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3 Sessions to Improve your FTP

My friend, James Walsgrove, over at Ride Harder has come up with some great sessions for cyclists aiming to improve their FTP. At the end of the article you’ll find a LINK to James so you can get hold of the training files ready to load straight into Zwift orTraining Peaks.

This article is courtesy of Ride Harder

Ride Harder - elite cyclist training

The Sessions

These 3 bike sessions will help to increase your threshold and ultimately make you faster on your bike. There’s a description of what each session is and what system they will develop. If you’ve got any questions just Contact James or Message him on Facebook

Ride Harder – W1 2 x 20 Sweet Spot Efforts

The bread and butter session for FTP development a solid 2 × 20 session. Sweet Spot is a term used for the zone just below your threshold @ 88-93% of FTP. This zone has been proven to given you the same gains as training at threshold but with less fatigue meaning you can train for longer periods and recover faster so make sure you include this in any structured training plan.

The warm up is for 10 minutes and will see you build up the intensity to the desired power target which you will complete twice with a 5 minute recovery period. If you are new to training you can reduce this length and build up to the full 20 minutes. Generally aim for around the quarter of the time as the active rest period.

Session Summary

  • 5mins Warm up
  • 5mins Building intensity
  • 2 x 20min at 90% of FTP with 5 minutes recovery between
  • 5mins Cool down

20 x Sweet spot efforts to improve FTP

Ride Harder – W2 Threshold Over/Under’s

The ‘Over Under’s session involves riding above your FTP and dipping just below in the same block often multiple times. It is about getting used to the buildup of lactate and teaching your body to deal with it. This is one of the fastest ways to increase your threshold power however it is very demanding on the body so the number of sessions that you can complete will be limited.

Warm up for a good 10 minutes with some intensity prior to the intervals.

You will then complete 3 blocks with a variety of durations at the under figure of 95% riding anything from 2-4 minutes before stepping it up to 105% for the 1 minute over and repeating. This is a great session for anybody racing up to an hour on the bike and will really simulate a race as the terrain goes up and down. The beauty of this session is you will be shocking the muscles so they don’t know what’s coming next.

Session Summary

  • 5mins Warm up
  • 4mins Building intensity to close to threshold
  • 2mins Easy
  • 3mins @ 95%, 1min @ 105% x3
  • 5mins Recovery
  • 2mins @ 95%, 1min @ 105% x4
  • 5mins Recovery
  • 4mins @ 95%, 1min @ 105% x2
  • 5mins Cool down

FTP threhold over / under training

Ride Harder W3 VO2 Pyramid

There are 2 ways to increase your threshold generally either riding at that intensity and pushing it up or training above it at your VO2 max, which is basically your fitness ceiling, and pulling it up.  This is also a great session for anybody racing a shorter 10 mile Time Trial where you will need to target this intensity.

A good warm up will be required for this session due to the high intensity so I have included some high cadence efforts just to get the blood in the muscles and a short tempo block before the intervals.

The intervals will range from 105-120% of FTP and for between 2-5 minutes so basically the shorter the interval the tougher the intensity with plenty of recovery!

Session Summary

  • 5mins Warm up
  • 2 x 1min High Cadence efforts, 1 min recovery between
  • 3mins @ 80% FTP (tempo)
  • 5mins @ 105%, 5mins easy recovery
  • 4mins @ 110%, 4mins easy recovery
  • 3mins @ 115%, 4mins easy recovery
  • 2mins @ 120%, 3mins easy recovery
  • 3mins @ 115%, 4mins easy recovery
  • 4mins @ 110%, 5mins easy recovery
  • 5mins @ 105%, 5mins easy recovery
  • 2mins Cool down

VO2 pyramid for improved FTP

Summary

These three session are a great start to adding some structure to your workout plan. It doesn’t matter if you’re already on a structured plan, only ride outside or are exclusive to Zwift during the winter it’s always a good idea to have some solid workouts in your arsenal.

As always if you’ve got any questions – please ask JAMES at Ride Harder

 

Posted in Training Advice | Tagged ,

4 Tips To Using Caffeine to Help Increase Your Focus

Caffeine is one of the most common stimulants which are found in most beverages that we take, most especially tea and coffee. Caffeine has been found to significantly improve one’s focus as it targets the part of the brain which makes the brain more active and alert.

There are many factors today which can affect one’s focus, and, that is why it is very important to set your mind straight especially when doing a task which is mentally demanding.

Taking caffeine helps the brain become alert and draws one’s attention to what needs to be done thus making one more productive than they would have been if they did not get caffeine.

These are some of the tips which you need to have as you look to use caffeine to increase your focus on your daily tasks.

1. Drink coffee or tea

Coffee is one of the most popular beverages and its ingredient contains caffeine which acts as a natural brain stimulant. It is recommended that one grab a cup or two of coffee in the morning.

This helps set the tone for the brain by increasing the physical arousal which in turn increases the mental focus.

There are people who cannot get anything done without their cup of coffee as they are lacking the caffeine kick that the body needs.

2. Brewed Tea

Another way you can use caffeine to help increase your focus is to consume it in brewed tea where it is found in plenty. The level of caffeine in tea will mostly depend on the tea brand that one is consuming.

The amount also depends on how long or how fast you brew the tea. Check the video below to find out some facts about brewing tea.

There are some tea brands which contain 47 milligrams of caffeine especially black tea. In green tea, you can get at least 25 milligrams of caffeine while in instant black tea you can get at least 26 milligrams of caffeine and all this is in an 8-ounce cup.

3. Grab a caffeinated soft Drink

Soft drink and diet soft contained a significant amount of caffeine which can boost your brain focus. Majority of soft drinks available in the market contains 25 to 70 milligrams of caffeine.

The recommended caffeine which one should consume in a given day should not exceed 71 milligrams for a 12 ounces drink. This is because too much caffeine can lead to addiction.

There is a wide range of caffeinated soft drink that one can choose from to get their daily dosage of caffeine, especially when looking to get something important done.

4. Chocolate bars.

Many people do not know this but chocolate contains high levels of caffeine. This is because chocolate bars are made from cocoa beans.

Eating a couple of chocolate bars can give your body the caffeine boost that your body needs to increase the focus. You can take this body boost advantage to perform some amazing fast exercises.

For instance, a chocolate bar weighing about 160 gram can provide the body with at least 70 milligrams of caffeine which in turn can enhance short-term memory and increase the overall mental alertness.

To learn more on how caffeine can be used to increase your focus you can read Neurohacks review here to gain a better understanding.

Posted in News |

5 Benefits of Adding Turmeric to Your Diet

Turmeric, a spice whose originality is in India, is a commonly used spice, especially in curry recipes. The many benefits it contains is enough reason for you to add at least one spoon of turmeric in your diet every day.

Curcumin and volatile oils are major components in turmeric responsible for the multiple health benefits we get from turmeric.

Below are some of the reasons why turmeric should not miss in your kitchen;

Combats some cancers

Turmeric and turmeric powder on wooden background

Turmeric is said to combat some cancers, with curcumin as the responsible component for fighting mainly digestive and skin cancers. Several studies have been done to prove the cancer-healing properties of turmeric.

The spice has cancer-prevention properties and as well, the ability to fight active tumors while stopping cancer from reaching the full-blown stage.

Here’s a short video about why turmeric makes a powerful fighting drink against cancer:

The cancer-fighting properties that turmeric contains also help to smoothen chemotherapy for cancer patients.

Promotes heart health

One of the other important reasons you should add turmeric to your diet is that it is a good heart health promoter.

By acting as a messenger, the curcumin component in the spice helps to increase the production of LDL receptors by stimulating genes in the liver. As a result, this helps to lower levels of the total cholesterol levels as well as LDL, which is the bad cholesterol, in your blood.

Oxidized LDL cholesterol can be fatal because it narrows and hardens arteries. Incorporating turmeric in your diet helps prevent oxidation of this cholesterol.

