Dave Hepp | Jan 27, 2017

Oura for Endurance Athletes – A Q&A with CSO Hannu Kinnunen

The Oura Ring is a tool for ensuring optimal health and wellness. So it’s no surprise that we get a lot of endurance athletes who are eager to use the ring to help maintain the balance between their training and recovery. How can Oura help this growing group of ring users? We’ve asked Hannu Kinnunen, Oura’s Chief Science Officer, to answer a few common questions submitted by athletes, so they can better understand the ring’s benefits for endurance training.

The activity goals seem low for athletes

The Oura Activity target should be considered the lower limit for your combined physical activity and training when your Readiness score is 85% or higher. So only your training background and fitness level determine the intensity and volume in these cases.

However, if your Readiness score is 70% or lower, you should keep your workload low and avoid any high-intensity training.  These would be great days to pursue active recovery strategies such as a long walk or any other protocol which would speed up your recovery.

For days when your Readiness score is 70-85%, you should undertake moderate exercise which can include some short high-intensity sessions.

Which Oura data is most meaningful for an endurance athlete?

The Readiness Score is the most meaningful number to monitor as it is determined by several key factors which determine your recovery status, namely your previous night’s sleep, sleep debt, resting heart rate (RHR), and body temperature deviations.  This score will provide the athlete with the proper guidance in regard to daily training loads, and help the athlete to avoid high-intensity training sessions when their body is not adequately recovered and to ensure the athlete maximize training adaptations and reduce the incidence of injuries. Finally, the Oura Ring can help gauge how well your body is adapting to your training load by monitoring your lowest RHR.

How does my activity level figure into the equation?

Your body’s response provides a better indicator of your recovery status than your stimulus from training. For this reason, the two-week activity balance and prior day’s activity level play a small role in the calculation of your Readiness Score.  The other contributors to recovery mentioned above play a much bigger role in your preparedness to perform.

What is the role of body temperature?

Skin temperature rises during the night and eventually approaches the prevailing core body temperature level. The ring automatically picks the temperature peaks during the night, thus providing valuable data of how high your temperature has risen compared to previous nights. An increase in body temperature helps you consider reasons for the higher value.  A higher temperature coupled with an increase in RHR which cannot be explained by alcohol consumption or a strenuous late day training session is a good indication that you may be sick and should rest. An elevated temperature may also point to an upregulation of your immune system due to an infection.

An upcoming app release will include a 15 and 60-day temperature view.  This will help users view trends which indicate the onset of illness or infection.

The temperature graph will also provide a window into a women’s monthly biorhythm. Some recent scientific findings found that women experienced the most optimal training benefits when they adjusted their training according to their menstrual phase – increased training load during the first half of the cycle, and reduced intensity and volume during the second half.

Oura will continue to enhance the data and Activity goals required by athletes to ensure they are getting the most out of their training load and are recovering fully.




Wikström-Frisén, Lisbeth; doctoral dissertation

Oura and Calorie Burn


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