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5 Signs Your Fitness Levels Are Skyrocketing

Are you putting in the hard work but wondering if your fitness is actually improving? As an Ironman coach, I've seen athletes go through incredible transformations, and there are certain signs that indicate your efforts are paying off. Here are five unmistakable signs that your fitness levels are on the rise:


1.Lower Resting Heart Rate: Pay attention to your heart rate during workouts and at rest. As your cardiovascular fitness improves, your heart doesn't have to work as hard to pump blood throughout your body. You'll notice that your resting heart rate decreases, and during workouts, your heart rate will be lower for a given intensity compared to when you started. This means your heart is becoming more efficient, a key indicator of improved fitness.


2.Decreasing Perceived Exertion: Have you noticed that what once felt like a challenging pace now feels more manageable? As your fitness improves, your perceived exertion—how hard you feel like you're working—will decrease. Activities that used to leave you breathless and fatigued will become easier as your body adapts to the demands of training. This is a clear sign that your fitness levels are on the rise.


3.Faster Recovery: One of the most noticeable benefits of improved fitness is faster recovery. After pushing yourself during a hard effort, you'll find that your heart rate returns to normal more quickly than before. A good way to guage this is to find a loop for hill repeats on the bike. Every time you push the up hill, your heart rate will obviously increase. Pay close attention at how quickly your heart rate comes down after each up hill effort. Over time your body becomes more efficient at clearing waste products like lactic acid, allowing you to bounce back faster and tackle your next workout with renewed energy.

 Increased Endurance at Higher Intensities: As your fitness improves, you'll find that you're able to sustain higher intensities for longer periods of time. That threshold where your muscles used to scream for mercy? It'll start to feel more manageable as your aerobic capacity expands and your muscles become more efficient at utilizing oxygen. Whether it's maintaining a faster pace on the run or powering through a tough hill climb on the bike, improved endurance at higher intensities is a sure sign of progress.


Elevated Lactate Threshold and VO2 Max: For serious athletes, lactate threshold heart rate and VO2 max are key metrics of fitness. Your lactate threshold—the point at which lactate begins to accumulate in your blood faster than it can be cleared—will increase as your fitness improves. Similarly, your VO2 max—the maximum amount of oxygen your body can use during exercise—will also rise. These improvements indicate enhanced aerobic capacity and overall fitness levels.


In conclusion, if you're noticing these five signs in your training, congratulations! Your hard work and dedication are paying off, and you're well on your way to reaching your fitness goals. Keep pushing yourself, stay consistent with your training, track your workouts, and remember to celebrate every milestone along the way. Keep up the great work!


Have you thought about hiring a coach for your next race? Click the purple button below and fill out the short form for FREE 15 min call with me to chat about your race goals!

 Mary Timoney

Ironman University Certified Coach

USA Triathlon Certified Coach

USA Cycling Coach

ACSM Trainer


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