You also might want to find out what are the heart health myths to eliminate some hoax and determine some facts.

Improves memory

If you have a problem with your memory or if you suffer a short attention span then you should consider adding turmeric to your diet.

As different results from studies in Asia show, a group of people who consumed curries more performed better in cognitive tests than those who did not. This was seen as an indication of attention span improvement and memory boost abilities of turmeric.

To back up these findings, more studies have been recently carried out and with the results achieved, it is also believed that the spice can help prevent Alzheimer’s and other brain-related diseases.

Reduces inflammation

The curcumin in turmeric as pointed earlier contains multiple health benefits, which include reducing inflammation. It also reduces pain caused by arthritis and other joint and muscle pain while preventing inflammation.

Turmeric also has a reputation for suppressing toothaches and healing wounds as well as bruises. Other properties turmeric holds are the antifungal and antioxidant properties.

Adds flavor to food

In addition to all the benefits turmeric has to your body, it is also a good way to spice up your dishes. While eating healthy foods is the way to go, there is no harm in adding turmeric to them.

In fact, it will make food taste a little bit better. Apart from curries, there are so many options you can add your turmeric too, including milk, mustard, and sauce.

You can read this review on Joint Health Guide to get more information on turmeric benefits and how it works.

Posted in News |

5 Tips To Getting In Shape In 2018 [EFFECTIVE TIPS!]

Your body contributes greatly to your personal perception and self-esteem.

It’s easy to give up on your body and let the guard down on how you take care of it which will result in a bad physique and possible health problems.

As such, you need to make the decision to get in shape this year 2018.

Here are 5 tips to help you:

1. Commit To Daily Exercising

It’s easy to be overambitious about exercising.

Most people start off psyched up but end up quitting a week into their exercise schedule.

A good rule of thumb when exercising is to make exercise a daily habit that you can commit to.

You can start off by exercising just a half an hour per day. Once you’ve made this into a daily habit, you can scale up bit by bit.

Related: Abdominal Training Tips

Bear in mind that this is a habit you want to drill in and your body will, by all means, try to resist it. Try as much as you can to implement your exercise plan to the letter.

2. Eat Healthily

Eating healthy is key to getting in shape in 2018. Food is the lifeline of your body and what you take in determines how your body turns out to be.

Every meal you take in should have some nutritional value in it. A well-balanced diet made of vegetables, fruits, complex proteins, carbohydrates, and healthy fats will come in handy.

Avoid junk food. It will keep you out of shape.

Vegetables and fruits are the key ingredients to getting in shape.

Go for lean meats like chicken and shrimp which are rich in protein which keeps your muscles fit.

Ensure that you portion out your meals to enhance good metabolism in your body.

3. Get A Personal Trainer

Getting in shape isn’t an easy task. It requires a lot to be done.

Walking this journey alone can be somewhat intimidating especially in the moments when you feel like giving up or holding back.

This is where a personal trainer comes in.

A personal trainer will be able to schedule workouts for you and follow you up to make sure that you actually do them.

The trainer will be able to prepare meal plans and advise you on how well to portion your meals and how to organize your diet.

With a personal trainer, you’ll work your way to getting in shape in 2018. Consider getting one today.

4.  Set Actual Goals

It is one thing to commit to exercising daily but it’s also another thing to set actual goals and decide on what you want to achieve for your body in order to get in shape.

Goals can be different.

You may want to build more muscle mass, shed off some weight, become more athletic, the list goes on and on.

Identifying what you actually want to achieve for your body and working towards it will be a roadmap to you getting in shape in 2018.

5. Bank On Research

Information is essential to help you get in shape.

Understanding why your body is out of shape and getting some helpful tips on what you can do to bring it back in shape is a good anchor point to guide you.

Things as knowing your heart rate zones will go a long way.

There are blogs with some good information that you can use to get in shape such as this post by Health Sumo.

Posted in News |

Abdominal Training Tips

A good friend of mine, Bob Wood from Physical Solutions, recently produced a 14 minute video on Evidence Based Abdominal Training. I like Bob’s ideas so much I want to share them with my CardioCritic followers. Bob is a believer in HARD FACTS. He’s the least likely person I know to follow a fitness fad or training trend just because everyone else is. Bob wants facts, research documents, more facts and concise conclusions with evidence based support.

In this video Bob presents a complete abdominal workout based upon the 3 body positions of maximum abdominal muscular load. These ab workouts are practical, evidence based, and effective. They can be performed anywhere, no special equipment required. So whether you’re at home, on the road, or in the gym, you can now give your abdominal muscles a serious workout. This series of exercisers can be applied from both a performance and rehab perspective.

Watch the Video – Abdominal Training

Core Training for Cyclists / Runners / Beach Posing

The point Bob makes in his video is that Core Training is CORE TRAINING – whatever the long term purpose and obective. It doesn’t really matter whether you’re a runner or a cyclist or just want to look good on the beach. It’s all just simple TRUNK STRENGTH training. The video starts by defining the 3 exercises that are most demanding to the abdominal core. These 3 styles of exercise are :

  • Push Up
  • Plank
  • Side Plank

Pyramid Technique

Throughout the video Bob refers to a training technique known as Pyramid Technique. This involves a set of exercises, 3 or 4 maybe. In the first set each exercise in conducted 10 times. For the second set each exercise is peformed just 9 times …. this continues down to the final set with just 2 repetitions per set.

First Pyramid for Abdominal Training

  1. Bob starts with a BASIC PLANK with single hand wall touch 10 times.
  2. Then a SIDE PLANK with 10 x hip drops
  3. This is followed by a LOOK BACK Situp, not a traditional situp, but a very discrete movement, raising just a few inches from the floor 10 times. It’s low of movement but high on effort
  4. Now the other side for the SIDE PLANK x 10 reps.

At the end of this first Pyramid it’s straight in to the second Pyramid – same as before, but just 9 repetitions per exercise

Second Pyramid – 9 reps

  1. BASIC PLANK with single hand wall touch 9 times.
  2. SIDE PLANK (left) with 9 x hip drops.
  3. LOOK BACK Situp x 9.
  4. SIDE PLANK (right) x 9.

Plank with Wall Touches

Side Plank with Hip Dips

Look Back Sit Ups

About Bob

Bob Wood is a Physiotherapist and Athlete Development Specialist. His speciality is a functional and movement based approach to both rehabilitation and performance. He has spent many years running a successful private practice, and also has a personal functional training studio. He has produced numerous articles on all aspects of health and fitness, which have been published in magazines, national newspapers and radio, and has been a regular contributor to both Today’s Golfer and Golf World

External Links

Posted in Training Advice | Tagged , , ,

Press Release – Garmin Edge 130

Date > April 18, 2018, 9:00 am CDT

Another new Garmin GPS bike computer announced today, April 18th 2018. The Garmin Edge 130 is a small but powerful GPS bike computer that utilises 3 x navigation satellites – GPS, GLONASS and Galileo – ensuring superb accuracy and coverage. The Edge 130 features a 1.8″ sunlight readable display, 5 x operation buttons (no touch screen – phew) and easy to use navigation features like trendline route planning (using Garmin Connect BEFORE riding)

Don’t think it’s lacking features just because it’s small physical appearance. It supports Bluetooth Power Meters, provides LIVE Strava segment feedback and even allows or full customisation of up to 8 data fields. Garmin report the Edge 130 can provide up to 15 hours riding between rides ….

Garmin introduces the Edge 130 – a compact GPS bike computer designed for use on any ride. OLATHE, Kan (BusinessWire) Garmin International, Inc., a unit of Garmin Ltd. (NASDAQ: GRMN), today announced the Edge 130, a compact and lightweight, yet rugged, GPS bike computer with easy-to-use navigation and unique cycling awareness features. Whether riding on singletrack, wide-open trails or busy city streets, the 1.8-inch sunlight-readable display gives cyclists a crisp view of the screen while the five-button design provides greater ease of use on any terrain. The Edge 130 is being announced in conjunction with the 2018 Sea Otter Classic in Monterey, CA, and can be seen at the Garmin booth (#184).

