Speculate to innovate? Polar #V900, what will it be? My wish list.

I love the way the internet is great for people to throw out ideas and watch a seed germinate. So I’m going to try it with one of the most rumoured about products not on the market (and no whispered titbits about development either!) the Polar V900…
Continue reading “Speculate to innovate? Polar #V900, what will it be? My wish list.”

[CLEAROUT] Polar Heart Rate – #DealoftheCentury

At this stage everyone knows how good Polar Heart Rate Monitors are. Only last week I was comparing notes with a guy about the Polar RS300x which had a beast of a GPS pod you wear on your arm:

Polar G1 GPS – A beast of a pod!

Continue reading “[CLEAROUT] Polar Heart Rate – #DealoftheCentury”

Time for a GPS & HRM Update…

A while ago I was asked on the Q&A with #RSP – What #running watch to go for? and my answer, based on the functions and price at that time, was unequivocally the Polar M400

I’m revising this opinion as there has been a change in how Garmin products are being brought into Ireland.

Without having to go into the history too much, the distribution model as well as currency changes and the higher Irish VAT level meant that in most cases it was cheaper to buy your Garmin overseas (not the handiest in terms of warranty claims – there was a unique setup for Irish bought units that added value) but this has now changed.

Today, you will find that we have most of the current Garmin range at prices LOWER than the equivalent from UK online retailers.

Garmin FR 220 with HRM – UK website €299 Our Price €255.00

Garmin FR220 Violet

Garmin Fenix 3 with HRM – UK website €556 Our Price €509.00


Garmin Fenix 3 no HRM – UK website €515.00 Our Price €460.00


(Garmin 920XT is the same price as the Fenix 3 bundles)

In the context of the article I wrote following the #RSP Q&A the price gap between the Polar M400 and the Garmin FR220 is much narrower.

The decision based on the value of the watches is tougher to make as while the Polar has more functions in relation to the activity monitor and multiple sport profiles; Garmin does have the legacy effect of dependable GPS and recognition of being the ‘running watch’.

The playing field has changed slightly and we are delighted with the changes in the price structure.

One final thought is in relation to the upcoming FR225 with optical HR. The feedback I’m hearing is that the wrist detector is 5% less accurate than that of the FR220 with chest strap. I would be reluctant to recommend the 225 for this reason, at this moment, as, if you are training to HR you need accuracy and dependability of readings.

What do you think of the new prices?

Are you interested in going Polar?

How would you like to try out the Polar M400 before making a purchasing decision?

M400 Banner

This is the GPS watch that Sean confidently recommends as the Nr.1 running (& entry to multi-sport) watches available today:

“compare the functions, features and costs the Polar M400 is the watch that you will choose over any other brand on the market at the moment.”

We are the lucky enough to have managed to get our hands on a ‘Test unit’ of the Polar M400 for our customers.

If you are remotely interested or curious about trying a GPS watch, or would simply like to take one for a run please let us know and we will do our best to facilitate everyone.

We can loan the watch for up to 72 hours which should give you plenty of time to test it out on a run or two, or a cycle, or a gym workout….whatever takes your fancy!! 🙂

If you’re interested in trying out the watch everybody is talking about please send us an email through the Feedback form  to reserve your test unit and we can take things from there.

Exercise or Training ??

The first third of 2013 is over and I’m looking back at my training diary since the start of the year. Training Diary

While I haven’t been blogging about it I have been logging the sessions. The stand out question that I now have to ask myself is, have I been training? or just exercising?

The distinction has got to be made between exercising with a specific purpose in mind, ie. target races and a planned structured approach to getting fitter, faster and leaner and just exercising to get fitter and diet to get leaner.

I’ve been fairly consistent in knuckling down to doing sessions but with no big balance in the week or any structure.

I set out my stall in January with some Goals rather than Resolutions for 2013. Technically while I have entered x2 of the three middle distance races I targeted (Tri an Mhi and the Humbert Challenge) and plans are afoot for Amsterdam Marathon in October, I have missed my first stated goal of weight loss.

I’m not too upset by this, I’m still 5kg off the mark. I can become ultra serious about this and lose the weight or I can enjoy the odd beer and slice of cake.

