I've never paid much attention to it, except maybe when I have my medicals. It's usually around 60 bpm. Is that good ? Is there any point in paying attention to it ?
A - Ok. I do have a point to share that may not be too commonly appreciated.
But first here are some points many readers probably already know:
1) With high enough intensity and duration of aerobic training that results in increases in Aerobic Capacity (VO2max), resting heart rate substantially drops in an untrained person (e.g.,from 70 to 50 is not uncommon) due to a greater amount of blood being pumped out with each beat by a stronger and enlarged heart;
2) Elite distance runners often have resting HRs in the mid-30s. But not all of them. I recall reading that the former great American runner and World record holder at the mile, Jim Ryan, had a resting heart rate in the low 50s.
You see, it depends on where you're starting from. Although the average resting heart rate in untrained adults is around 70ish, that’s an average, and some may be in the low 60s, while others are in the 80s. I suspect an untrained Jim Ryun might have had a resting heart rate in the 70s.
And I can tell you that one of my fellow university runners used to handily kick my ass, although I had a resting heart rate that was at least 10 beats lower than his....no bragging rights there....grrrr.
Anyway, here's a practical use of resting heart rate that folks may ignore:
Resting heart rate is a barometer of your current level of aerobic fitness. And so, if and when your training is being severely compromised either by injury, prolonged illness, or life circumstances, it can provide a very good indication to what degree your fitness is being compromised, and when it has returned to normal, once the previous level of training has been resumed.
Thus, an injured runner, who is able to cross train (e.g., pool running, biking, elliptical) can use resting HR to monitor the success of the cross training efforts.
So I recommend you determine what your resting heart rate by taking it at various times of day - you may find there's a range depending on your last previous bout of physical activity, state of mind, time of day, etc. But several monitorings will give you a potentially useful bead.