Press Release - Garmin announce their new Garmin Edge 130 GPS bike computer

Buy DIRECT from Garmin > Garmin.com STORE

Clear sunlight readable display (1.8″)

Barometric Pressure sensor providing accuarate elevation data

Smartphone Connected features

VO2 Max predictor – Fitness Level indicator

Videos (Garmin Marketing)

Getting Started

External References

 

Posted in News | Tagged , ,

The Top 3 Heart Health Myths

A healthy heart is important to have a good quality of life. Heart disease is one of the top causes of death all over the world, and for some, they get diagnosed too late or they never care about their heart at all.

Aside from that, there is so many information being spread about heart health. While some of the information is right, there are still some false information that is being spread and this makes it dangerous if many people fall prey to these myths.

Here are some myths that are not true:

1. You should not worry about the health of your heart if you are still young

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Many people think that barring those born with congenital heart disease, only old people are at risk for getting heart disease. But the truth is that heart disease can affect anyone, regardless of age.

That’s why it is important to look at your lifestyle choices even when you are just young.

Here are some good choices of foods that you can eat to reduce the risk of heart attack:

Your diet and lifestyle choices make a big impact on the health of your heart. Especially nowadays, when more young people stay inside their homes and play video games or use the internet instead of playing outside, more of them become obese, which is a risk factor for heart disease.

2. You don’t need to take your medicine if you are already feeling good

If you suddenly stop your heart medication because you feel that you are having a good day and you don’t need it, you will be affected. It may become bad enough that you might need to go to the hospital.

Never stop your medication unless you consult it with your doctor. This goes for those who are taking medicine to control their blood pressure.

Some think that if they start exercising or eating healthy, they can just stop their medication already. That can be very dangerous and lead to further complications.

You are given the medicine for a reason, ask your doctor for specifics if you are not convinced that you need to take it regularly.

3. You should drink red wine every day in order for your heart to be healthy

 

There is so much that still needs to be discovered when it comes to the effects of alcohol, particularly wine on the heart. That’s because there are many variables attached to it.

While there are those who say that consuming alcohol can lower the risk of heart attack, some fail to point out that it can also raise one’s blood pressure.

There’s also the risk brought about by binge drinkings such as atrial fibrillation and arrhythmia.

Also, some have pointed out that those who regularly drink wine come from a household with more income and therefore, more access to nutritious food and also tend to have active lifestyles.

That’s why some health enthusiasts say that it’s better to quit drinking wine regularly as the information being disseminated cannot be fully trusted as of yet due to the different factors and variables involved.

Posted in News, Training Advice |

The Top 4 Things You Should Have in a Home Gym

Having a home gym is a dream for most people; the reason for this is because of the convenience that it creates.

This is because you can fit working out quite easily into your schedule, plus you can set your home gym up the way you like it with a stereo and anything else that you want.

Setting up a home gym is not as complicated as you might think as long as you have a small space to spare.

There are many things which you can have in your home gym but, here are the some of the things which you must have if you are looking to be a Garage Gym Builder.

1. Kettlebells

Adjustable kettlebells should be in the top of your list of the things which should be included in your home gym.

The reason for this is because they require limited space and you do not have to worry about them taking the entire gym.

The other reason as to why you need them is because they offer full body workout plus the fact they are adjustable means that you can vary the weight depending on the exercise you are doing.

It is also a great way of keeping yourself healthy and fit.

You can get a lot of workout with a kettlebell.

2. Jump Rope

A jump rope is another important thing which you need to have in your home gym.

The reason you need this is that it serves multiple purposes.

A jump rope is a good way to start your workout by quickly raising your heart rate and it works on different parts of the body like the legs, arms and your shoulder.

Each exercise routine raises the intensity of heart during exercises differently.

You also need a jump rope because it’s relatively small and it does not take much of your limited space.

A jump rope does not need a lot of space when in use, all you need to do is remove anything which is breakable.

3. A Yoga Mat

A yoga mat is another important item which you need to have in your gym. This is because it forms a part of your gym as you can simply slide it down on your floor.

The yoga comes in handy especially if you have a hard floor as they make your workout more comfortable. The mat prevents you from sliding on your floor especially if you choose the no-slip yoga mat.

The other benefit of having a mat is because it gives your body a cushion and protection when doing your workouts such as planks and push-ups.

Or you could prefer the classic and enjoyable exercise that doesn’t require any tools or accessories and just run yourself happily.

4. Resistance bands

The resistance bands are must-have items in your home gym; this is because they are the most versatile equipment that you can have in your gym.

The good thing about these bands is they target the entire body with adjustable résistance. These bands do not take up a lot of space and a good thing is that you can get a pack with different resistance levels.

Below’s a short video of about muscles you can build using resistance bands:

The resistance bands can be used for different exercises where the light bands can be used on the upper body parts and the heavier on the lover body.

Posted in News |

Things You Should Know About Nerve Treatment

Nerve pain is a disorder that causes many to feel lonely.

It has significant side effects including becoming unproductive and the feeling of lacking the essence of life.

The pain that you feel is because of a damaged nervous system; hence, it sends wrong signals to the brain, which is the pain that you feel afterward.

However, do not despair.

Nerve pain has an answer.

The medical fraternity offers numerous ways to diagnose the impairment. Here are things you should know about nerve treatment.

1. Change your lifestyle

Damages that take place in the nerve system originate from a wrong way of living. For instance, some people spend time sitting, texting, or standing for long.

Doctors will recommend staying in alternative positions for long.

If sitting down adds to the pain, medical practitioners will suggest that you remain in a standing, comfortable position during most of the time at work.

Other ways to deal with nerve injuries include exercising, changing your dietary habits, relaxing your muscles through Yoga and meditation, and quitting smoking.

2. You could try some over-the counter drugs [BE CAREFUL]

If a change of lifestyle seems not to work, then you will have to go to your nearest pharmacist and let them prescribe a medication that can reduce the pain.

Examples of drugs that you could buy include painkillers, antidepressants, anticonvulsants, and topical treatments like creams, gels, and patches, which patients apply on the affected part of the skin.

Patients could also benefit from over the counter supplements for nerve support.

Be sure that you review the drug because some are not legit.

3. Visit the doctor if symptoms persist

The doctor could be the answer to all your problems if the pain never ceases. He or she will run a few tests, including X-rays, and provide all the necessary advice.

Patients who go to see the doctor can get to the underlying problem soon.

Remember that nerve damage can lead to temporary or permanent paralysis. In addition to the advice that he or she will give, the expert will advocate for the right drugs and dosage.

Some of the drugs that patients use are addictive; hence, need for the right dose.

4. Chronic diseases cause nerve impairments sometimes

Conditions such as HIV, cancer, and diabetes can contribute to severe nerve pain or damage.

Therefore, before you start taking medicine, the medical practitioner will take note if you have any of these chronic diseases.

He or she will give the treatment of that illness a priority to see if the situation will end. For example, it would be preferable if an HIV patient takes antiretroviral drugs instead of prescribing to other medication.

5. Get enough rest

Pain associated with the nerve can cause significant stress to you and your body.

Thus, you should prioritize rest during treatment.

If you wake up from where you are lying, and you notice that you can still feel the pain, then it is not yet time to go back to work.

Give time for the nerve pain to end; otherwise, you will worsen things or cause the pain to increase.

One way to deal with stress, which contributes to nerve impairment, is sleeping.

Besides that, avoid strenuous activities during the healing process.

Posted in News |

30% of HELMETS (Ribble Voucher)

Expires 26th February 2018

Ribble Cycles – save 30% off cycling SHOES !!

VOUCHER CODE = HELMETS30

Please click here – http://tidd.ly/9ddacc39

Please click here – http://tidd.ly/9ddacc39

Enter this voucher code at CHECKOUT << HELMETS30 >>

Valid until February 26th 2018

Many leading brands – Giro, Kask and Limar

Valid in the following countries

Australia, Austria, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom

Sorrynot valid in the USA or Canada

Posted in Promotions | Tagged ,

30% off SHOES (Ribble Voucher)

Expires 26th February 2018

Ribble Cycles – save 30% off cycling SHOES !!