Mrs AKW's chocolate biscuit cake

I like cake! 🙂


If you look at the calendar to date you can see the rather sporadic nature of the sessions. SOme weeks really good and others with nothing. Now, swim sessions are not included in this calendar as I use a Garmin Swim for recording those, however, swim sessions have been thin on the ground as I decided not to rejoin my gym. I was solidly doing Monday / Wednesday and Friday sessions just before I would go to work, right up until the pool was closed to members on account of a schools session. (It’s a membership gym which has hired out the pool, due to child protection they close the pool. Fair enough, but excuse enough for me to stop swimming!)


Good solid month to start the year, like most people, motivation is high and the promises to self are still clear.

  • 138k running (treadmill, trail & road)
  • 8k swimming
  • 301k bike (indoors & out). January was also the scene of the crime for my first foray into bike FTP testing.

Jan 2013


Again not too bad, no major rhyme or reason. Mostly trying to tick off the Polar endurance training sessions for the run. Supposed to be working towards the Rock and Road Kinvara Half Marathon in March but if I’m completely honest I was struggling with tiredness, uncertain of my running on account of the injury last autumn and really busy with work so there was no real focus.

Still tried to tick off  a tempo run and several steady runs through the week. Also long runs on Saturday as I ran in & out to meet our #Zero25k group session.

  • 140k running
  • 4k swimming
  • 204k bike

Feb 2013


Brilliant start as I ran a super PB in the Kinvara Half Marathon of 01:39:51!

I’ve no idea where this result came from and looking at the data it was perfectly paced and comfortable for me. Maybe all the marathon training last autumn is still standing for something!?

I did sit back a bit in the week month or so after the half (recovery!) but managed another bike FTP which had a small increase.

  • 104k run
  • 0k swim
  • 179k bike

March 2013


With race season imminent I finally gave myself a shake and started out the month the right way.

A week’s holiday in Lanzarote with the family. Lovely place to do some running, a bit of swimming and just to relax in a bit of sunshine and warmth.

I returned with a bit of vigour (blog post on my ‘Volcano Run’ to foll0w) and started hitting training targets properly. It helps that a pal and myself keep up the regular longer run on Saturday mornings too.

  • 158k run
  • 3k swim (Open water)
  • 284k bike

April 2013

First race coming up on 18th May, the goal is to keep ticking off the running sessions, continue with 2 turbo sessions per week (focusing on strength / power) x1 steady outdoor session on the bike and get into the sea for some open water swims. Brick sessions with decent effort on the bike followed by progression runs will also feature weekly.

So to answer my openign question, I think I’ve mostly been exercising this year, time to get training!

Roll on the second third of the year!

Progressive Polar


The beautiful new RC3 Watch with integrated GPS from Polar.

2013 #Zero25k Running Group 1 & 2

Last Saturday saw us heading out with two Groups in our #Zero25k programme. To keep things as simple as possible I’m lumping the reports & data from the #Zero25k Running Groups in together rather than one for each. 

Group 1 can keep an eye on what Group 2 are getting up to and vice versa. (Nothing like a bit of rivalry to keep everyone motivated!!)

All in all we have over 100 people registered to participate or follow in our programme, which is just mindblowing! The vast majority are turning up and attending but we do have quite a few people following online in their own time too.

Saturday was a cold and frosty morning (I don’t know about anyone else but I thought the view to the bay was majestic with the foggy / frosty layer hanging over the water) so there was no hanging around as Group 1 assembled ready for the off from +Amphibian King Galway at 8am. There was a little bit of confusion as some transfers were taking place between the groups, this is inevitable but should be all settled down this week now that we have commenced.

Leaving the shop, the plan called for a modest change in the intervals being run. The usual warm up and then an increase in the duration of the ‘work’ phases but overall reduction in the number of intervals. Overall it adds up to a little more time running and a little less time walking. 

This is how the #Zero25k Session 4 looks on PolarPersonalTrainer as a planned session:

Now the data from my recording is off as I was running up and down the group a bit but you can get a rough idea from the layout. During work phases your pace should go up and your heart rate along with it. Obviously in recovery both should come down.

