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Thursday, August 27, 2009

How Far am I Running?

Many years ago I wore old shorts and shirts and cheap running shoes to the gym to get my exercise in. How times have changed for me. The first thing to change was to get a watch, more specifically a Polar Heart Rate Monitor. My HRM, heart rate monitor, is no longer made but it does its job.

Recently I’ve been wondering how far I am actually running on Saturday mornings. I can go out in the car and get a good idea. Or, I can use one of the many on-line tools to map the run (Map My Runs is my favorite). Neither is wonderful, especially for someone who likes having gadgets.

I did some research at Heart Rate Monitors USA (a much easier site to navigate as opposed to Polar USA). There are a lot of options for all types of exercise (running, cycling, basic fitness, outdoor sports, and cardio rehab) and 14 different manufacturers. I’ve had good luck with Polar so for the purpose of a wish list I stuck with it. My HRM is equivalent to the RS100, but what more would I want?

-Heart rate
-Flexible timing features
-Tracking training sessions
-Synchronization with the Polar software
-Altitude sensor
-Recovery time
-Distance measurement

There are more options than I can list here. I would definitely want to know how far I’m going and my heart rate. Would you go with the RS200 SD HRM and foot pod (to measure speed, distance, and pace)? Or would you upgrade to the RS300X-G1 HRM with a GPS running computer? The GPS HRM costs ~$80 more so it depends on who is footing the bill. Since I’ll be paying, I’d go with the RS200 SD because it will do what I need right now. My last HRM has been going strong for about 10 years so I can only hope to expect the same from a new one. I now have one more thing to add to my wish list.

Addition 9/2: A friend who runs a whole lot more than me recommended I look at Garmin Forerunner. He says "They are awesome. They have GPS monitoring and also have many functions that standard monitors lack." He has the Garmin Forefunner 205, which is in the same line as the Garmin Forerunner 305.

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