VOUCHER CODE = SHOES30

Voucher Code - 30% off Cycling Shoes at Ribble

Please use the following LINKS to ensure validation

UK – http://tidd.ly/a7f53ea4
USA – http://tidd.ly/97701ff6
CANADA – http://tidd.ly/ddf763a8
All others – http://tidd.ly/97701ff6

Applies to the following regions :

Australia, Austria, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States of America

Some examples at Ribble Australia (most popular)

These prices are BEFORE the 30% discount has been applied …

USA – http://tidd.ly/97701ff6

Some examples at Ribble UK (most popular)

These prices are BEFORE the 30% discount has been applied …

UK – http://tidd.ly/a7f53ea4

Some examples at Ribble USA (most popular)

These prices are BEFORE the 30% discount has been applied …

Posted in Promotions | Tagged , ,

Garmin Edge 820 (Voucher Code)

Still the BEST GPS Bike Computer – Garmin Edge 820

It’s already got a generous 20% off at Ribble – get a further 5% off with this voucher code << GARMIN5 >>

Voucher Code - Garmin Edge 820 - 5% off

That’s a total saving of almost £88 !!!!

Code valid until Feb 28th 2018UK only – Click here for more details http://tidd.ly/621a9574

FTP tests
VO2 Max Predictor
Route Follow
Strava Segments
Route Plan – A to B look up
Power, HR, Cadence sensor compatible (ANT+)

Posted in Promotions | Tagged , , ,

Sport Relief 2018 – GO TRI

GO TRI Gym Challenge with Sport Relief

National governing body named a Supporter of Sport Relief and aims to raise £25,000

Are you seeking a new fitness challenge or tempted to get started in triathlon? Then the GO TRI Gym Challenge with Sport Relief is for you. Take part in the GO TRI Gym Challenge and harness the feel-good power of sport and movement and raise money to help vulnerable people, across the UK and the world, to live happier, healthier and safer lives.

Go Tri Gym Challenge

For the first time ever, this year’s Sport Relief sees every corner of the UK become home to a challenge as the whole nation comes together to beat one billion steps a day, every day, from 17th to 23rd March. The brand-new Sport Relief App will unlock exclusively celebrity content and ensure that every step counts across the week. Coming soon to the app will be exclusive content featuring British Triathlon rising start Olivia Mathias, as she takes on a bespoke workout circuit that will prepare you for the GO TRI Gym Challenge.

The GO TRI Gym Challenge consists of 3 elements; row, bike and run, which can be completed in one session or three separate sessions in a gym.

  • 500m Row – Jump on to a rower and set your level and off you go. Once you have completed the 500m row, make a note of it so you can upload the time to the GO TRI website
  • 7.5km Bike – Using an exercise bike, set the seat at your perfect height and get comfortable and start cycling for 7.5km (please note that if your bike is measuring in miles you are aiming for 4.66miles). Once again, when you have completed the bike element, make a note of the time
  • 1.5km Run/Walk – The final element of the challenge is a 1.5km run/walk. If you can’t run on a treadmill, don’t worry you can walk the distance at your own comfortable pace

Gym users across the country can take on a 500m row, 7.5km stationary bike ride and a 1.5km run on the treadmill and input their times online at www.gotri.org to see how they rank against British Triathletes, celebrities and other GO TRIERS.

Sport Relief 2018 presents - GO TRI Gym Challenge

The challenge is also being rolled out across the UK by nationwide fitness operator DW Fitness First to its members and is accessible at over 120 clubs. If you’re not a DW Fitness First member, you can download a three-day guest pass here for use between 12th March and 25th March to take on the challenge at your nearest facility. Donations to Sport Relief can be made directly through the app.

To take part in our Sport Relief challenges, download the Sport Relief app for free from the App Store and Google Play Store.

For more information on GO TRI and how to get involved and help raise money for Sport Relief, visit https://www.gotri.org/. You can donate to Sport Relief through British Triathlon’s corporate hub, available at https://my.sportrelief.com/corporate/BritishTriathlon

Posted in News | Tagged , , ,

Fitness Training App – HiiT style

A brilliant application for the majority of Garmin top end sports watches. This is a 7 minute workout widget that exercises all the body with a combination of squats, lunges, push ups, tricep dips, jumping jacks and much more.

7 Minute Workout App by obagot

Each exercise is 30 seconds long with a 10 second rest break between each one. 7-Minute Workout application for Garmin watches. This watch application drives you through the execution of 13 exercises described in literature as High-Intensity Circuit Training.

The app can be found here – https://apps.garmin.com/en-NZ/apps/65a44a9d-465d-4e76-a866-c0667e51cf98

Compatible Garmin Products

In this video I test the workout app on my Garmin Fenix 5. At the time of publishing the video (Feb 2018) the list of compatible Garmin watches is as follows:

Approach® S60
D2™ Bravo
D2™ Bravo Titanium
D2™ Charlie
Descent™ Mk1
ForeAthlete® 230J
ForeAthlete® 235J
ForeAthlete® 630J
ForeAthlete® 735XTJ
ForeAthlete® 920XTJ
Forerunner® 230
Forerunner® 235
Forerunner® 630
Forerunner® 645
Forerunner® 645 Music
Forerunner® 735XT
Forerunner® 920XT
Forerunner® 935
fēnix® 3
fēnix® 3 HR
fēnix® 5
fēnix® 5S
fēnix® 5X
fēnix® Chronos
vívoactive®
vívoactive® 3
vívoactive® HR

The 7 Minute Workout app was produced by obagot


More CardioCritic Video Reviews below:

Posted in Testing | Tagged , , ,

Watch Faces – Fenix 5

It’s simple to make your Garmin Fenix 5 stand out from everyone else’s. Simply enter SETTINGS by pressing and holding the middle right button. Then select WATCH FACES.

You will now be presented with several “ready made” watch face designs. Whichever you choose – it is possible to further customize the design – changing the dial style, hands style, ascent colour, data fields and background colour.

Fenix 5 with analog watch face and 4 x data fields including SUN RISE and DATE

Fenix 5 Watch Face Customization Video

The short VIDEO below has been produced to illustrate the ease of customization. Change the data fields, style of hands, dials, ascent colour and background colour.

You also have the choice of designing your own starting with either a DIGITAL or ANALOG format. It’s all covered in this short video.

If you’re not satisfied by the many options readily available, you can download from hundreds more Fenix 5 Watch Faces from the Garmin Connect IQ store

urTime Aquatic Watch Face

The one shown in the video downloaded from Garmin Connect IQ is urTime Aquatic. The version in the video is the FREE version.

urTime Aquatic Watch Face with Omega styling and simple date and time only

This smart and Omega style watch face by urTime Aquatic is available here . If you want to add some extra features – you can pay just £1 to open the customization options.

More Watch Faces at Garmin Connect iQ Store

If you are not satisified with the watch face styles on offer you can either ADD YOUR OWN – or visit Garmin Connect IQ Fenix 5 Watch Faces

Many more watch faces for the Garmin Fenix 5 at Garmin Connect IQ Store


Garmin Fenix 5 showing DIGITAL Watch Face and multiple data fields including MOVEBAR, SUNRISE and Barometric pressure

Fenix 5 wth WHITE background watch face and Analog Hands

More CardioCritic Fenix 5 Links

We also have some more videos relating to Garmin Connect IQ Apps and the Garmin Fenix range here


Posted in Testing | Tagged , , , , ,

Google Maps App by r.485

Imagine you are out and about in an area you don’t know very well. You want to get your phone out to use Google Maps for directions, but you don’t want to walk around like a tourist. Also, you sensibly want to avoid the risk of someone snatching your smartphone. Wouldn’t it be great if you could get Google Maps on your WRIST … live mapping data to your Garmin GPS watch. Well you can !

