Posts Tagged by endurance training

Polar RC3 GPS Sports Watch Product Review: Get ALL the Data!

Disclosure: The following post is sponsored by FitFluential LLC on behalf of Polar.

Lately I’ve been curious about my heart rate and if I’ve been exercising at peak efficiency.  You always hear that you should be able to carry on a conversation while running to know you’re within your target heart rate.  Well I can very rarely carry on a conversation while running, so I had the feeling that I have been pushing it too hard…looks like I was right.

Polar-HRM-Watch

I was recently given the opportunity through FitFluential to try out the new Polar RC3 GPS Sports Watch with Heart Rate Monitoring and I jumped at that chance. I’ve actually been looking at Polar heart rate monitors lately and had been considering getting one not only to track my heart rate, but to track my calorie burn at CrossFit, so this was a great opportunity.

Here are some of the features of the watch from Polar’s website:

  • Tracks your route, speed and distance using built-in GPS
  • Shows GPS based altitude during and after training
  • Training Benefit gives you instant feedback after your session
  • Running Index scores your performance
  • Improves performance with endurance training programs, downloadable for free from polarpersonaltrainer.com
  • Compatible with Polar running and cycling sensors
  • Rechargeable battery, 12h in continuous use with GPS on

That’s a lot for a sports watch!  I was really impressed by the 12 hours of continuous use and my first thought was “Why didn’t I have this for the WDW Marathon when my Garmin battery died after 6 hours?!?”  But there are much more impressive features of this device that you’re probably interested in.

The first thing I did when I received the watch was set up my profile.  Age, height, weight, etc…  This is used to properly calculate your calorie burn and determine what your average and maximum heart rate should be.  This was super easy and only took a few minutes.  I wanted to have a full charge on the watch before using it for the first time, so I plugged it into my computer (it comes with a micro USB cable) and let it charge overnight.  The next day I strapped on the watch and the heart rate monitor and went out for a run.

Let's Go!

Let’s Go!

Two immediate observations.  1.  The watch is large.  I mean, I guess it needs to be for all the stats it shows, but it just felt a little bulky on my tiny wrists.  However, I do have abnormally small wrists.  2. The heart rate monitor is very comfortable.  The strap is soft and flexible and the monitor itself is very small.  I hardly noticed it was there.

There are eight different views you can choose from while using the watch.  They vary between focusing on time, heart rate, distance, elevation or a combination of all of those things.  Since I run walk, I like to have the time front and center so I can keep track of my intervals, so I chose the option that showed time, distance and heart rate (I think it was 4).  It was very interesting to see how my heart rate varied with each interval or with a difficult stretch of road.  Look at all these stats I got:

Polar-Stats

Get ALL the Data!

Clearly, my suspicion was right that my heart race is too high when I’m running.  My average rate was 174, which is at 93%.  Ideally you want to be at 50-85% during exercise.  This is definitely something I’m going to need to work on going forward.

I’ve also tried out the RC3 during a few different CrossFit WODs as well.  It really came in handy for the WODs that included running so I could keep track of my pace.  I always tend to go out way too strong in those WODs and the tank is completely drained by the end. The watch allowed me to keep more of a steady pace to stay strong through the whole workout.  The one gripe I have with it for CrossFit goes back to it’s large size as it tends to get in the way during some of the barbell movements.

CrossFit Calorie Burn

CrossFit Calorie Burn

So far, I have really enjoyed all of the features of this sports watch.  The GPS and heart rate monitor seem to be very accurate and it’s easy to use.  There are still a few features like the fitness test and the training plans that I haven’t checked out yet, but I plan on diving into them in the next few months.  Well that’s if B doesn’t steal it first…he’s had his eye on it!

Good news for YOU…the folks over at Polar are offering all RAD Readers a 25% discount on the RC3 GPS!  If you’d like to buy this great GPS Sports Watch, simply click ::here:: and use code: “fitfluential” during checkout to receive the discount! This is valid only on the RC3 GPS and will expire on this Saturday, August 31st…so get on it!

Do you have a heart rate monitor?  Do you use a GPS Sports Watch?  What is your average heart rate during exercise?

Dumbo Double Dare Challenge Training Plan

OK that’s it…I’m putting it out there.  I’ve finally put together a training plan for the Dumbo Double Dare Challenge that is fast approaching.  How did this event get to be only 3 months away?!?  I need to hold myself accountable and here’s how I’m going to do it!

DDD In Training_2

I use a the run/walk method when running my races and it has proven to be very successful so far.  Depending on the weather and how I’m feeling, I try to keep either a 3/1 or 2/1 minute run/walk ratio.  I’ve found that I’ve actually been able to increase my speed with shorter run intervals because I can run faster in that time.

Me & Jeff Galloway

Me & Jeff Galloway

Jeff Galloway is the official run/walk guru and he is also the training consultant for runDisney.  Though years of experience, Jeff has shown that this method greatly reduces the risk of injury to the body by allowing recovery time during your runs.  I can definitely attest to that!  Since I started using a steady run/walk pace instead of running until fatigued, I haven’t had a major injury (knock on wood!).  When I first started running, it seemed like I was getting injured all the time but that is now few and far between…well, if you don’t count my ongoing battle with shin splints.

