Category Archives: Running

Review of Polar M400 Running Watch

I have had my Polar M400 Running Watch for a full month now. Prior to purchasing it, when I went running, I was actually wearing 3 devices on my arm: a Timex watch which worked with a chest strap heart rate monitor; another Timex watch which allowed for repeat intervals which I needed in order to use Jeff Galloway’s run-walk-run method; and a FitBit Charge HR. In addition to what I was wearing on my arm, I would sometimes carry my cellphone, on which I would run either the Nike+ app or the MapMyRun app. My Polar M400 replaces all 4 devices — and then does things that none of my devices could do.
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To state succinctly what I am going to say about the M400: I love it! What an awesome device! I bought it from Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/Polar-Sports-Watch-Heart-Monitor/dp/B00NPZ7WNU/) for less than $160 (without tax or shipping), and it came with a chest strap heart rate monitor. It was around $100 less than its competitors, such as a number of Garmin products, such as the Garmin Forerunner 220.

In addition to accurately reading my heart rate with the chest strap monitor — something I couldn’t trust the FitBit Charge HR to do from my wrist — it has a GPS built in, which seems to sample all of the data I am interested in every second (since I can download the data in a csv file and examine it at that level of detail). I had not really paid a lot of attention to either Nike+ or MapMyRun until the end of the run (I found it awkward to be pulling out my big Samsung Note during a run), while wearing a GPS on my wrist has enabled me to be interested in what it can tell me during the run. In addition to various distance measures, it can also tell you your current speed and your average speed for the lap you are on and over the course of the run so far.
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Nathan Trail Mix 4 Water Belt for Running

I am very happy with my new Nathan Trail Mix 4 Water Belt for Running! I needed a belt that would let me carry more than a half liter of water for the longer runs I had started doing this summer. Other systems I tried didn’t work because they bounced too much when the weight of the water got too high.
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Nathan’s solved that problem by designing their water belt with an elastic material that stretches to give a secure fit to the body, and by distributing the water to four, well-designed water bottles and their fitted holsters. The belt is adjustable, and I found that I had to adjust it tighter than I initially, because the elastic waist band stretched more than I thought it would.

A writer of one of the reviews I read suggested that it be worn up by one’s natural waist rather than closer to the hips. I generally think that idea is a good one, though I discovered that when I tried to wear it that high, it slipped downward a little bit from my waist over the course of a run. Nonetheless, it remained comfortable. If it didn’t remain comfortable, I could always tighten the belt a little tighter so it would be less likely to slip.

I tried wearing the belt with the buckle forward, which is what I would consider the normal way to wear such a device. I discovered that the front two water bottles are not spaced very far apart, and it felt uncomfortable the way the water bottles hit my body both above and below the belt. Fortunately, you don’t have to wear it the “normal” way. I tried it with the buckle at the back and the storage compartment in the front, which worked just fine. But in the end, I preferred to wear it side-ways, with the storage compartment on the side (my right side, since I’m right-handed).

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