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Our Score: 3.5 out of 5
Review by Fiona Bugler
DETAILS & FEATURES
Polar’s Smart Coaching – records training and progress, plus a brand new Training Benefit feature provides users with instant feedback based on each session.
Cumulative Training Load – shows your recovery status and how hard you worked, allowing you to plan training to maximise fitness and endurance.
polarpersonaltrainer.com – an online training aid where you can analyse and share Training Benefit data with friends. Download endurance programmes to the watch using DataLink. And work out your cumulative training load and recovery time after every session with Training Load. Map View allows you to check out your route with training load colour-coding, through Google Earth. Finally, detailed graphs help you optimize your training and aid performance development.
ZoneOptimizer – adjusts your personal heart rate zones for every training session based on your current condition so you can take into account factors such as fatigue, recovery, hydration and general well-being. This allows you to train safely within the zones it sets for each day.
Fitness Test – measures your fitness level in five minutes, monitors your improving fitness levels.
Alternative packages summary: RCX3 Run includes s3+ stride sensor.
User Review by Fiona Bugler
This personal training computer looks fantastically compact and sleek. I tested the white women’s version, which looks stylish and has an unfeasibly thin wristband. The HR monitor was easy to put on and picks up instantly, it’s also very comfortable to wear and there was no rubbing.
Once you’ve switched on it’s easy to move between four different training view windows: laps; sport zones; calories; time and overall training time; zone pointer and overall time. A quick menu allows you to show zone limits, set training sounds and lock buttons. You can pause the workout by hitting the back button and resume with the go button! It’s simple. There’s also a lap button that you can use to break up your run for example, into warm up, middle section, cool down, handy for threshold runs to heart rate.
Once you’ve finished you can upload data onto your computer. If you’ve used Running Index you can get fantastic information about your running economy, as you can measure your heart and speed – the more efficient and economical you run, the faster you run at a lower heart rate. You don’t need to know the ins and outs as the feedback tells you if your economy is improving.
I’m instantly put off by the GPS coming as a separate unit. One, I’m not sure where to wear it to keep it secure and two, I don’t want extra stuff to worry about when I’m running. However, the G5 GPS unit (18g), (which has 20 hours of battery life) feels ultra light and once attached to my shorts, it stayed put, and wasn’t a problem at all. It can also be inserted to an arm-band, which I didn’t have to test. The GPS reception was excellent, like the heart-rate monitor, it picked up quickly.
The online training resource www.polarpersonaltrainer.com has loads of useful info. And if you like tables and science, there’s plenty on there to help you plot your training and progress.
I prefer to switch on and hit the road and am not keen on accessories. I found the set up a bit fussy, but that’s in comparison to the Garmin 210, which is literally switch on and go. However, it’s a minor complaint and once you’re on, you don’t have to think about it again.
Other accessories include the footpod that needs to be calibrated, and you can use this to test time over distance on the treadmill. With Triathletes in mind there are accessories available for cyclists to measure speed and detect the wheel spinning so it gets started, but we didn’t test the cycling aspect – and it’s waterproof to 30m so can be used in the pool.
This is a great gadget with loads of extras and is ideal for anyone wanting a bit more information and feedback from their running. It’s also perfect for triathletes.
See also: Polar RCX3 Preview - First Look
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