, it was more like a confidence killer. But at the end, it was a confidence builder.

I managed to go through it. And some part of these long runs, the purpose is to, you know, teach us that we can do hard things and suffer through, because that's what marathon is going to be.

Paul Laursen (16:48)

Totally, right? Imagine if you had pulled the pin at 9, when you're feeling your 9 level, and now you're speaking again today, right? You probably wouldn't feel as confident about going to the marathon, but now you've got 30K under your belt, you're feeling fine. So you're probably pleased that you've got that in both your body and mind.

Marjaana Rakai (17:00)



Yeah, totally. Yeah.

Paul Warloski (17:18)

So what's the practical application? So are we talking about just long endurance kind of training that we should be? Should we, or is it a just for strength training, just for, you know, your RPE is as hard as you can go kind of workouts. I mean, what's the practical application of how you do this during a workout?

Paul Laursen (17:44)

Yeah, I think it's really, it's just the connection of the activity that you're doing. It doesn't matter the intensity or the duration or any combination of the two. It's the integration of the mind and how it feels that, how hard that exercise feels. So it's your brain's interpretation of that work.

of that workload and lo and behold, you know, the human brain is its own sort of barometer or monitor system outside of any of the technology that we kind of use. So we have to we have to trust it. And this is the like there's been a number of studies that have shown that it's actually the superior method to a power speed pace or heart rate monitor that

brain, your mind, your interpretation, once trained, wins out. So yeah, you can't, we can't dismiss it as much as us tech geeks with Athletica would love to say it's useless, it's far from it. It's the, it's, we have to embrace it. And we do with Athletica. And that's why we ask it. It's one of the fundamental things that we want you to learn, that we want you to

to train and that we monitor in you when you are going through your process of training on Athletica.

Paul Warloski (19:23)

So you mentioned just now once they're trained, Paul, what do you mean by that? Should we use power and heart rate and the data to help us essentially calibrate our RPE? How can we do that?

Paul Laursen (19:41)

Yeah, I think again, I think this calibration is always happening. So like I know myself personally, when because I'm always monitoring, let's say in the context is as I'm doing my cycle training, I'm always monitoring my power output on the bike and my heart rate. And I'm also monitoring session, RPE and feel. And just as Athletica asks like

That's kind of what I do. So it just gets, it's always kind of a confirmation for me of what it was. They're not always linked like one-to-one direct. They can be a little bit off. Sometimes you're having a little bit more power relative to the exercise, the feel or RPE. And maybe that's a sign of adaptation, right?

but that's pretty, that's kind of pretty cool when that happens. So that's, but, and then likewise as well, maybe if power is a little bit lower or heart rate's a little bit higher and heart RPE is high as well, then maybe that's the first indicator of, you know, maybe I need to take a little bit more of a break or focus on getting a better sleep or doing any sort of recovery aspect to enhance that. So.

Paul Warloski (20:40)


Paul Laursen (21:07)

Yeah. And I guess this really leads on also to our new innovation, which we're calling workout reserve. And workout reserve, I can't emphasize to you guys just how excited I am with this. And it's a huge bias, obviously, because you dream of innovations like this. And that you've got to.

Marjaana Rakai (21:15)

Thank you.

Paul Laursen (21:37)

that you're contributing something new that's gonna take hold in the world. But honestly, internally, we gotta give full credit to Andrea Zignoli, this is his brainchild. But basically this workout reserve number, very difficult to kind of almost...

described simply, we have to link it, you know, we ultimately have to link it to something that you would, you would kind of equate. And we always the best, the hardest thing or sorry, the closest thing is really this battery. And it's like, how much energy do you kind of have in your battery? Andrea doesn't really like that analogy, but it's the closest thing that we can kind of come to. But it's, but it's, it's a mathematical construct that

you get now in real time on your Garmin device. But it's like basically you're looking at how much you have in the tank relative to what you've done in the past. Now, when I, I'll tell a little quick little story if I can. And it was when I was a, I was riding in Australia, I was a younger version of myself and I was just giving a go at the A grade or cat one.

biking competitions. And I remember riding in a group with an alpha male kind of leader of the cycle group that we were in, our little team at the University of Queensland in Australia. And he was, you know, when you're, you get a lot of chit chat when you're sitting in for the long rides and stuff on the, with these guys. And he was telling me, he was like, Paul, you've only got so many matches to burn.

