Wrist based HR trackers - Your thoughts and advice.

<div>Just got into jogging and bought a Polar M430 tracker, it seems to follow HR - flat roads - steady, uphill - increases  - almost instantly.</div><div>Have Any of you based your training using these or do you use a chest strap, I know they are not too accurate, but seem to follow my HR and I know I can use the numbers and stats as only a guide, but starting off new to this I can use the GPS for av pace as a guide to my progress.</div><div>Would love to hear your thoughts and advice on these trackers useful or otherwise.</div><div>Thanks Paul.
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Comments

  • SHADESSHADES ✭✭✭✭
    Wrist sensors can give errors up to 40%, just not accurate enough for anyone doing HR training.   They are accurate when you're at rest.

    When I bought my last Garmin, from Garmin at an Expo, I said I trained using HR training and needed accurate stats so they gave me a chest strap FOC as they know that optical are not accurate, they didn't even try and tell me I could use optical.

    It's a bit like your GPS telling you how many calories you've burned up in a session, your watch has no idea of your BMR and just gives you an inflated figure to make the runner feel more virtuous.

    You just have to decide whether you want HR stats or not.  If not, turn off the optical HR, flawed stats are no good to anyone.   Distance and pace are far more important and your GPS watch will give you that.
  • Hi Shades, thanks very much for the advice, I've bought a Polar H10 chest strap and tried it for the first time today, done a 5 mile jog ( Time - 1:01:01) using my Polar M430 watch and the H10 chest strap and I must say, for me anyway, that the wrist based HR tracker was only a few beats behind the H 10. I checked the same circuit ( using the default Max HR of 165 for my age (55) - 165) i done a week ago and the average HR was 6 beats higher (136 - 142), the Max HR was 4 beats higher(152 - 156) and the Min HR was 4 beats higher (80 - 84) but my time on the latest jog was 7 Mins quicker which may reflect on the different HR.

    Will do more only a steady recovery walk for me tomorrow and can check the chest strap against the optical tracker, I know its only one session and there are alot of different factors in play, but for me anyway, pretty close, just got to have a look at a Max HR test in a few weeks or so when I'm a bit fitter and can then re - evaluate my HR zones.

    Many Thanks Shades - Regards. Paul.
  • SHADESSHADES ✭✭✭✭
    That's great news that you've got the chest strap now.  Most discrepancies I believe are that the wrist HRM shows too high readings and also as it doesn't take constant data readings, but intermittent readings, it's slow to respond to actual changes.    Being 7 minutes faster on the same circuit you would expect significantly higher HR readings but not so.  I take that to mean that the chest HRM is giving you lower readings which is good.   If I were you I'd switch off the optical wrist sensor, it's not meaningful data and wastes the battery

    Right now for the bad news, I would suggest you do your MHR test ASAP, when you are fresh, say after a rest day.   It's actually much easier to do an MHR test the less fit you are as the HR rises quickly.   The fitter you are the harder it is to get the HR to the top.    If you don't throw up or need oxygen at the peak then add on an extra 5bpm, it's not easy doing a test.

    If you have any health issues that makes you concerned about doing an MHR test then you could always train to say Maffetone's HR formula, you can Google that.   Basically your training HR is 180 less your age. 

     https://philmaffetone.com/180-formula/

    But whichever training method you use just keep the 80/20 rule, 80% of your mileage at easy/long run pace/HR, only 20% of anything faster.

    You're doing really well.
  • <div>Hi Shades, thank you,</div><div>I was holding off doing the MHR test due to my lack of fitness but will give it a go I think, yes been out for my recovery walk today, 6.5 mile in 1:40 mins and checked with my last walk and the Wrist based HR tracker is certainly more accurate than I thought with only a couple of percent difference over min, max and avg HR compared with the H10.</div><div>
    </div><div>Yes I've turned the HR tracker on the watch off as can tell when I put the watch in pre training mode to search for GPS a little Bluetooth icon is within the little heart icon so all good.</div><div>
    </div><div>Will try a MHR later but the maffetone method looks a lot easier hi hi.</div><div>
    </div><div>Thanks again for your advice, will keep at it for now and evaluate in a few months, still losing weight but the loss has slowed now but very happy with my progress coming up to nearly 4 stone weight loss now and the jogging is getting better, my pace is gradually increasing but taking it slowly as all new to this.</div><div>
    </div><div>Thanks Paul.
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  • <div>Hi Shades, just done a max HR test, warmed up, done 4 Hill rpts and max was 162 so I've added 5 on to 167 and updated the watch with Max HR so for my age the old formula was abt right, must say though I don't think I will be doing many of them.</div><div>Thanks Paul.
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  • SHADESSHADES ✭✭✭✭
    Paul - well done.  Good news is you don't need to do another one.