Our goal is to get your heart rate in the Orange & Red zones and back to Green / Blue for recovery. Pace will follow over time as you get fitter you will find that you are running faster at the same level of effort (as guided by your heart rate).

You can check out the full data set through this link: #Zero25k Group 1 – Training File. 

Arriving back outside the +Amphibian King shop, I left Group 1 to do some stretches while getting Group 2 organised and briefed on what was about to happen.

While doing this I placed my Polar G5 GPS pod on the roof of the car so that I wouldn‘t lose signal whilst inside the shop. This is something I often advise people to do while waiting for their GPS device to pick up signal. 

Little did I realise, in a real +Mr. Bean moment, that while I was speaking to the group, owner of said car jumped in and drove off, with my G5 on their roof!! 

It’s gone now. As both +Peppa pig  and my 4 year old daughter would say – “Silly Daddy!!”

I’m going to have to revise my advice and qualify it by saying make sure its your own car 🙂 

Anyway Group 2 introduced and a quick grab of my trusty old Garmin FR305 (for mapping) and we were off out the Coast Road in #Oranmore.

The format was exactly the same as the first week of Group 1 with the same phases. You can find the previous post outlining the process along with a comment about converting the session to a treadmill:   Regaining Ground: 2013 #Zero25k Group 1 – Week 1

I don’t have the map data to hand, I’ll edit later and insert it for anyone who is interested in that sort of thing. My HR data is a lot clearer than that above and gives a better indication of what we are trying to achieve (although pace info is absent):

As always any questions, drop me an email or ideally a comment, and I will get back to you.

Happy running!

Training Diary – Week 2

Not a bad week of training, quite happy with the balance I got. Our little training schedule seems to be working and having a planned out routine definitely helps in hitting those sessions.

Monday  (7st Jan)

With Edel first to hit the pool with a morning session, we tag-teamed the kids, I drop our daughter to school and scoot onto the pool for my session and we then swap out at +Amphibian King Galway  again. For some reason I can’t find my +Garmin Swim record of the session, I’ll upload it later and add it in here.

  • Swim: 2km, 00:47:26


I have a run scheduled on Tuesday morning but with the return of my Power Pedals from Polar UK I was like a child at christmas and decided to re do the FTP test this evening instead. By skipping the tempo run, I was saving my legs for the test (or so I thought!)

Set the bike up, installed the pedals and created the FTP test protocol on my CS600x head unit ready for action. With the test predetermined all I had to do was follow the ‘beeps’ and push.

 The end result was a disappointing 185watts or 2.1watts per kg of bodyweight.I always knew I struggled with leg power and this was obvious by the way I slip backwards on hills when out with the club. Being pragmatic, its a measure of where I am and gives me impetus to form a structured bike training plan.

  • Bike 25.4k, 01:00:08, AHR 144bpm, MxHR 178bpm, ASpeed 25.3km/hr


Pool session again, this time with my Garmin Swim. I mentioned this brilliant training tool back in November when I was getting over my injury. I’m still getting used to it and while my swim sets are quite basic at the moment, I’m just focussing on essential fitness & finding some technique.

I’m doing this by swimming 100’s, working on bringing them in sub2:00 and off at 2:15 for now. Goal is to get these back down to 1:4x and off 1:55. A couple of 400’s help with the grooving of the rhythm over longer distances.

I also stuck in a quick 25 minute preprogrammed Treadmill workout back at home in the evening.

  •  Swim 2.1km, 00:49:40 ; APace
  • Treadmill 4.65km. 00:25:35, AHR 148bpm, MxHR 172bpm, APace 05:30min/km


Bit of a disaster week with my training gadgets. Plan was to drop little miss at school, go for a longer run from +Amphibian King Galway and head to the gym for a shower & change before work.

Forgot my G5 GPS pod so only had the RCX5 and HRM strap. Decided to use my trusty old Forerunner 305 to map my run. I havent used this in a while and it was last used by +Micheal Gaffey who definitely showed it what proper training is all about! Anyway, holding a charge, off I went, just as the day turned miserable & wet.

Details here:

Post run off to the gym for a quick swim to warm up, shower and back to work.

