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Heart Rate Monitor For Ironman Training

By ActionGeek. Posted in Action/Geek | 1 Comment »

The more I’ve been looking at effective training for triathlons, and specifically iron distance, the more I’ve learned that using a heart rate monitor (HRM) is generally considered the best way to train.  The 30 week training schedules from Be Iron Fit which I’m planning on using as the basis for my training are totally reliant on using an HRM so I’ve been looking at the various models on the market this week, and it’s not an easy choice…

HRMs seem to come in all shapes and sizes, with a wide range of features, from very basic models to units with more processing power than the average netbook!  While most of them have the basic features like wireless chest straps, training zones, zone alarms and workout memories, some of the more expensive models have so much more – GPS with map and waypoint features, foot pods, bike speed/cadence sensors, usb or wireless connections allowing upload of training workouts to a PC or online training apps and more.

I’ve been reading reviews, comparing specs, and asking questions on Twitter and seem to have narrowed the choice down to a few options from 3 of the top brands – Polar, Garmin and Timex.

Polar have been making heart rate monitors for years, in fact I remember seeing adverts for them in the cycling magazines when I was a kid.  They offer a huge range for all budgets, but the RS300X has caught my eye as a mid-priced unit with basic but sold features and good reviews.

Garmin, being a GPS manufacturer, have GPS functionality in most of their HRMs but that comes at a price of bulk, weight and short battery life.  The Forerunner 205 looks very good (if a little bulky) but it only has a 10 hour battery life, which is too short for the Ironman (well, certainly for my first attempt at the distance anyway!)  I have found an interesting blog post about building an external PSU for the ForeRunner 205 for use on the bike.  That would certainly solve the problem, making the unit a very viable option.

The third option I’m looking at are the Timex Ironman range, which are offcially “Ironman” branded.  Apparently Timex have been making Ironman watches since 1986 so they should know what they’re doing by now.  Again they have quite a range from simple watches to fully loaded kits with all the bells and whistles.  The Timex Ironman Race Trainer Kit looks like the best solution from this brand, which is a fully featured HRM with digital 2.4 transmission to prevent cross-talk, wireless computer transfer and access to online training software.  The biggest advantage is that the Timex HRMs look like regular watches so could be used day to way – while the Polar and Garmin options are too big and bulky to be worn as a watch for day to day use.

So – if you have used any of the above models, or have any other suggestions I’d love to hear from you.  I’m after a decent HRM at a reasonable price, comfortable and easy to use, GPS would be nice but not essential as would the ability to upload workout data.  If you have any insights or suggestions then please leave a comment or Tweet me and I’ll continue reading reviews and hope to make a decision over the next couple of weeks…

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One Response to “Heart Rate Monitor For Ironman Training”

  1. 1
    Ed Says:

    Both the Polar F6 and Garmin FR60 are worth a look. Both packed with features, and at a reasonable price.


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