Paul Warloski (23:00)

Thank you.

Marjaana Rakai (23:16)

He was telling me, he said, oh, they got so many matches to burn, okay? And if you're gonna help us out, you've gotta be smart with where you play down your matches. Right? And they're, they're just, it's a tough, it's a tough character, right? You really wanna be nice. I'm like,

Paul Laursen (23:21)

Okay, and if you're gonna help us out, you've gotta be smart with where you lay down your matches. Right, and they're very like, you know, he was just, he's a tough character, right? And he really wanted me to pick up my game for whatever reason, right? So he would, and I won't, the language he used as well around was, yeah, it was fair dinkum-aussie, but...

Paul Warloski (23:41)


Paul Laursen (23:46)

Yeah, and anyways, it's really, it's like, you've only got so many matches to light up before you're gone and you're sort of useless. So if you've ever ridden in a bike kind of race, and Paul, I know you're cycling, so you'll know exactly what I'm talking about. And if you lay down your matches and sprint ahead and it's kind of wasted, you're not really going too much with it. You're sort of useless and you're off the back, right?

So workout reserve in real time on Garmin now kind of gives you that insight right there and then right in front of you. It's like right in your cockpit. If you've got little Garmin device right in the front, basically you can almost see this. Whatever sort of version of intensity or duration, you can see when you're down towards zero. And when you're getting, when you're starting to, when it starts up at 100% and when that battery gets down towards zero on whatever effort you're doing,

Say you're pushing really hard in the front of the peloton for like 90 seconds and if you see that thing going down towards zero, well there's not too much left relative to the history of yourself. Because basically what the workout reserve does is it's looking back at the last six weeks of your data. So if you don't have any reserves back there, like a similar effort for the last six weeks, what are the chances that you're going to be able to kind of...

Marjaana Rakai (24:50)

that thing going down towards zero, there's not too much left relative to the history of yourself. Basically what the workout preserve does is looking back at the last six weeks of your data. So if you don't have any reserves back there, like a similar for the last six weeks, or when the chances are going to be able to kind of continue to go down into the negatives, well not too much and if you do...

Paul Laursen (25:13)

continue to go down to the negatives. Not too much and if you do, you're really bleeding that out and it's a personal best otherwise. But it's just like this, these dream performances don't magically happen. You need to prepare for them and this is why we do the training preparation in Athletica first. So there's so many different things we can go down to look at with this workout reserve. And I'm blabbing on, but you know,

Marjaana, what do you think I've missed here? Or what do you want to add?

Marjaana Rakai (25:46)

I don't know if I have anything to add other than my experience yesterday during the run. I saw the workout reserve on my watch go down to 15 and that's pretty much when I started to struggle. So I decided, okay, at 15 Ks, I was like, okay, I'm going to walk and let my body recover a little bit and then I'll keep running.

And I did that several times. So the workout reserve went up a little bit. And then after I start running again, it went down. At the 20 K mark, it was pretty much, I'm looking at it now on the analysis tab. It went at 20 Ks. It was almost zero. So that last hour I was in the minus, I think I was like minus about minus 15 at the end, minus 14 at the end.

And it totally felt like I had done more than I had done in a long, long time. So it's matches perfectly with their minus workout reserve. But yeah, it's.

Paul Laursen (26:57)

Yeah, and I mean, that's excellent. So you've described perfectly how it's supposed to function, right? So you can use this as a tool for a variety of different things. So you could use it yesterday in your long runs to know that you're going into uncharted territories. So when it goes into negatives, that means you are, yeah, you're in uncharted territories in terms of either the duration and or the intensity of the workout. Now, that also.

Marjaana Rakai (27:04)


Paul Laursen (27:26)

We have a little slider on that from S to short. So that's the sprint stuff I was talking about on the bikes versus L to long. You're talking in the L domains, right? You were going ultra yesterday. So it was registering in the ultra long distance segment. This is kind of the coolness and the versatility of the workout reserve. So if you know Athletica and you know the power and pace,

Marjaana Rakai (27:37)

Mm-hmm. Yeah.