Add Google Maps to your Garmin GPS Watch

A quick look at a reliable and stable Google Maps application. This Garmin Connect IQ Google Maps application has come from the team at r.485 who have produced some other great mapping applications and widgets.

The r485 Maps App can be downloaded from Garmin Connect IQ store from this link – https://apps.garmin.com/en-GB/apps/3f07431a-07fe-474f-bc4c-4097bba106b2

Compatible Devices as of February 2018

Approach® S60
D2™ Bravo
D2™ Bravo Titanium
D2™ Charlie
Descent™ Mk1
ForeAthlete® 230J
ForeAthlete® 235J
ForeAthlete® 630J
ForeAthlete® 735XTJ
ForeAthlete® 920XTJ
Forerunner® 230
Forerunner® 235
Forerunner® 630
Forerunner® 735XT
Forerunner® 920XT
Forerunner® 935
fēnix® 3
fēnix® 3 HR
fēnix® 5
fēnix® 5S
fēnix® 5X
fēnix® Chronos
vívoactive®
vívoactive® 3
vívoactive® HR

More CardioCritic Fenix 5 Links

We also have some more videos relating to Garmin Connect IQ Apps and the Garmin Fenix range here


Posted in Testing | Tagged , ,

Suunto finally get Heart Rate Zones

At long last, Suunto are giving all their fitness watch range Heart Rate Training Zones. It looks like they are giving their watches the normal 5 x HR zones, as per Polar and Garmin. It’s something that many people like to train within, a simple and safe way to train the different systems of the body. If you’re new to Heart Rate Training then pop over to our article with Heart Rate Zone Calculator and predicted Maximum HR tool

Suunt Fitness Watches get Heart Rate Zones x 5

This is what Suunto had to say today

Suunto Software Update Brings HR Zones to all Suunto Spartan Watches

HR Zones in Suunto Spartan watches help improve your performance 

Training intensity is one of the most important factors for improving performance, and to train at the correct intensity level, you need to monitor heart rate during exercise.

Quick Firmware Update

This software update brings heart rate zones to all Suunto Spartan watches, providing you information about your current intensity level with just a quick glance. While exercising, you can see in real-time how long you have spent in each HR zone and how many beats you have in reserve until you move on to the next. After the exercise, a breakdown of the time in each zone is displayed in the summary.

Heart Rate Training for ALL Suunto Watches - finally

5 x Heart Rate Zones

The update introduces five HR zones. as well as new settings for max. and rest HR. In addition to the default zones, you can define special zones for running and cycling activities. The software update will be rolled out in phases, starting from January 18th and will be distributed to the entire Spartan community by Monday, January 22nd.

 

Posted in News | Tagged , , , , , ,

Press Release – Garmin Vivofit 4

Press Release Date –Dec 26th 2017

Product Availability – Q1 2018

Product –Garmin Vivofit 4

RRP – £69 / $79

Less than 20 months since Garmin released the Garmin Vivofit 3 and we’ve got another entry level, no fuss, activity tracker – the Garmin Vivofit 4. Key features of this new activity tracker are

  • Slimmer than all previous models
  • Colour display
  • 1 year battery life (no need to charge)
  • Swim / shower proof
  • Compete with your children using the Vivofit Jr2

NEW - the Garmin Vivofit 4 in various styles

The following information has been extracted from the Garmin official press release

For those customers looking for more than just basic activity tracking, the vívofit 4 can be paired with a smartphone, adding even more functionality and options, such as tracking sleep, intensity minutes and more. Forget to start or stop a timed activity? Thanks to Move IQ, the vívofit 4 is able to detect changes in a user’s movement and automatically capture and classify activities such as walking, running, biking, swimming and using an elliptical. Users can use the vívofit 4 as their everyday watch, complete with a countdown timer, stopwatch and multiple alarms. A weather widget gives a quick, illustrated look at the day’s weather. The vívofit 4 even includes Find My Phone for those who need a little extra help keeping track of their smartphone.

 

Through the Garmin Connect app, users can customize the vívofit 4 with various watch faces, color themes and personalized text, such as an emergency contact or motivational phrase. Interchangeable accessory bands (sold separately) make it easy to switch up colors and styles to match any mood or outfit.

 

Within the newly redesigned Garmin Connect, a free online community, it is easier than ever to get an at-a-glance look at important stats like steps and sleep. Users can filter and customize their data so that they are only seeing what is most relevant. Users can connect with friends and family to motivate one another, join challenges, engage in friendly competitions and more. And speaking of competitions, vívofit 4 users with children who own vívofit jr. 2 devices can compete against one another using the Toe-to-ToeTM timed step competition feature to determine who is clearing the table that night. The vívofit 4 will periodically sync with Garmin Connect throughout the day.

Garmin Vivofit 4 Review

CardioCritic has added a provisional review of the Garmin Vivofit 4 here. At the time of writing this press release CardioCritic have NOT yet tested the Vivofit 4 directly, however, we hope to have a unit before the end of February 2018.


External Links

Posted in News | Tagged , ,

New product – Suunto 3 Fitness

Press Release Date – 10h January 2018

Product – Suunto 3 Fitness

RRP – 199 to 229 Euros (£ and $ to be confirmed)

The current Suunto range is aimed at serious to elite level athletes with their brilliant Suunto Spartan Range. The best in that range is the Suunto Spartan Trainer Wrist HR – a brilliant value for money performance monitor for athletes of all levels and all sports …

From 2015 to 2017 Suunto did not have a fitness tracking watch designed for the masses. People who exercise to keep fit, stay healthy and possibly run the odd 10K or ride the occasional Sportive (organised group cycle ride – often timed, but NOT a race). In earlier years Suunto had their impressive Suunto T3 and T4 – brilliant fitness watches, very much missed. UNTIL NOW

Welcome the new Suunto 3 Fitness – a sleek and stylish GPS Fitness Tracking watch with wrist based heart rate monitor.

Suunto 3 Fitness GPS Sports Watch

Product highlights:

  • Adaptive training guidance
  • Activity tracking with steps, calories and sleep
  • Built-in sport modes for running, swimming, cycling, gym training and many more
  • Accelerometer-based speed, pace and distance for walking and running
  • Water resistant to 30 meters, swimming proof

The following information has been extracted from their press release

Training with Suunto 3 Fitness is easy. The watch automatically creates seven-day training plans, using your fitness level and overall exercise history as a base. However, if you miss an exercise, or get excited and do a little more than planned, Suunto 3 Fitness automatically adapts your training plan accordingly, so you don’t need to stress about keeping up with the plan. Additional real-time guidance with heart rate zones during every workout help ensure you train at the right intensity.

 

Balance exercise and rest to support overall wellbeing

Suunto 3 Fitness provides 24/7 activity tracking for steps and calories, and easy-to-follow summaries provide a view of your daily activity, helping you balance training and rest. Sleep quality tracking indicates how well sleep supports your recovery, enabling you to keep up with your active lifestyle.

 

Suunto developed sleep quality tracking, as well as fitness level indicator and adaptive training guidance in cooperation with Firstbeat Technologies, Suunto’s long-term partner in sports sciences. Keep up with training goals via connected Suunto app

 

Suunto 3 Fitness connects to the all-new Suunto app, which will be introduced in detail later in the spring. The new app logs all your activities and keeps you up to date on your weekly training goals. The smart mobile connection also delivers incoming calls, text messages and calendar notifications to the watch.

A Wide Range of Styles

It looks like the new Suunto 3 Fitness will be available in a wide range of colours and styles. There will only be ONE size of watch, which, if similar to the Spartan Trainer Wrist HR, is absolutely fine for wrist sizes from 16cm to 21cm (to be confirmed).

Suunto 3 Fitness watch available in a wide range of colours and styles

The Suunto 3 Fitness will be available Spring 2018. Currently the 3 Fitness line up consists of 5 different models –  Gold, All Black, Ocean, Sakura and Black.

