Polar RC3 GPS Watch Review

August 11, 2013

The following post is sponsored by Fitfluential LLC on behalf of Polar.

Runners really only need one item to participate in their sport – shoes of course. As we all know, want and need are two very different things. Once you get into some long distance running, you tend to want to be able to track how far you are running, along with the pace, and better yet, your heart rate.

Enter the Polar RC3 GPS and Heart Rate Monitor.

Polar RC3 Review.jpg

I’ve used a few GPS running watches over the years, and I have to admit, I’ve never strayed away from my beloved Garmin. I’ve had 3 other Garmin GPS watches, and I was pretty critical when first receiving the Polar RC3. Well, nice job Polar – the watch is pretty wonderful.  From a purely aesthetic standpoint, it may not be the cutest or brightest watch out there (although there is a bright red version), but it is functional. There are two points that secure the band from flopping around when you wear it. It is also extremely light weight. Given the capabilities it has, the weight is pretty shocking. It isn’t bulky and doesn’t get in the way if you wear it for something other than running. This is the only GPS watch that I will wear just hanging out. I don’t feel like I need to take it off right after running.

Battery Life

For me, a HUGE plus to this watch is the amazing battery life! I have had problems in the past where I get out for my run, and I see the awful low battery notification flashing – aka, the worst omen for a run. Check out the battery operating time below.

Polar Battery Operating Time

Yep, you see that right -1700 hours of continuous use with the GPS function off, 12 hours of continuous use with GPS on, and 4 months if the time view is what you use a lot. This is definitely the most efficient watch I have used so far in regard to the battery, hands down.

When you do need to plug it in, you are forced to use the USB provided. This can be convenient for some, but not for others. When I travel, there are plenty of times where I don’t feel like bringing my computer with me. Quick weekend and overnight trips just don’t require a computer for me. I have an old Droid phone charger that I can plug a USB cable into, and then plug into the wall. It is a pretty easy way to get around the USB cable only charging method, but still isn’t ideal.

Multiple Screens

When out for a run, not everyone wants to see they same data when they look down at their watch. The RC3 has 10 different screens to relay the information to you, depending on what you are looking for. While the 10 screens are pretty great, a negative to this feature is the screens can not be customized. If you want one piece of data from one screen that isn’t on any others, paired with a piece of data of your choice, you are out of luck. You will have to toggle between the two screens. Given that there are 10 separate screens, you are pretty likely to find what you are looking for. I have had just a couple of times where I would have liked to be able to customize the space.

GPS

I will say I have had no issues with the GPS – at all. It registers quickly (in less than a minute) and I have yet to lose signal. Now,  I haven’t used it on any crazy cloudy days yet, but regardless, it has been working great. It is nice and accurate, and the travelled distance is very easy to read. I haven’t done any biking with the watch yet (only running) so I really can’t speak for the cycling component of the GPS (or the settings). The GPS can easily be turned off to conserve battery if you are using the watch for cross training or solely for the heart rate monitor.

Heart Rate Monitor

Now, this is Polar’s claim to fame. They are known for the capabilities they have with monitoring heart rate while exercising. Heart rate training really deserves an entire post (coming soon!), but if you are looking for a little more information, check out this article. It goes more in-depth and can help you to understand a bit more on the benefits and possible drawbacks of training with a heart rate monitor.

Polar RC3

On some of the screens, your heart rate is constantly measured and showed for you to easily view. At any point, you can access your heart rate and make sure you are on track. After you have finished your exercise, you can access many different summary screens, including your sport zones. This is where your heart rate is shown in the time that you were in the zone. I know there is so much more to this watch that I haven’t even discovered yet, and I am very excited to explore it a little more!

If you are looking for a new GPS heart rate monitor watch, check out the Polar RC3. With the code fitfluential, you will receive 25% off MSRP on the Polar website. This code is good through August 31, 2013, so hop to it!

 

Running in the News

August 7, 2013

I’ve seen some interesting stories in the past week in the news, and want to share and discuss them with all of you. Please leave your thoughts in the comments :)

Boston Marathon adding 9,000 spots

I am sure a lot of you have seen this going around on Facebook and Twitter the past couple of days. The Boston Marathon is adding 9,000 spots to the field. Usually the race has 27,000 participants, so by adding 9,000 runners, you would assume this would make the new field 36,000, right? Wrong. They actually haven’t determined the overall size of the field yet. They are still having to check with the different towns and cities it runs through to make this final decision.

With over 5,600 runners with guaranteed entry due to being unable to finish last year, do you think they want to make sure more people are able to run the iconic race, especially since it will be the year following the bombing? Or do you think it is a way to help combat the faster finishing times, so more runners feel that they have a chance to get in? I feel like its a little bit of both. All I know is the Boston Marathon is the most amazing experience to have the chance to participate in. Perhaps this will give more runners the chance at making the turn onto Boylston and crossing the finish line a lot of runners only dream of!

Boston Finish Line

Hitting the Wall

My friend Ryan shared this with me yesterday, and I definitely feel it is worth chatting about. A new biosensor has been developed, about the size and feel of a temporary tattoo, that can actually alert athletes when they are about to hit the wall. The sensor monitors lactate, which is a form of lactic acid released in sweat.