    It's not pleasant is it.
  • <div>Hi Shades,</div><div>I know, hill was around 300m, with the last 20m up a steep  gradient, warmed up first and max HR was on the last climb, tried to go as fast as I could and was really on my knees so called it a day at that, glad Its not a regular thing though.</div><div>
    </div><div>Had a look at the Maffetone site and got a free e book to look through, but it looks like easing off a little on my jogs according to the HR I've read until the fitness improves.</div><div>
    </div><div>Many thanks again for your advice and help Shades,</div><div>Regards. Paul.
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  • SHADESSHADES ✭✭✭✭
    The Maffetone is something you might want to do in the future, it's quite an interesting read though.

  • <blockquote class="Quote">
    <div class="QuoteAuthor"><a href="/profile/SHADES">SHADES</a> said:</div>
    <div class="QuoteText">The Maffetone is something you might want to do in the future, it's quite an interesting read though.</div><div class="QuoteText">
    </div><div class="QuoteText">Hi Shades, tried my first Maffetone jog this morning, managed a 6 1/2 mile route in 1:33 mins and avg HR was 77% so I think I will substitute my walk days to Zone 3 jogs at this lower intensity and try to increase mileage a little as my previous miles were around 5 a session and will increase to around 6, does this sound OK Shades.</div><div class="QuoteText">Thanks Paul.
    </div><div class="QuoteText">
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  • SHADESSHADES ✭✭✭✭
    Yes, that sounds fine.   Weather conditions makes heart rate training much harder, so you should see some more improvement when the heat and humidity ease.   As long as you feel OK and are enjoying your training.

    Why does your 'quote' post have all that unnecessary stuff, I've seen it on other threads too from some posters.
  • <div>Not sure what those extra bits of text are though, I just used the quote at the bottom of the comments box.</div><div>
    </div><div>Yes felt fine ,no aches or pains at all and the intensity was a lot easier than I've been doing so will try this routine for a few weeks and see how it goes, just need to map some longer routes now with slight additions to my existing routes.</div><div>
    </div><div>I think its going to take a week or two to get used to my zonelock pace though as the uphills are just slightly above my walking pace so need to change my long term pace to match my HR.</div><div>
    </div><div>Thanks again Shades for your help and advice - really appreciate it.</div><div>
    </div><div>Thanks Paul.
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  • SHADESSHADES ✭✭✭✭
    I guess it must be your phone, I've seen that on other threads.

    You're very welcome, enjoy your running.
  • <div><blockquote class="Quote">
    <div class="QuoteAuthor"><a href="/profile/SHADES" title="Link: /profile/SHADES">SHADES</a> said:</div>
    <div class="QuoteText">I guess it must be your phone, I've seen that on other threads.

    You're very welcome, enjoy your running.</div>
    </blockquote>
    Hi Shades
    Been doing low HR Jogs for a few days, trying to get the best from it, I wonder the Maffetone formula brings my HR to 125 which, for me is  the middle zone 3 so I do a zonelock to stay 70 to 80% Max HR, been upping the mileage to between 7 and 8 miles nice and slow completing in around 1:40 mins, wonder if I should also do alternate days in zonelock zone 2 , but would be mainly walking at this HR level and keep 1 day for mainly zone 4 jogs between 4 1/2 and 5 1/2 miles in length.</div><div>
    </div><div>wonder if you could advise on zone 2 walks to be totally in the aerobic zone I think, cause zone 3 seems a little high for the aerobic zone, your thoughts please and Thanks.</div><div>Paul
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  • SHADESSHADES ✭✭✭✭
    If your MAF figure is 125 then your training range is actually 115 to 125.   I don't use zones at all, I do most of my training at 70-75% MHR and a work session would be 76-80%MHR.

    Ideally you would be doing most of your training at no higher than 75%MHR.   If you feel that what you're doing is too much at too high a HR then ease up.   Don't exhaust yourself.

