Starting from scratch in an elite fitness-blog-world full of expensive gear, and Personal Records she couldn't beat with a car.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

If I only had a heart (rate monitor)

As I mentioned last week I'll be champing at the bit for a good nine months for my Bia watch, but in the meantime I have to figure out how to make the best use out of the tech I already own. As much as I would love to pick up random new expensive stuff all the time, I'm living on a modest single income in one of the most expensive places to live in the country.  I also have to balance any new expenditures against feeding my shoe "problem".

Admittedly I don't see it as much of a problem, and my boyfriend definitely doesn't. Wait a minute, whose problem is this anyway? I demand a recount!
*ahem* Moving onward.

There is one bit of tech I feel it worth investing in now though because I really like not hurting myself; namely a heart rate monitor.
No, not this heart monitor.
(5 bazillion bonus points if you get the reference!)
The amount of focus that the running community puts on avoiding over-training has been a huge help for me as I have a rather bad habit of hurting myself right when I get in the stride of a new type of exercise. This is the main reason why I decided to start with the couch to 5K program (*coughs* this time). I have some oooold recurring injuries - mostly caused by mild scoliosis, but in addition I am at times overly flexible, and can get a bit overzealous with new things. The bulk of my research up to this point has been focused on ultra basic training info (stretching and nutrition mostly) and figuring out how to protect my joints. Getting the right shoes was huge!

I have built up a bit of muscle and my joints seem to be getting strong enough to hold themselves together, so I am reasonably sure I'm not going to hurt myself too badly just going out for the C25K runs. Now that I feel like I have a strong(ish) base I have begun branching out in my research and developing an interest in heart rate training. I love doing random research*, I'm fussy, I like objective measures, I like not running harder than I have to, and I like new toys. So yeah, pretty much ideal!

The main issue I've had is learning enough about the receiver technology to decide on what tech to pick up. I need something that will work with my current setup (an iPhone) without becoming obsolete once I got my Bia watch. The watch relies on ANT+ technology which appears to be pretty much par for the course. However to use the same heart rate monitor with my iPhone I would also need to have an ANT+ "key" (basically a small receiver thinger which plugs into the bottom of the phone) which will cost a bit extra.

The main companies that come up when you search for bundled monitor/strap/key kits are Wahoo which will set me back about $100, and Garmin which will set me back about $80 (these prices seem pretty consistent across the board, except on the Garmin site where it is unbundled and way more expensive???). The Wahoo key is the main source of the price difference and from what I can tell the main thing that differentiates them is app accessibility: Wahoo will update to a large number of established running apps (and thus sites) while Garmin will only work with the Garmin app.

I'm a bit annoyed at Garmin today because I've been pricing out the map updates for their car GPS units (sheer ridiculousness, by the way), and furthermore I detest having that kind of limitation to a product when there are so many great fitness sites out there, so I think that decided things for me quite nicely!

The Wahoo site also generously points out that I will need a new armband that will accommodate the key. I *was* already thinking about replacing my armband for something more reliably waterproof but man oh man does this stuff add up!

Do you use a heart rate monitor?
What do you like/dislike about it?
What made you decide on your particular model?

*Current reading: the New York Road Runners Club Complete Book of Running and Fitness which I got STUPID cheap used on Amazon

My run today: C25K week 6 day1
2.55 miles at 13:20 per mile

I'm pretty sure someone was trying to steam clean my entire neighborhood today. My legs felt fine but I just couldn't seem to catch my breath. Can't imagine why that might have been... in the 93% humidity.

I felt like I was going slower than usual and I couldn't kick up the speed as much as I would have liked at the end, but I guess I wasn't doing too bad since I actually covered more ground than ever before at a slightly faster pace.

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