I am very split on this new sensor. Do I really want my mind to know before my body that my race is about to take a turn for the worst? Once you are about to hit the wall, there is really now turning back. You can’t just starting fueling right that second and get all of your energy back. Could you possibly alleviate some of all that wall hitting? I would presume so. But not competely. You can’t take back the first half of the race where your pace was too fast, and you are paying for it now.

Don’t get me wrong, this is a pretty amazing new scientific finding. There is just something to be said about training and racing smart. I am at the point where I have finally figured out how to run a marathon without bonking at the end. It all has to do with starting out slower than race pace, and slowly negative splitting the race. It’s not because I have a tattoo on my arm telling me what is happening. I fuel right, listen to my body, and have the experience of running enough marathons to be able to tell the difference. You may think the complete opposite though, so let me know! I may be looking at this completely from one side, so please enlighten me with your thoughts too!

Share your thoughts with us below!

Back To School Sprint Workout

August 5, 2013

Without all of the running that I am used to, the bootcamps I have been teaching have been one of the great forms of exercises. An aspect of the sessions I have been loving is a heart rate elevating exercise followed by one to bring the heart rate down a bit. I do this in the form of a sprint, followed by a body weight strength exercise. Check out the workout below, just in time for back to school!

Back to School Sprint Workout

Complete the workout for at least three sets. Add an extra set or two to really give you that extra edge!

Do you like straight cardio, or do you like to break up the workout with some strength too?

Thoughts When Not Running Much

July 31, 2013

1. Who else is ready for summer to be over?! It’s always fun in May when we get to celebrate Memorial Day, grill out, and enjoy the company of friends. Once the 4th of July comes and goes, all I can seem to think about is fall. For us Floridians, this really doesn’t happen until October (ish), but it does happen! Heat and humidity, please be on your way out soon!

2. Another thing about fall – premiere week. Yes, I’m talking tv here. I can’t wait for my favorites to come back, especially Modern Family, New Girl, and the Mindy Project. Come on September!!

new-girl-17697-400x250

3. How is today the last day of July?! This year is absolutely flying! I won’t even touch on my goals I set at the beginning of the year. My lack of completion is a bit sad.

4. We are thinking about traveling over Thanksgiving to visit my sister in law this year. Unless its driving to the east coast, I have never flown during this holiday. We are thinking about actually flying out on Thanksgiving Day. Anyone ever done this? Pros/Cons?

Thanksgiving Joey

5. My hip has started to feel a bit better! I had 20 pain free minutes of running yesterday! Wahooo!!!

6. This is what happens when running is cut down significantly. I share all of my randomness with you, instead of thinking about it when I am running.

You Are Welcome! Happy Wednesday Everyone :)

 

My Favorite Spectating Race Distances

July 29, 2013

Congrats to everyone who raced this weekend! I saw a lot of triathlon finishes, ranging from sprints all the way up to the full 140.6! So many inspiring athletes out there!

Since I am not doing anything on the racing side lately, I thought it would be fun to chat about the most fun race distances to spectate! It is always fun to be the participant, but without the spectators, I feel that most races would go a bit differently.

The BIG marathons

So, I have to come clean – I’ve never actually spectated a big marathon, I’ve only run in the them. However, I know how much my husband and sister enjoy watching them, so I am just going to go ahead and speak on their behalf. There are tens of thousands of people actually running the race. Not only do you have the participants to pump you up, but there are also the other spectators all around you. When I ran the New York Marathon, I remember coming off of a bridge into Manhattan. The bridge was extremely quite, but once we turned the corner, it was as if I ran into a wall of people. The cheers were deafening – this was the part I remember the most about the race.

NYC Marathon

The little marathons

Don’t think that you need to have 40,000+ people to have fun spectating a marathon. The smaller races can be just as fun. Since there are less people all together, it is significantly easier to get around, especially if you are familiar with the city and have a car to use. There are not usually as many road closures or direct ways police are flowing the traffic. You also don’t have to worry about not getting a good spot in the front, and missing your runner.

Kentucky Derby Marathon

Triathlons

I love spectating triathlons! There is so much going on and so much to see. The swim, bike, and run all provide interests for different people, and then the transitions between are really fun to see as well. With triathlons, there are usually a number of wave starts so the swim is nice and safe, and the transitions are also split up a bit. With so many starts, there are athletes finishing constantly, so there is always something to see. I wasn’t very specific on the race distance for the triathlon, as I have only spectated sprint triathlons. My friend Meghann is going to be completing her first 140.6 in November, and my friend Steph will be crossing the line of a 70.3 as well, so I am really hoping to get to those two races. I feel that they are going to have inspiration hiding behind every corner.

Top Gun Triathlon XP MultiSport

 

Half Marathons

Now, I can’t not show love to the half marathon. Other than the 5k (by default really), I have run more half marathons than any other distance. It is just fat enough where the spectator can get to 2-3 spots to see the runner, but not as long as the marathon. I remember thinking to myself the first time I spectated a race over an hour, “This is going to take forever”. Oh, how wrong I was! It is crazy how quickly the time really does fly by. By the time you get to your spot, look for your runner, and then head to your next area, time flashes by in no time!

Gasparilla Challenge

What are your favorite races (and race distances) to spectate?