    So yes you can set yourself zones that are within your chosen HR range.  Remember the formula/calculations from your watch were not written by a running coach.
  • > @SHADES said:
    > If your MAF figure is 125 then your training range is actually 115 to 125.   I don't use zones at all, I do most of my training at 70-75% MHR and a work session would be 76-80%MHR.
    >
    > Ideally you would be doing most of your training at no higher than 75%MHR.   If you feel that what you're doing is too much at too high a HR then ease up.   Don't exhaust yourself.
    >
    > So yes you can set yourself zones that are within your chosen HR range.  Remember the formula/calculations from your watch were not written by a running coach.

    Ok Shades,
    Thanks very much for the advice, Ive adjusted my watch for 115 - 125 BPM into Zone 3 so I can zonelock to zone 3 now, but I think at my level of conditioning now the pace should be alot easier, hopefully in time I can benefit from Aerobic training but still think at this HR zone 3 I will be able to ease off a little, its not been too bad though.

    So in Zone 2 will I be burning more fat calories than Carbs but at a lower total calorie expenditure - I think Ive read it right, so Zone 2 will still be Aerobic together with Zone 3 being Aerobic but when training in a higher Zone I will burn more total calories than exercising in a lower Zone.
    Hope Ive got that correct Shades. Thanks very much and regards.
    Paul.
  • SHADESSHADES ✭✭✭✭
    Paul - glad you've sorted your zones.

    Right now I'm going to confuse you a bit more.

    You burn the same amount of calories per mile whether you run fast or you walk that mile.  When you run fast your body's preferred energy source is glycogen. When you run more slowly your body uses a mixture of fat and glycogen, this is good as we have plenty of fat to use as fuel but glycogen is a limited supply, hence why a marathon runner hits the wall when h runs out of glycogen. The better aerobically trained you are the more efficient your body becomes at using fat as fuel so you can run further, for longer and with less tiredness.

    However, a common misconception is that when you burn fat this is using excess body fat you might be trying to lose.   Wrong, the fat used as fuel is not body fat.  So when you see "fat burning" it has absolutely nothing to do with losing weight.   Even a 9 stone man had enough fat to run 100's of miles.

    So it's calories in versus calories out that will define your weight loss and speed will make no difference over the same distance.  So if you are counting calories it's roughly the same number of calories as your weight in kg.  E.g. 100 calories per mile if you weigh 100 kg.

    No exercise specifically burns body fat.  It's just carefully worded blurb used to mislead people.


  • <blockquote class="Quote">
    <div class="QuoteAuthor"><a href="/profile/SHADES">SHADES</a> said:</div>
    <div class="QuoteText">Paul - glad you've sorted your zones.

    Right now I'm going to confuse you a bit more.

    You burn the same amount of calories per mile whether you run fast or you walk that mile.  When you run fast your body's preferred energy source is glycogen. When you run more slowly your body uses a mixture of fat and glycogen, this is good as we have plenty of fat to use as fuel but glycogen is a limited supply, hence why a marathon runner hits the wall when h runs out of glycogen. The better aerobically trained you are the more efficient your body becomes at using fat as fuel so you can run further, for longer and with less tiredness.

    However, a common misconception is that when you burn fat this is using excess body fat you might be trying to lose.   Wrong, the fat used as fuel is not body fat.  So when you see "fat burning" it has absolutely nothing to do with losing weight.   Even a 9 stone man had enough fat to run 100's of miles.

    So it's calories in versus calories out that will define your weight loss and speed will make no difference over the same distance.  So if you are counting calories it's roughly the same number of calories as your weight in kg.  E.g. 100 calories per mile if you weigh 100 kg.

    No exercise specifically burns body fat.  It's just carefully worded blurb used to mislead people.


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    </blockquote><div>
    Thanks very much Shades, its a science in its own right I think, I will keep up the Zone 3 work and add in days of zone 2 and 1 day in Zone 4 a week if that sounds OK, now I have the 115-125 zone set I can monitor it, I know the % calories burnt as fat is an estimation but I think the Polar M430 software is geared to more aerobic work as I have found my Polar running index has gone from good to very good over the last few days I know this means nothing but just an observation.</div><div>Many thanks again Shades for your help and advice - take care and Regards.</div><div>Paul.
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  • bigballer69bigballer69 ✭✭✭
    I have tested a cheap fitness tracker(<£20) against my Garmin chest strap plus taking a manual reading and they where all within 5 beats of each other, probably less than 5% difference. You could try taking you pulse yourself at different times during a run and see how out the watch is.
  • SHADESSHADES ✭✭✭✭
    5%  or 5bpm is too high a difference for anyone doing serious HR training.    Stopping during a run to take manual pulse would not be helpful at all.     Maybe in a few years the wrist HRM's will be more accurate.

