The resting heart rate is in highly trained endurance athletes very low. The pulse rate in rest by untrained people is mostly between 70 and 80 beats per minute. After a period of training and improvement of endurance the resting pulse will gradually become lower. In well-trained endurance athletes such as cyclists and marathon runners is the resting pulse 40 to 50 beats per minute. Outliers below 40 beats per minute are no exception.

In the morning the resting pulse for most people is about 10 beats lower than in the evening. Some exceptions have a lower pulse rate in the evening than in the morning. A good explanation for that is not known.

The resting heart rate or heart rate in the morning provides the athlete information about the training situation and the extent of recovery after strenuous exercise. A low heart rate is a training effect that occurs after a period of endurance training. Because well-trained endurance athletes often have a very low resting pulse, people are thinking, the lower the pulse rate, the better the condition and the performance level. That is not correct. From a low resting pulse, no conclusions can be drawn about the physical condition or performance level.

The resting heart rate gives important information about the state of recovery of the body after competition or training. Insufficient recovery or the onset of overtraining can be detected by recording the resting pulse at an early stage.

Even starting or insufficiently cured infections, like all kinds of viral infections such as colds and flus, can be determined by counting the resting pulse at an early stage. Any athlete who is serious about his sport has to count his resting heart rate every morning. Insufficient recovery, starting overtraining and infections caused an increase in the resting pulse. Raising of the resting heart rate needs an adjustment of the training intensity or even total rest.

The best place to count the heart rate is the radial artery. The resting heart rate or the morning pulse is counted before getting out of your bed. In that way the conditions are always the same.

The heart rate can be counted on the wrist, neck and sleep, and to the heart itself.

Count the pulse during 15 seconds and multiply the number of counted pulses by four to get the number of beats per minute. Counted 12 beats after 15 seconds means a heart rate of 4 x 12 = 48 beats per minute.

Modern sport testers like Polar and Garmin can make a night curve. First make a curve during the night in a period of full recovery.

When the night curve after a race or an intensive training is higher than the full recovery curve, with an average of 5 to 10 beats per minute, it should be taken into account for the following work out.
Night registrations give a good indication of the degree of recovery after exertion.

After an intensive training or race the recovery needs more time. During a period of fever caused by a viral infection the resting heart rate is raised.