  • Run: 10.25km, 00:55:45, AHR 152bpm, MxHR 178bpm, APace 05.27/km
  • Swim: 0.6km


Morning swim followed by an evening turbo session. Turbo was nothing remarkable, just a chance to spin the legs up with a couple of 3 minute mini-intervals and 2 minute recovery.

  • Swim: 2.1km, 00:43.09, APace 01:58/100, SWOLF 40
  • Turbo: 11.6km, 00:23:50, AvgHR 134bom, MxHR166bpm, ASpeed 29.3km/hr


This is the first session of our new #Zero25k Running Group which I’m organising from +Amphibian King Galway every Saturday morning. Hopefully, the gang in +Amphibian King Bray & Ballymount will start something similar as the demand is huge for these programs.

After the session I went for my own interval run along the coast road. Yes the orange blobby shape puffing up and down the hills was me! I was actually quite happy achieving a 04:19 – 04:23 pace for the 5min intervals as I’m definitely feeling the lack of fitness.

  • #Zero25k Run: 3.05km, 00:26:35, AHR 122bpm, MxHr 158bpm, APace 08:41mins/km
  • Run: 10.19km, 00:52:13, AHR 152bpm, MxHR 176bpm, APace 05:07mins/km


Aim was to hook up with Seven Springs on the club spin. Gamely I cycled from home to Loughrea to join them knowing that a 90k route was in the plan.

Yet again the switching between the different training units caught me out. Whilst I had the G5 pod with me this time, I did not have GPS enabled on the CS600x so there was no mapping done 😦

The back door slamed firmly in my face as the group disappeared up Rye Hill led by the young guns in the club. Definitely more leg power work required!

  • Cysle: 87.5km, 03:23:07, AHR 144bpm, MxHR 172bpm, ASpeed 26.1km/hr

Week Totals

Swim: 7m
Bike: 124km
Run: 28km

Race Week -5.5 Catchup & Wrap

With my tail firmly between my legs after the disappointing performance last night it was time to have a look at things and address my training priorities.

I had been tinkering with my diet and training purposes. I was brought to ground very quickly last night on account of these factors and woke to the realisation this morning that I need to focus on the marathon first. I will explain what I’d been up to in another post.

For now, on with the week.


Was a nice easy run at easy effort (4:55 to 5:30km pace) for 45 minutes. Just about turning over the legs, the interval session had been tough so no need for speed today.

I felt good, the morning was beautiful, and ran out to get closer to an hour.

Friday: 10.71km, 53:14, AHR 144bpm, APace 04:57/km


I’ve no idea what synchronicity is going on with the kids, but same as last week, awake at 1, 3 & 6 with a young man who is not being his usual self at the moment. Struggled to get up but did  have a proper breakfast this morning, porridge. Gathered the gear, made up the High 5 4:1 and packed a couple of gels into the pouch to get on the road for 8:30.

While getting the GPS lock on, I decided a hat & gloves were appropriate & nipped back in for them.

45 mins @5:20/km, 50mins @5:00/km and 50mins @4:45/km. Route was planned based on the LPR route from last week with a few extra loops along the way.

I was very happy with the pacing. I was drinking and fueling steadily along the way and despite the brain trying to convince the legs that they were tired and wanting to stop early the angel (or demon) on my shoulder made me run loops near my house just to harden up the mental resolve.

It worked!!

Run done, recovery drink, shower, change, 2XU recovery leggings and into work for the rest of the day. (Busy day in the shop too, thank God!)

Saturday: 30.02km, 02:30:35, AHR 147bpm, APace 5:00/km

Saturday 23/09/12 – Training File


Travelling to Sligo after work yesterday meant disguising the car with Mayo flags going from Galway. It also meant a cracking mornings’ run along the coast line from Rosses Point into town and back out again.

Just a nice steady, enjoyable run. Plenty of people out and about too which is great to see.

Sunday: 12.40km, 01:04:11, AHR 138bpm, APace 05:10/km

If you’d told me 4 weeks ago that I would be considering running 100km per week in the build up to my marathon I would have said your head was cracked. Having done 95km last week and 101km this week I feel great. Its a huge milestone for a chap who hated running in school, it bored me to tears.