The top of the range is the Gold and All Black models (RRP 229€). Sleek and stylish the models of the 3 Fitness present an elegant, urban feel. The stainless steel bezel can be either gold or black with matching buttons (pusher)

Slightly cheaper with a fresh, lively look are the models on the right with an RRP of 199€. Black, Ocean and Sakura models with polished stainless steel bezels and colour coded buttons.


External Reference Links

 

Posted in News | Tagged , ,

WIN – Polar M450

Win this Polar M450 GPS Bike Computer! All you have to do is LIKE our Power Pedals Facebook Page

Following our detailed review of the new Polar M460 my very own Polar M450 is no longer required as I am now using the M460 with LIVE Strava Segments  …..

Simply LIKE and SHARE this competition post on Facebook by clicking the buttons under the post below.

This competition is open to EVERYONE, ANYWHERE !

The WINNER will be picked at random when the Power-Pedals FACEBOOK page has 1,000 LIKES. The winner will be announced on Facebook and on this page.

WINNER >> the Winner is …. to be ANNOUNCED here

About the Polar M450

A genuine Garmin Edge alternative for the majority of keen cyclists. The Polar M450 offers reliable performance monitoring including optional heart rate, cadence and POWER. It also features built-in FITNESS TESTS not found in other similar GPS bike computers. For more details on the brilliant GPS  Bike Computer please visit CardioCritic’s 5 Star Review of the Polar M450 Bike Computer

Win a Polar M450 GPS Bike Computer

More Competitions

We’ve been giving test products as prizes for over a year now. Browse previous competitions and the lucky winners on our monthly competitions page


External Links

Posted in Win our Test Products | Tagged , ,

UK Cyclists – consider PedalSure Insurance

I’ve been cycling for years and I’ve been quite lucky to date. I’ve been knocked off just once (more a skid than a full on crash) and I’ve had one bike stolen from Milton Keynes train station. Following each incident made a mental not to ‘get bike insurance. Until now, I never got round to it. I know I have some sort of personal cover with my British Cycling Membership and my bikes are covered on my house & contents insurance… but is that enough?

Why Get Cycle Insurance

There are several reasons why UK cyclists should be insured. The three most obvious reasons are –

  • Theft
  • Personal Injury
  • Injury to a third party

According to crime data records 376,000 bicycles are stolen every year in the UK – one every 90 seconds. Anyone who cycles whether for fun, fitness or commuting must understand how common a crime it is. Unfortunately, it’s only when a bike is stolen that the victim realises the lack of cover on their household policy. And what happens in the unfortunate event of an accident? … loss of earnings, rehab, legal cover etc.

Covered on your Home & Contents Insurance?

My own home insurance is with Admiral and they include a single bike to the value of £350 on their standard cover. Iit covers theft of the bike from my property, nothing else. £350 might recoup the price of an ‘average bike’ but it won’t cover the price of a Road Bike or MTB of most keen cyclists. Nor will it provide cover for personal injury, legal protection, loss of earnings etc (unless additional cover is taken out).

Consider a Specialist Insurer

At CardioCritic we recommend a specialist insurance company. A company whose own mission statement says ….

…however precious your bike is, it’s not as precious as you are. So while other policies focus on the bike, we believe in covering you first, and then your bike.



A few questions to ask your Insurance Company?

Ask your insurer a few questions before adding your bike(s) to your Home & Contents Policy

    • Does the cover include bike(s) AWAY from HOME?
    • Does it offer NEW for OLD?
    • Are you covered for LOSS of EARNINGS
    • Are your accessories covered? (lights, locks etc can easily add over £500)
    • How about Rehab Physio cover?

It is possible that your insurance company can add these options, at a premium, however, certain things won’t be covered. Pedalsure give the customer simple and clear optional levels of cover during the QUOTE process. Everything from the pay out level for accidental death to cover for foreign travel.

Bike, Rider or Rider & Bike

PedalSure give their customers three options when applying for insurance.

  1. Bike Only
  2. Rider Only
  3. Bike(s) & Rider

How does Pedalsure compare?

If you’re still not sure whether PedalSure is right for you then please pop over to their website and look at the Compare Cover option.

Comparing Insurance for your Bicycle

Posted in Promotions |

Polar OH1 Heart Rate Accuracy Tests

CardioCritic has used the Polar OH1 for 8 x training / testing sessions. It’s been perfect for everything but one bike ride. The graphs below illustrate the hart rate acquired during an intense indoor spinning bike interval session. This is indicative of a vast majority of my tests of the Polar OH1. All but one of the sessions produced near identical heart rate curves comparing the OH1 (optically acquired heart rate) to the Blueleza (ECG style chest strap sensor). The result of these tests leads to the conclusion that CardioCritic is confident to recommend the Polar OH1 for the vast majority of exercisers. So confident in fact that …..

The Polar OH1 has been adopted by CardioCritic as the GOLD STANDARD for optical heart rate monitors. CardioCritic will use it to judge the performance of all other optical heart rate monitors for future tests & reviews.

Exercise Styles

During the testing process the Polar OH1 was used in a variety of different training styles to cover the majority of customers’ general uses. The Polar OH1 was tested in the following environments. Each time the heart rate data acquired from the Polar OH1 was compared to that acquired from either a Polar H10 or BlueLeza Chest Strap style sensor.

  • Indoor Yoga session – perfect HR graphs
  • Indoor Spinning Bike – steady pace – perfect HR graphs
  • Indoor Running – steady pace – perfect HR graphs
  • Indoor Turbo Trainer (see Graphs 1 & 2 below) – Intervals, high intensity training (HiiT style)
  • Outdoor Cycling (see graph 3) – peak during last climb missed
  • Outdoor Cycling – local 20 mile loop – perfect HR graphs
  • 2 x Outdoor Running – mostly steady with some moderate sprints – perfect HR graphs

Graph 1 –  Heart Rate from Polar OH1 Optical Sensor

This is the heart rate graph extracted from the internal memory of the Polar OH1

Max HR was recorded at 169 BPM

Polar OH1 heart rate accuracy test graph compared to chest strap HRM sensor

Graph 2 – same session from Chest Strap

This is the same session’s heart rate data acquired from a Blueleza chest strap heart rate sensor paired with a Garmin Edge 820.

Max HR recorded as 171 BPM

Control test with Blueleza chest strap heart rate sensor

BlueLeza Chest Strap versus Polar OH1 Optical Heart Rate

Blueleza Heart Rate chest strap and Polar OH1 optical LED HRM

Polar’s own blog site suggest the OH1 is not their most suitable product for professional athletes involved in high intensity interval training. For those sessions the Polar H10 is the recommended heart rate sensor

It’s hard to beat Polar H10 when it comes to extremely accurate heart rate measurements in a fast-paced situation, such as a hard interval training session. (Polar.com BLOG)

Shop Now for Polar OH1


Example of Heart Rate Error

I witnessed an erratic heart rate from only one of the 8 initial training / testing sessions. That particular ride features an intense hill sprint effort where my heart rate quickly increased to 168 bpm. The riding style was aggressive and the road far from smooth. The OH1 failed to detect this short spike of effort as can be seen from last set of heart rate graphs below. The control model in this case was the Blueleza chest strap heart rate sensor paired with a Garmin Edge 820. For all other sessions there has been NO NOTICEABLE deviation from the heart rate acquired via CHEST STRAP. We could have not bothered to mention this single minor failure, but it highlights how even a 5 Star product can have it’s little wobbles now and then.