Paul Laursen (27:54)

profile that we have. This is Peter Leo's work. This is best practice sport science. This is really looking at you in terms of your fingerprint and how good you are in terms of your strengths and weaknesses. Are you a sprinty person where you've got these incredible powers and speeds short term versus you're an ultra long athlete and you've got these really amazing

powers and paces over long durations or somewhere, some hybrid in between. Well, Athletica holds that fingerprint in front of this, this observation. And then it's just looking at where you're at now relative to where you've been. So, yeah, it sounds like it, it assessed you perfectly in the long duration there yesterday, Marjaana, and very cool how you said that you like it responded when you stopped and walked it.

Paul Warloski (28:49)


Paul Laursen (28:49)

battery kind of almost increased there again you could see it recharging almost right? Yeah and the same goes for the sprint stuff right? So get back to me on the bike and you know if I'm in that group with the cyclists and if I recover myself enough then I can still be useful to the team and whatnot.

Marjaana Rakai (28:53)

Yeah, you can see it go up and down as I walk. Yeah.

Paul Laursen (29:17)

I've really got that on board in real time and new knowledge that's never been available before in terms of predicting how many matches that you've got either in the high intensity sector or in the long duration sector. So pretty cool. This is just like, it's just emerging. It's going to take a long time to catch on. But if you're an Athletica listener user, you're very advantaged to.

to having that tool, I highly recommend that you go on to the Garmin Connect app store and download that app. Phil Whitehurst is the inventor of that in the Garmin, the coder, developer and just has done an amazing job. And again, kudos to Andrea Zignoli, who is the...

the inventor of it, the mathematician. So what a team.

Marjaana Rakai (30:17)

Yeah, it's quite incredible. I would just make a note that don't always try to PR. You know, it's a really good tool, but you should not always try to get into the negatives for sustainability and consistency of training. But it's...

Paul Laursen (30:41)

Well, I would say that's exactly what you don't want to do. Absolutely. Like, I think that's because remember what our motto is with hit science. And it's like, get away from that no pain, no gain philosophy. And instead, hit your target and walk away. Well, you can hit your target if you're close to a positive 10, 20, 30, kind of in there, right? Then you've hit that whatever it may be, whether it's long duration, mid duration.

Marjaana Rakai (30:44)



Paul Laursen (31:09)

short duration, you can hit that and then you walk away from it and adapt. And then remember the most important session is the next session. So that's how you get there, training consistency that way.

Marjaana Rakai (31:22)

Yeah, I think paired with RPE, this could be a really good tool to understand, okay, well, I've run 40 minutes. I'm starting to feel maybe five, and this is an aerobic session, so I should be on zone two. And then I'm looking at my workout reserve. Oh, it's hitting 20. Okay. Maybe this is enough for me today.

Paul Laursen (31:46)

Yeah, and I love how you did that. It wasn't even, I don't even know if that was planned, but you just like, you circled back there perfectly, Marjaana, and this is, well, this is exactly how the two kind of equate, right? This is, yeah, so now you've sort of got this new tool. Remember, we started, Paul started by illustrating that we had RPE, heart rate, power, back to RPE. Well, now you've got this extra mathematical calculation.

Paul Warloski (31:47)

Hmm. That was...

No. There's a...

Marjaana Rakai (31:54)

It was not planned.

Paul Laursen (32:14)

in your workout reserve that's kind of in there as well, that's also kind of circling around and also incorporated with feel too. So it's like, okay, how's my feel sort of relating to how much I've actually depleted? So we've got this brand new tool in there and I hope I'm not confusing you, the listener. I hope it's exciting you to want to learn more.

And we're gonna, believe me, we're gonna come back to this one many, many times, I believe, because to talk about Workout Reserve. It's literally just appearing right now as we speak in front of you. It's always on Athletica. It's usually the green line currently in your summary analysis, your session analysis. So you can always kind of have a look at how it evolved during any given session.

But now also, there's no excuses now. If you're in the Garmin system, you can actually see this actually happening in real time. You know how deep into the well you've gone or how much you've left over. And then how does that relate to the RPE as well? So yeah, hopefully that stimulates a lot of thought and hopefully a lot of excitement. I'm certainly excited about it.