Now look at me. Loving it!! 😀

Weekly totals:
Duration: 08:25:26 (hh:mm:ss)
Distance: 101.45km
Calories: 8703kcal
Sessions: 6

Race Week -6 – Volume going up!

This is my first full week officially following a training program. I spent a little bit of time transferring the program into my Polar Personal Trainer so that the sessions could be uploaded to the RCX5 ready for me to hit the roads.

Despite a long training week last week, and a busy day on my feet I still felt ready for the sessions that this week was lining up for me.

Started out right. In from work, small bite to eat, kids to bed, changed and out the door for 8:30. Mistake I made was picking the wrong tool for the job. Normally I use my X-Trail headlamp but for some (still unknown reason) I grabbed my Silva Ninox as I went out the door.

Silva Ninox – 70lumen, not to be sniffed at.

I think what happened was in the planning I had picked a running route that would feature some hilly bits and I also knew it would be better lit than my normal route, having houses along the road, and that I could sacrifice the weight of the X-Trail battery pack for this session.


I’d no sooner started into the session and had reached the first of the houses than I realised that the amount of light ‘leaking’ from the houses, lit driveways, passing cars meant that I was effectively ‘blinded’ by the passing light. As I had previously used the Ninox in the woods where there was Zero environmental light (or light pollution as I now consider it ) the lamp was perfectly suited. Just not for damp busy roads, where you need to be able to see the surface properly.

Anyway, hit the session which called for a warmup and then x5 hill runs keeping steady pace and recovery back down again. The section I found near the house was reasonably rolling with a kick up of 6m over the last 500m.

I made a hash of the first phase, but got the repeats spot on, so each one started and finished in the same place each time. I put an extra dig into the last ‘work’ effort too.

Monday: 13.13km, 01:05:52, AHR 147bpm, MxHR 174bpm, APace 5:00/km

Monday 17/09/12 – Training File


Silva X-Trail your only man!

Still Tempo Tuesday.

I keep using the same stretch of the road as a feature of my tempo runs and I think it’s going to be the backbone of my winter FTP testing. Roughly 12k total for out and back and easily to add a bit on either end to make up distance.

Didn’t make any mistake this evening and made sure I had the Silva X-Trail with me. The lamp part is not heavy, its just the awkwardness of the battery pack on the waist strap that can annoy me when running with effort.

Plan was 10 mins warmup, 60 mins at 4:45 / km followed by 10 mins at 4:30 / km with 5 mins cooldown. no Zonal training going on hear anymore. Its all about time on feet at pace.

Seemed to pace it close getting an APace of 4:43 /km and 4:33/km for the two work phases again on a windy wet night.

Tuesday: 17.65km, 01:25:22, AHR 152bpm, MxHR 167bpm, APace 4:50/km

Tuesday 18/09/12 – Training File

Similar to last week I didn’t get to run Wednesday, had planned a 9k easy run. Absolutely no consideration of a double day on Thursday as it was going to be tough!


Its like Groundhog week here. Again a rubbish night of sleep meant I was getting up knackered, late but knackered.

I’d time for a quick pancake with peanut butter before dropping my daughter off at school. Can’t even remember if I’d a coffee, that’s how bad it was this morning.  Dropped her off, back home for a swift change and out the door for an interval session.

There’s my mistake, its an elementary mistake, but I made it none-the-less. No breakfast of any description before going to do a hard session. Didn’t even bring a gel or anything to drink!

15mins warmup and then x6 (work phases of 9mins at tempo pace with 2 mins recovery) followed by 1km at 3:45 and 5mins cool-down.

Thurday Torture – intervals with a struggle

As you can see I was aiming for 4:30 on the intervals but struggled in vain. The recovery just got slower and slower. Within 5k I was going home. I couldn’t loosen up (no stretching or Griding done this week) and had nothing in the tank to feel lively.

In the end I didn’t make much of the 3:45km or the 5mins cool-down and rambled home for a wee lie-down

Thursday: 17.51km, 01:26:10, AHR 153bpm, APace 4:55/km

Thursday 20th September – Training File

 I’m learning my lessons this week!! Hopefully there’ll be a better second half, starting tomorrow.