Monday Jul 03, 2006

Heart Rate Monitors and Marathon Training

With only 16 more weeks remaining for my marathon training, I'm planning to buy a heart rate monitor (HRM) to assist me. Read here to see why heart monitoring is beneficial along with an explanation of different features of a HRM. Here is a comparison of features for the options that I'm considering:

Feature Timex 5C411 
Ironman Triathlon
Polar S120 Polar F6 Polar F11 Nike Triax C6 Description
Heart Rate Display Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes  
Zones 5 3 3 3 4 Preset desired heart rate exercise zone.
Out-of-zone Alarm ? Yes Yes Yes Yes Alarm notification when you are not in zone.
Time in Target Zone Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Amount of time spent within selected heart rate target zone.
Average Heart Rate Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Average heart rate over a period of time.
High Heart Rate No Yes No Yes Yes Maximum heart rate achieved during a session.
Recovery Heart Rate Timer Yes Yes No No ? Measure your heart rate after a timed recovery.
Calories Burned No Yes Yes Yes Yes Total calories burnt per session.
Lap Timer Yes Yes No No Yes  
Laps 30 60 - - 100 Number of laps that can be recorded.
Clock Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes  
Stop watch Yes Yes Yes Yes ?  
Countdown Timer Yes Yes No No ?  
Date Yes Yes No Yes Yes  
Water Resistance 50m 50m 30m 30m 50m  
             
Heart Rate Memory Recall ? Yes Yes Yes Yes  
Coded Signal Yes? No Yes Yes Yes Minimizes interference with other HRM.
PC Compatible Yes Yes Yes Yes No  
User Replaceable Battery Yes No No Yes Yes  
Opinions 1 1, 2, 3 1, 2 1 1  
Price amazon.com ($69.99, original $90.00) amazon.com ($79.95, original $99.95) amazon.com ($99.95, original $109.99) amazon.com ($149.95, original $159.95)    

A detailed set of comments from the users of HRM is available here.  Here is an extensive review of Polar AXN series. REI allows to generate a comparative chart of different HRM here. Overall, I've heard mostly positive comments about Polar. Timex and Nike seems to have a few problems as can be found from the opinions row in the table above. The opinions row in the table above helped me decide on Polar F11. I finally bought it yesterday from Sports Authority (fka Sports Mart). Got a $25 discount for any purchase over $100 and then there is an additional mail- in rebate of $10 so it will turn out to be $125.64, that's pretty much the cheapest I could find anywhere on the web or in retail stores.

I used it for a 9 mile run this morning and found it useful. The out-of-zone alarms are just great and a continuous feedback about the heart rate really kept me within my target zone. I plan to use it more-and-more during my training sessions and report on it's usage in subsequent entries, so far it's a pleasant experience but I've hardly used it!

A random set of  helpful reviews is given below:

 

Technorati: Running Fitness Training Heart Rate Monitor Polar Timex Nike
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Arun Gupta is a technology enthusiast, a passionate runner, author, and a community guy who works for Oracle Corp.


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