So when I started thinking about a training plan for the Dumbo Double Dare Challenge (10K & Half Marathon over 2 days), I obviously consulted one of Jeff’s plan.  If you are training for a runDisney race, make sure to visit their training page where Jeff has devised numerous plans for each race weekend!  You can download the training plans and also import them directly to your calender…pretty cool!

Since I want to incorporate CrossFit into my training, I made my own spreadsheet to fit that in 3 days a week along with a few other events I have coming up.  So here is what my final plan looks like:

DDD Training PlanI actually think it’s pretty manageable!  The hardest days are going to be Tuesdays and Thursdays when I double up a morning run and CrossFit in the evening.  My plan is to do a strict run on Tuesdays and do hill sprints on Thursdays so I can break up the monotony.  Call me crazy, but I surprisingly really enjoy hill sprints!

Overall, I think the key to this is going to be getting a good amount of rest (minimum 7 hours sleep per night) and trying to improve the fuel I put in my body.  Recovery is just as important in training, so I really need to focus on that.  I’m so ready to get that killer PR for the Disneyland Half Marathon!!

So what do you think?  Do you have a plan for the Dumbo Double Dare Challenge or any of the other runDisney races?

Disclaimer: This plan was created for myself and I am not a running or fitness expert.

From the Bathroom to Kona

If you’ve been reading RAD for a while, you will know that I have Ulcerative Colitis.  It is something I used to be embarrassed to talk about, but since I’ve started running and competing in endurance events that is no longer the case.  As I’ve become more vocal about suffering from this disease, more and more people have seemed to come out of the woodwork who struggle with the same issues and I know there is nothing to be embarrassed about.

A few years ago my doctor told me that I should not compete in any long distance running events, but clearly I have proven them wrong.  Sometimes it’s hard…VERY hard to find the energy to train or even get through a short 2 mile run because of my UC, but I just take it one day at a time.

I wanted to share this video with you that I found recently by Grant Henry.  Grant shares his story, From the Bathroom to Kona, as part of the Kona Inspired contest.  Here competitors share what drives them to that starting line and why they are competing in the 2013 Ironman World Championship in Kona, HI.  Winners will receive entry into the 2013 Ironman World Championship, along with many other VIP perks.  Here’s Grant’s story…

From the Bathroom to Kona

Grant is raising money for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA) and Team Challenge, an organization very dear to my heart.  Last year around this time I was also raising money for CCFA as I was getting ready to run the Virginia Wine Country Half Marathon with Team Challenge, proving that UC can’t hold me back!

Medal & Wine Glass copy

So vote for Grant.  Let’s help him get to Kona a show that UC, Crohn’s and IBD aren’t death sentences, we can do anything!

My Experience Running with Team Challenge

This weekend I ran the Virginia Wine Country Half Marathon (recap coming soon!) with the Fairfield/Westchester chapter of  Team Challenge and it was a truly inspirational and life changing experience.  If you don’t know what Team Challenge is, you should!  It is the endurance training and fundraising program for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America, which is dedicated to finding a cure to these horrible diseases that affect over 1.4 million Americans.  The program provides fundraising support, weekly training sessions with experienced running coaches, a cheering squad on the race course, and everything you could possibly need leading up to and at the race you are signed up for.  The support is unparalleled!

Awesome FairWest Support Team!
Coaches Janis & Dasiy
Endurance Manager Dan

I’ve been suffering with ulcerative colitis (UC) for almost 10 years now and until recently have remained relatively silent about it.  Yes, my family and close friends knew that I suffered, but openly talking about my bowels was not something I was all too comfortable with.  That was until I joined Team Challenge.  It was like everyone started coming out of the woodwork with stories of how either Crohn’s or colitis has affected their lives in some way.  People who I have know for years revealed that they themselves were suffering from this…why have we never talked about this before?!

But it was mainly my Endurance Manager Dan who helped me break out of my UC shell.  He also suffers with UC and tells everyone about it!  As he says, it’s the second thing he tells people he first meets after his name.  I realized that it’s healthy to talk about and and that I’m not alone in this battle.  It’s nice to find someone who can relate to what I’m going through.  Don’t get me wrong, my family is incredibly supportive, but they don’t know what a flare is like and how sick you feel because there aren’t many visual symptoms.  Dan is also an inspiration to those of us trying to stay active and healthy with UC.  Not only has he run numerous half marathons with Team Challenge before becoming an Endurance Manager, he takes part in other grueling competitions like Tough Mudder.  Crazy!  So big thanks to Dan for your support and endless cheering throughout the race this past weekend.

Pure Awesome

Besides the support from Dan and my coaches, it was great to have such a wonderful team to race with.  The night before the race we all sat around and said why we were doing this.  Many people have no ties to Crohn’s and Colitis, but needed a way to get healthy.  I can think of no better way to start.  In the process of changing their lives for the better, they are helping to find a cure.

Check out this great video on what it’s like to run for Team Challenge:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wagn-IxAlD8&w=560&h=315]

Doesn’t that look like fun?!  So why not attend an information session?  This summer local chapters will be hosting informational sessions about the program and how you can sign up to run the Las Vegas Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon.  Vegas baby!

Together our chapter raised over $74,000 for CCFA and $1.6 million was raised overall for this race alone.  A lot can be done with that!  I’m going to keep running for Team Challenge and sporting my blue and orange.  I believe that one day there will be a cure and I’m proud to be part of making that happen.  I hope to see you at a race one day so we can “run our assses off” together!  Get it 😉

Sporting my TC Gear!