I’ve been using the WHOOP band since the beginning of the year.  I’ve been using it with some of my athletes as well to monitor their numbers and see if I can learn patterns about what workouts cause what type of stress (or they call it strain) on the athletes.

The cool part of the WHOOP band is it gives you a recovery score at the beginning of the day based on various factors:

  • Heartrate variability
  • Resting heartrate
  • The strain you had the previous day.
  • What type of sleep did you get to help your recovery.

You’ve been hearing me tout about getting more sleep.  I think athletes need to get a lot of sleep and should plan accordingly if they have an important contest coming up.  I think it will get them ready.

Unfortunately, with our young athletes, sometimes that just doesn’t happen.  They have too much homework or they just can’t put themselves to bed at a decent time.  Electronics calls their name.

The solution might be a nap.

I sometimes would take power naps of 15-20 minutes during the day.  If I was a little tired, but didn’t want to take a long nap that is what I’d do.  Long enough to close my eyes a little bit, but not too long to take a chunk of my afternoon away from getting some things done.

Using the WHOOP band, I’ve learned that those short naps really didn’t do much for my body in terms of recovery, feeling refreshed, etc.  Your body needs to be in that deep/REM sleep to really begin to recover.

That being said, I’ve been analyzing the data daily since I started with the WHOOP band.  The WHOOP never picked up any of my smaller naps because they barely registered anything.  Once I made my naps longer (at least 60 minutes), it would register that and analyze the data.

The last 5 times that I took a nap of 60 minutes or longer, my recovery score the next day improved from the previous.

My sleep performance also improved from the previous day.  So what should that tell me?

I’m a track coach and our big meets are typically on a Saturday.  I’ve got high school kids that are probably going to bed around midnight.  Some of my more dedicated athletes will try to go to bed around a decent time maybe between 10pm – 11pm and get about 8 hours sleep.

If I want to increase my chances that they will be as ready and recovered as possible for that meet on Saturday, maybe I send them home for a nap after school instead of practicing.

Friday before a meet is like a walkthrough practice the day before a football game.  You aren’t doing anything too intense.  You just fire up the nervous system a little bit and then let it get ready for the meet the next day.

What if the body needs more from a recovery then it does firing up the nervous system?

Send the kids competing in the meet home with the promise that they will take a nap for 60-90 minutes.  That’s it.

Make sure they eat appropriately, hydrate, and then go to bed between 10-11 and get another 8-9 hours sleep.  The combination of the two should have your athlete in a position of very high recovery for Saturday and ready to take on a lot of strain effectively.

Basically, be able to run at the best of his/her abilities for this important meet.

I know what you are thinking.  You’re going to send your kids home for a nap??

Well, I’ve been doing the data and it certainly would be something to play with at least early in the season.  I don’t know how well this could work with other sports, but it might be something worth trying.  If my kids start hitting huge PR’s and running well in the meets, OH I will definitely be sharing it with you.