Wednesday, March 3, 2010

I Did It, Heart Monitor Thingy Part II

I can't believe I did it.
After much hemming and hawing and clicking and deleting, I just decided to do it.
I'm hoping that I won't regret it.
I sort of do right now.
Okay, not really.
I might regret it later though.
We'll see.
So anyways, here's my two ride report on the Polar F7 heart monitor thingy.
I'm sure you are all waiting to see if my heart exploded or not.
Well, it didn't.
Let's see what this is all about.
First you have to strap on the heart thingy. It's basically a strap that goes around your chest that has a detector on it that well, detects the electrical impulses your heart sends out.
Then you strap on the watch. A nice friendly man appears as if to ask: "are you ready?"

Now I'll have you know, it's feels sort of strange sitting here on the couch with a support bra for my man boobs on, but I'm doing it in the name of science.
I mean it's not like I enjoy wearing the strap.
So anyways, that's my resting heart rate under the nice man.
Press the OK button and the computer begins to time your work out:

The only peeve I have about this is that there is no pause feature. When you hit stop, it stops and asks if you want to continue, but if you go out of range of the watch, it resets back to zero. This is okay if you wear it on your wrist, but the unit is mounted on my handlebar so it's a bit problematic. No real biggie though as you'll see later.
On the F7, you are able to set three zones. This also presents a problem is you are training with five zones. Not really a problem if you can read and just monitor your heart rate on your own:

When you target a zone an alarm goes off to let you know you are either above or below it. For instance in the image above, I have the computer set in the "hard" zone. If my heart rate dips below or above the zone, the monitor will beep to let me know. It will continue to beep until you are back in the zone or until you turn the alarm off.
In this case, a beep tells me I'm either going too slow or my heart is ready to explode. Or beat out of my chest.
Or something.
I don't really want to know, hence the alarm.
Then when it's all said and done, you can go back and brag about the great work out you had:

That's right dude! I just spent forty five minutes in the "hard" zone! How'd you do?
Oh, and about that pause thing, what happens is the computer just breaks your work out in two. So to get the data you have to look at your last two work outs and combine them. It will save 99 files of data.
There's a bunch of other data you can access like average heart rate and max rate and stuff. You can also change the data to read out in a percentage of your max. If you like, on the Polar website, they have videos you can watch to check out how the other models work.
The great thing about this for me is that you can see what your body is doing. I say see, because what you feel is not always what you are getting.
Day one effort does not feel the same as day two.
In other words, it was easier for me to hold my zone on day one as it was on day two. On day two, I had to work harder to stay in the zone.
What this probably means is that prior to the monitor, on the second day out, I was slacking a bit and not getting a full work out.
I haven't done the Hill of Death yet to get my max rate; I'll probably try it this weekend. I have peaked out at 163 BPM and I still had some juice left.
So far I'm liking it. It gives me a target to shoot for and hopefully it won't let me get lazy.
Next up, cadence.
I'm comfortable around 70-80 rpms, but I would like to see if I can get up to around 80-90.
The best thing about having goals is being able to say "I did it."
Now if I can just feel good about doing the other thing.
Then again, it's too late now.


John Romeo Alpha said...

Does the monitor actually go to a gagillion? Don't get me wrong it would be really bad if your heart actually exploded out of your chest leaving only a ragged-edged hole. But also kind of cool.

limom said...

Well, my heart almost kind of exploded once before and it wasn't very cool at all.
Having a heart rate that could go up to a GAGILLION would be cool though; just think of the kind of cadence you could get.
I'm too lazy to do the math, but you could spin out a 53-11 at like maybe 1500mph.
Imagine the look on the faces of all the tri guys as you blow past them!