Graph 3 (Outdoor Cycling)

Heart Rate Accuracy of Polar OH1 compared to Chest Strap HR sensor

Polar’s own blog site suggest the OH1 is not their very best product for professional athletes involved in high intensity interval training. For those sessions the Polar H10 is the recommended heart rate sensor

It’s hard to beat Polar H10 when it comes to extremely accurate heart rate measurements in a fast-paced situation, such as a hard interval training session. (Polar.com BLOG)

More Heart Rate Accuracy Tests

Whenever possible we test these new technologies against the recognised gold standard models. Here’s some more heart rate accuracy tests undertaken by CardioCritic

Posted in Testing | Tagged , , , ,

Polar V800 gets LIVE Strava Segments

If you’ve read my review of the Polar M460 and certain Garmin Edge units you’ll know how much of a fan of LIVE Strava Segments I am. Not only does it add a level of fun and motivation to your training –  when used properly it can help you improve your Personal Record. Your Polar V800 (M460) willy pace you through each section helping you to achieve a new PR (PB). If you’re at the top of your game you can compete with other local athletes and aim for the KOM / QOM.

Free 2 Month Premium Membership

With all devices that provide LIVE Strava Segments you’ll need to be subscribed to the PREMIUM Strava service (around £7/month). THe Polar V800 comes with a FREE 60 day trial, giving you time to decide if it works for you and your training goals.



Polar V800 – Elite Performance Monitor

Looking for some extra motivation for your runs and rides? Find new ways to challenge yourself with Polar V800 and Strava Live Segments.
Polar V800 is an elite-level GPS sportswatch with all the essential tools an athlete needs – including support for Strava Live Segments.

With Strava Live Segments, you can race against your personal record or claim your spot on the leaderboard. Your Polar V800 alerts you when you’re approaching any of your favorite segments, and here’s the best part: you can see your results in real time.

A short Video Demonstration

CardioCritic produced this short video to illustrate LIVE Strava Segments working on my local loop in Hunstanton. The M460 on the LEFT of the two units provides PR progression time (+/- time) – Distance to end of segment plus HR and speed data.

Polar V800 & M460 with Live Strava Segments

More information on LIVE Strava Segments can be found here at Polar.com

Posted in News | Tagged , , , , ,

Run Yourself Happy

Running in a group makes 90% of people happier

Whilst the physical benefits of running are well known, new research released today reveals that improvements in emotional health and wellbeing are being experienced by an extraordinary three-quarters of runners.

The “Miracle Cure” improving brits’ mental health

In the first major poll* of its kind, questioning 13,200 people over 12 months between September 2016 and August 2017, 74% of runners said they felt running was good for their mental wellbeing.

In an additional survey** of the England Athletics’ RunTogether community, a staggering 89% of all runners said they had increased happiness as a direct result of running with others or in a group.

Experts confirm that running, especially in a group, can do wonders for mental health.

Physical exercise improves a person’s well-being by releasing endorphins, the body’s ‘feel good’ hormones. Studies show that in mild to moderate depression patients who exercise regularly do as well as those prescribed antidepressant medications or talking therapies.” Dr Averil McClelland, GP and elite Masters Athlete.

GP and author of Sorted: The Active Woman’s Guide to Health, Juliet McGrattan added “Energy levels and motivation are low when you are struggling with depression. Exercising and committing to a group can help give you the extra boost to get you going and keep you going.”

The results of this research reinforce the huge success of England Athletics’ RunTogether programme, which breaks down barriers for individuals new to running, and helps them to build confidence, establish relationships and cope with the daily stresses of life. Over 40,000 people have registered to join RunTogether, seeking opportunities to run with others, since the programme launched in January 2017.

Running in groups brings other benefits. The poll showed that group runners were more likely to be regular runners (62%) when compared to solo runners (51%).
The rapid growth in running groups across the country is significant for England Athletics as it works towards its goal of getting one million people into athletics and running by 2021. There’s also been a big increase in the number of people becoming Run Leaders, with over 3,000 people a year taking England Athletics’ Leadership in Running Fitness (LiRF) qualification.

Commenting on the findings, Matt Birkett, Head of Participation at England Athletics, said: “At a time when mental health is a such key concern for society, it’s great to formally acknowledge that something as simple as running with others can make such a significant difference to happiness and emotional wellbeing. Whether you’re contemplating lacing up in preparation for your first walk-jog or training for a specific event, being around other people who share your goals and motivation can be a powerful influence and the highly accessible RunTogether website means it’s easier than ever to find a local running group. With 1,328 RunTogether groups nationwide, people can choose from sessions ranging from ‘Get Me Started’ right through to ‘Challenge Me’.”

RunTogether - running is good for your mental health

Priory consultant, Dr Laurence Church, who is based at the Priory’s Hospital in Woking, Surrey said: “I treat an increasing number of people suffering from stress, depression and anxiety. Exercise, often running, can be an important component of recovery from mental health problems, and in maintaining well-being. The power of the social aspect of the RunTogether programme appears to be an important ingredient for many – boosting self-confidence, reducing social isolation and ensuring people keep coming back.”

Someone that credits group running with turning their life around is Diana Postle, who experienced the devastating loss of her husband at Christmas in 2015 following a long battle with cancer. Earlier this year, she joined the RunTogether ‘Up The Tempo’ group in Norwich and hasn’t looked back since.

“For three years, I had been going through the hardship of my husband’s illness, death and the aftermath of that,” says 65-year-old Diana. “I felt I needed to break out of the four walls of my house which had become a prison to me, having been thrown into the overwhelming task of clearing the house on my own.”

“Running in a group gives me a feeling of being ‘safely enclosed’ with others around me, yet not smothered by people’s focused attention or feeling claustrophobic which can happen in crowded places. The friendships I have made, along with the fun and laughter of the comradery, has been incredible medicine. The RunTogether Leaders and the group members lift one another up, and cheer us all to being, as well as doing, our best.”

ABOUT RUNTOGETHER

RunTogether was launched by England Athletics on January 10, 2017 with the aim of helping adults across England to establish regular running habits, which bring a range of physical and mental health well-being benefits. All RunTogether programmes focus on running with other people, based on research that you’re more likely to keep running regularly if you do it as part of a group**.

PROGRAMMES

RunTogether Groups are fun, organised jogs/runs with other people, led by qualified*** group leaders.

Over 1,328 running groups can be found at www.RunTogether.co.uk

Over 40,000 people have registered to run with RunTogether since January 2017

The structured sessions, with warm ups and cool down help to reduce injury and cater for all running levels:

  • Get me started – if you’re a beginner runner/ jogger, or if you’ve not run for a while and want a gentle introduction. There is no minimum standard or level of experience.
  • Keep me going – These runs are for you if you generally run at least twice per month and feel comfortable running/jogging around 5km without stopping
  • Challenge me – These run sessions are for runners who typically run at least once every week and are looking to increase their pace and / or running distance.

Mental Health Ambassadors

Our Mental Health Ambassador programme is a growing network of volunteers (currently just over 300) from RunTogether Groups and England Athletics affiliated running clubs who support people who are experiencing mental health problems to start running, get back into running, or continue running. We actively everyone to #runandtalk about their mental health to:

  • Remove the stigma by getting people talking about mental health and sharing their experiences
  • Raise awareness of mental health problems

For further information, see: https://runtogether.co.uk/running-support/mental-heath-ambassadors/

Find a Guide

We train and licence guide runners (currently just over 200) to run with visually impaired runners, helping more people access running safely. Guides are available throughout the country, running on various terrains at a range of paces and distances. All our guide runners have:

  • Attended a Sight Loss Awareness and Guide Running Workshop
  • Cleared a Disclosure Barring Service (DBS) check

For further information, see: https://runtogether.co.uk/running-support/find-a-guide/

RUNNING INSIGHTS

Since 2005, the number of people running in England has grown by 64%. Participation is driven by social, health and economic factors. Running is now less competitive and a genuine leisure pursuit.

  • 7.1 M people have been for a run at least twice per month in the last year
  • 75 per cent of all runners agree running is good for their emotional health and well-being
  • Running is currently the most popular sporting activity in England
  • The gender gap is reducing; 73% of recent growth has come from women and over 90% from those aged between 35-54

ABOUT ENGLAND ATHLETICS

England Athletics develops grass roots athletics and running in England, supporting affiliated clubs to prosper, developing more and better coaches, recruiting and supporting volunteers and officials. England Athletics provides and supports competition opportunities at an international (England representative), national, area and county level. England Athletics also delivers campaigns and programme to inspire and provide opportunities for people in England to start running. These include This Girl Can Run (a running activation campaign linked to Sport England’s parent This Girl Can campaign) and RunTogether.

