Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Polar RS800sd product review: update

Well, used my new running computer in a race for the first time this past weekend at the Rt 66 Sprint and Rt. 66 Oly (race reports coming soon). It didn't quite work out as picture-perfect as I thought it would. First, my old 625 would carry a HR signal while swimming. While I don't really monitor or care what my HR is during the swim, it is nice to download the data post-race and reflect back on how HR relates to pace and perceived effort. But really the bigger problem is that if you start the RS800 and it loses the signal, it doesn't automatically pick up the HR or footpod signal later on. So when you get out of the water, if you want it to pick up your HR, you have to stop the timer all the way back to the main screen and then restart everything. On the race Sat., I didn't have HR to watch on the bike. When I came into T2, I also found out that I had to do a stop-restart to also get it to find the footpod. This takes time and also creates gaps in your overall race time that you are trying to keep track of on your watch. I think there has to be a way around this, but I'll have to do some experimenting.

Second, I found that my calibration was reading a little short during the race. I was running a faster pace than my watch said I was. Although it's better than the 625 in having less fluctuation with changing speed, it seems as though I may need to take the time to calibrate it a little better during training to use on race day. I think this can be done quite easily though. I should be able to go run known 5K and 10K courses at race pace and determine the calibration factor for those. Then I can adjust the race day calibration number to whatever numbers I get from those and accuracy should improve.

It was nice to have cadence on the run portion of both races. Despite this, I still found it hard to lower my cadence and increase my stride length. My mind kept telling me to slow turnover a bit and get legs longer, buy my legs kept saying no, I don't want to. I kept wanting to run at a cadence of 92-94 with choppier steps. I think I just need to practice my speedwork more at a cadence of 90 to build that pattern into my neuro-muscular memory. More training sessions this year will improve that.

The good news is that I think these kinks are able to be fixed, I just have to figure out a good way to get around them. I'll probably post more updates on this later in the year as I use it more often.