    Paul has now bought a chest strap anyway.
  • Hi BigBaller, Thanks very much for your comments, yes I found the difference between the Polar M430 and the H10 chest strap quite close, but being new to jogging, I wanted to make sure that my HR was checked properly - so I ordered the Polar H10,using it, I turn off wrist based HR before I go out for a jog.

    Thanks Shades, Shades has helped me with a few questions and pointers, now I feel much better when out jogging, knowing that I can safely monitor my HR.
    I'm currently trying the Maff Formula with mainly Zone 2/3 jogs, but in zone 2 at my current condition, my pace is not quite jogging but slightly faster than my walking, so a little aukward, but I think as my conditioning improves, this will turn to Jogging - so doing one day zone 2 another day zone 3 ( where my Maff formula resides) and alternating these for six days and one day at zone 4 and creeping into zone 5, done my zone 4 today and spent quite a few minutes in Zone 5 but felt good with no aches or pains, so I think I will continue this for a few months and see how its going after this period.

    Weight loss has now slowed down, but only 3 pounds off 4 stone lost, I feel really good and am really enjoying going out for my Jogs, and hoping my conditioning will improve over time and will stick with the 80/20 for now.

    Thanks very much Guys for your comments and advice, really appreciate this.

    Thanks Paul.
  • SHADESSHADES ✭✭✭✭
    Paul -That's a remarkable weight loss, you should be very proud of your hard work.  
  • <div>Hi Shades, Yes, Thank you, I've gradually worked my exercise up from 3 mile walks to then 5/6 mile walks and now to 4/5 mile jogs, but lately with the Maff formula I've been out today and covered 9 mile in 2:15:00 (zone 3) so its going well, felt good but will try a zone 2 workout tomorrow for recovery and hopefully in time I can jog more when my conditioning improves and am able to jog at a higher pace with a lower HR.</div><div>Thanks again Shades Regards.</div><div>Paul.
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  • SHADESSHADES ✭✭✭✭
    9 miles is great, I'll have you signed up for a marathon soon  ;)
  • <div>You'll be bloody lucky !!!,</div><div>Thanks Shades, I've tried zone 2 and according to my watch I burn more fat calories in zone 2 like today done 7 miles in zone 2, but the other day in Zone 3 I burnt less fat calories, what's the best advice Shades, is it better to stay in zone 2 which I think is totally aerobic or base my 80/20 training with more Zone 3 jogs, burning I think less fat calories  but not quite as 'aerobic' as Zone 3, but that's my Maff zone, so would it be better to stay in the higher part of Zone 2 and burn more fat calories or stay in Zone 3 for my 80% exercises.</div><div>Thanks again Shades, Regards</div><div>
    </div><div>Paul.
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  • SHADESSHADES ✭✭✭✭
    Yes stay in zone 2, aerobic is always best to improve your fitness.

    Ignore when it says 'fat calories' that is just marketing garbage.  When you burn less glycogen and a higher % of fat as fuel that's good because glycogen stores are limited, fat stores aren't.  Therefore if you stick in the aerobic zone you can run for a longer time.  But the fat used had absolutely nothing to do with losing weight.  Your body just burns calories wherever they come from it does not choose where those calories came from.
    You have enough fat fuel in your body to run around the world.

    Your watch doesn't even know how many calories you burn when you run, it's just a formula the marketing guys put in to make you feel better.   And their estimate is always grossly exaggerated.  So never use that figure to assess your calorie needs for the day.
  • Hi Shades,
    Yes thanks again mate, Yes I know its only blurb but was using it just as a guide and reference.  Yes cause at this lower intensity I've upped the mileage to compensate, my 7 mile took me 2 hours this morning but my body's not conditioned enough yet so the uphills are mainly fast walking, but I'm used to that, so will concentrate on Zone 2 and have 1 Zone 4/5 a week to start, then if I feel I'm starting to plateau, I'll add 1 more  Zone 4 in.
    Thanks very much again Shades its a pleasure mate.
    Paul.
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