Marjaana Rakai (33:34)

and it's only available in Athletica

Paul Warloski (33:38)


Paul Laursen (33:38)

For now, for now, you know, I will say that we, you know, we were really, we're very much science driven. And I will say that Andrea, Philly and myself, we've, this is currently in, in review at the Journal of Applied Physiology, which is the top, top journal. So we're very...

We want to be open and transparent. We don't like the black box thinking. We want to protect some things within Athletica but this is quite open science. So we pride ourselves on that. We're not holding any secrets or anything. So this is available also to students and in all of the sports sciences, all the math departments that actually want to try to.

leverage on top of this because it won't be the last thing, right? So where science is always kind of building on itself and we want this to be a contribution for all.

Paul Warloski (34:43)

So we have RPE, heart rate, power, workout reserve, all contributing to our sense of how intense something is. And we can use heart rate, this is, or use RPE to kind of monitor our session. We can also use the session RPE to look back on a particular workout. Is this?

Or can this be related to HRV and all? We've talked about HRV in several past episodes. How does that fit in?

Paul Laursen (35:16)

Yeah, no, I think I really glad you brought that up Paul, because these do get confused sometimes. And when we look at, so what we've been talking about really, it's a hybrid model. So remember you've got these external things that are happening and you've got these internal things that are happening. So when we talk about external things, they're away from the body.

So things like your power output, how fast you're moving. These are, we're quantifying how much load is happening, it's predicted to be happening outside of you. Now, when you go inside the person, you're looking at their heart rate. When you're looking at rating perceived exertion, you're asking your brain to interpret. So it's really more of an internal load marker, right? And then

Sorry, back to workout reserve. We're just measuring this outside, right? So it's outside the body. This is an external marker. And now you just asked about heart rate variability. We'll back, we're back inside and it's usually a load response. So how am I responding to that external load? And you're, and typically we look at the RPE, or sorry, we look at the heart rate variability the next day, right? We usually look at it or we look at it across the night. We usually look at a knock.

internal evening reading and it's how did I respond to that work. Right, so think of Marjaana's case. She ran 30k yesterday. It's like, you know, she had a minimum workout reserve of, I forget what it was, minus 15 or something, right, around there. So she did, she went deep into the well. Now how has that external work, how is she going to respond to that external work?

I would hazard a guess that her heart rate variability might be a little bit lower than usual based on such a big external amount of work. So that's kind of how the two relate. Would you agree, Marjaana?

Marjaana Rakai (37:23)

Yeah, it was lower, but it was actually within range, which surprised me. But, yeah.

Paul Warloski (37:29)

That's good. That's fitness.

Paul Laursen (37:30)

Perfect. And that's exactly, and that's what you want to see, right? So you want to see, but you could see the opposite and then that's just, that's what you see. And then you know, oh, I really went deep in that. And this is where heart rate variability is so cool because other life circumstances kind of come in and also contribute. Did I do that in the heat? Did I do that at altitude? Am I having them, you know, is there family emotional things or whatever?

It may be that a food, nutrition, all these sorts of things affecting it too. So it's a holistic load response mark.

Paul Warloski (38:02)

All right, here are three things that I have learned today about using RPE to monitor intensity. And this is some really interesting things that I hadn't thought of, but number one, RPE is a perception to develop your own thinking and monitoring your training load. Number two, you can use data, heart rate, power, your workout reserve on Athletica to validate in a way.

align your RPE. But in the end, number three, this is what both Paul and Marjaana said that I thought was really interesting. It's a tool to help integrate your mind and your brain's interpretation into it so that it can teach you that you can do hard things. Even though you're at a nine or a ten and it feels like it's impossible, you can still do it.

And I think that's a really cool way of thinking about your RPE and as a way of judging and interpreting what your training load has been. That is all for this week. Thank you for listening and join us next week for the Athletes Compass. You can help us by asking your training questions in the comments and below liking and sharing the podcast, giving us five star reviews.

and engaging with us on our social media for Marjaana Rakai, Dr. Paul Larson. I am Paul Warloski and this has been the Athletes Compass Podcast. Thanks for listening.

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