• Do Wellness Metrics Predict Illness

     A Case Study

    Do wellness metrics predict illness - maybe!

    Over the last week or so I've had (head) cold type symptoms which tested negative to COVID. 

    The evening of the 23rd May (the red arrow on the graph) I had either a bit of 'pursuiter's cough' or a mildly sore throat - training earlier that day had been ergo at threshold heart rate.

    By the next morning though it was a definite sore throat, spreading to blocked sinuses by the 25th. I felt the worst the evening of the 26th.

    The period of illness lasted until the 30th May (the pretty classic one week for a cold) although symptoms were very mild by the end.

    Could I have seen this coming? The answer is 'yes', however it is only really visible in hindsight (orange circles).

    • my resting HR was elevated the day before but then dropped on the 23rd - but not back to the level in the days before. It then remains elevated for the period of illness.
    • my respiration rate was also elevated the day before before dropping on the 23rd - again, but not back to the level in the days before.

    The Body Battery data is interesting (but not predictive). Personally, I do find the body battery data a good proxy for 'energy', mainly driven by sleep quality. During the period of illness the body battery struggles to 'charge', even though plenty of sleep hours - obviously not enough quality when faced with a virus. And the score of '5' on the 26th is the lowest I've ever had (and the day I felt the worst).

    For those interested in training through a cold infection, the number one rule is to do nothing if you have any type of infection below the throat - which I didn't. Most of my training during the period of illness (marked by the yellow circle) was at LT1 which didn't feel impacted by being ill, except for the 26th (the worst day of symptoms),


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    A rider might only be in into the sport for self-improvement. Such a rider, focused solely on technique, mastery and process may become highly proficient, and even elite. Similarly, a rider might only ride for the glory. This ego/performance orientation suggests that process has to be endured, but it’s really the identity of being an elite cyclist that drives the rider. I suspect that some of the best riders, however, combine the positives of both orientations. They are obsessive about process and practice, and love to rip everyone’s legs off where it counts in order to enjoy the rewards.