England Athletics is a signatory of the Mental Health Charter for Sport and Recreation. The Charter sets out how sport can use its collective power to tackle the stigma that surrounds mental health and help people seek support when needed, see more at www.sportandrecreation.org.uk/mental-health-charter.

For more information on England Athletics please visit: www.englandathletics.org

ABOUT DR AVERIL MCCLELLAND

Dr Averil McClelland is a recently retired GP and Masters Track and Field Athlete, competing for Great Britain in the sprints and long jump. She encourages people that exercise is the best way to stay physically and mentally healthy as we age.

ABOUT DR JULIET MCGRATTAN

Dr Juliet McGrattan is a GP, runner and health writer. Her passion is helping people to find health and wellbeing through physical activity. Dr Juliet McGrattan’s new book Sorted: The Active Woman’s Guide to Health offers advice to help you stay fit and well. This accessible handbook covers everything from exercise during your period, recovering from illness or keeping active during your pregnancy

ABOUT THE PRIORY

The Priory Group is the leading provider of behavioural care in the UK caring for around 30,000 people a year for conditions including depression, stress, drug and alcohol addiction, eating disorders and self-harming. The Group is organised into three divisions – healthcare, education and children’s services, and adult care. The Priory Group is owned by NASDAQ-listed Acadia Healthcare, which is recognised as a global leader in behavioural health. From 30 November 2016, 66 Partnerships in Care sites became part of the Priory Group.

For further information and to see how Priory is changing people’s lives for the better, see: http://www.priorygroup.com/blog/priory-group/priory-group—films

Posted in News, Training Advice | Tagged , , ,

Spartan Trainer – WINNER

Following our detailed review of the Spartan Trainer the generous people at Spike Communications (ext link) have given me the test unit to give away as a prize

Simply LIKE and SHARE this competition post on Facebook by clicking the buttons under the post below.

This competition is open to EVERYONE, ANYWHERE !

The WINNER will be picked at random on  25th October 2017. The winner will be announced on Facebook and on this page by 26th October

WINNER >> the Winner is …. Paul Coates from Fareham

About the Suunto Spartan Trainer

Simply put – this is the BEST GPS sports watch Suunto have ever made. With built-in GPS, wrist based heart rate and support for the majority of popular sports. It even has a dedicated TRIATHLON mode for people who want their swim > bike and run all in the same file.

For more details on the brilliant GPS Sports Watch please visit CardioCritic’s 5 Star Review of the Suunto Spartan Trainer Wrist HR

Competition - win this Suunto Spartan Trainer

More Competitions

We’ve been giving test products as prizes for over a year now. Browse previous competitions and the lucky winners on our monthly competitions page

PLEASE use the link below to check for the online prices of the Suunto Spartan Trainer Wrist HR.

Check the price with Amazon

External Links

Posted in Win our Test Products |

Garmin Vivosport – Press Release

Press Release – August 31st 2017

New Product Announcement – Garmin Vivosport – GPS fitness tracker with wrist based Heart Rate

Price – $199

The new Garmin Vivosport Fitness Tracker with GPS and Heart Rate

Review – In-depth Product Test

Garmin Vivosport REVIEW now available here. After just 4 days of testing the new Vivomove it was obvious to all at CardioCritic a 5 Star Review was imminent.

Please check prices at our Global Shopping partners below …

In a week that has seen the release of the new Fitbit Ionic it’s a little bit harsh to see their thunder stolen by Garmin with not one but THREE new products. Such is life when competing for the No1 position in the fitness wearables market. The Garmin Vivosport discussed here, the Garmin Vivomove HR and the Vivoactive 3 fitness smartwatch are all set to keep the competition hot for 2017 and well in to 2018

Garmin Vivosport showing 24/7 heart rate monitoring with 7 day resting heart rate average

What is the Vivosport

The new Garmin Vivosport is a combination of everything good from the Garmin Vivosmart 3 and the Garmin Vivosmart HR+. Essentially it’s a smart fitness tracker equipped with built-in GPS, wrist based heart rate utilizing Garmin Elevate and a bright full colour Garmin Chromo display. With a 7 day battery life in smartwatch mode and the ability to support 8 hours of GPS training it shouldn’t spend too much time on the charger.

Garmin Vivosport rear view showing Garmin Elevate heart rate sensors

Full Colour Garmin Chromo display

Garmin Vivosport showing default time of day screen with MOVEBAR progress, battery level, alarm etc

Accurate Heart Rate and GPS speed / pace feedback

Garmin Vivosport showing running pace and heart rate

Ultra Slim design

Garmin Vivosport viewed from the side - look, no ugly HRM sensor lump

Garmin Fitness Age and VO2 Max

Garmin Vivosport showing your VO2 Max score with fitness feedback

Smartphone Notifications and Alerts

Garmin Vivosport showing a smartphone notification alert

Global Price Check

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External References

Posted in News | Tagged , ,

Garmin Vivoactive 3 – Press Release

Press Release – August 31st 2017

New Product Announcement – Garmin Vivoactive 3 – GPS smartwatch with wrist based Heart Rate

Price – $299 to $329

Garmin Vivoactive 3 REVIEWED here

Garmin latest smartwatch - the Garmin Vivoactive 3


In a week that has seen the release of the new Fitbit Ionic it’s a little bit harsh to see their thunder stolen by Garmin with not one but THREE new products. Such is life when competing for the No1 position in the fitness wearables market. The Garmin Vivoactive 3 discussed here and the Garmin Vivomove HR and the Vivosport (replacing the Vivosmart series)

Video Review – product presentation by CardioCritic

Vivoactive 3 – GPS Smartwatch with Heart Rate

The Garmin Vivoactive and Vivoactive HR were two of my favourite fitness watches when they came out in 2015 and 2016. I particularly liked their all-round performance supporting the majority of popular sports and their APP support from Garmin IQ Connect. The Garmin Vivoactive 3 builds on these great products following a complete style re-design going from SQUARE to ROUND.

What’s New – Vivoactive 3

Key new features found in the Vivoactive 3 include:

  • Garmin Pay supported by FitPay – currently offering Visa and Mastercard with more banks coming on-board soon
  • 15 Built-in sports modes including Yoga, Stair Stepper, Cardio and Elliptical
  • Strength Training mode with reps & sets counting and rest time recording
  • Garmin IQ Connect support giving access to hundreds of apps like AccuWeather, UBER, Strava and much more
  • 24/7 heart rate tracking giving access to VO2 Max Fitness testing, all day Stress Testing
  • Four Fold Breath – a breathing and relaxation function similar to that found in Fitbit Charge 2, Blaze etc
  • 7 days battery life in smartwatch mode – 13 hours GPS
  • Water Resistant to 30m – fine for swimming

Garmin Marketing Photos

Watch The Video

External References

Posted in News | Tagged , ,

Garmin Vivomove HR – Press Release

Press Release – August 31st 2017

New Product Announcement – Garmin Vivomove HR – hybrid smartwatch with wrist based Heart Rate

Price – $199 to $299

In a week that has seen the release of the new Fitbit Ionic it’s a little bit harsh to see their thunder stolen by Garmin with not one but THREE new products. Such is life when competing for the No1 position in the fitness wearables market. The Garmin Vivomove HR discussed here and the Garmin Vivoactive 3 and the Vivosport (replacing the Vivosmart series)

Vivomove HR – Hybrid Smartwatch

I really liked the Vivomove as an innovative attempt to add activity tracking to a traditionally styled analog watch, but it wasn’t quite the full package. It wasn’t much more than a pedometer inside a regular watch with the addition of Bluetooth data upload to Garmin Connect.

The new Garmin Vivomove HR adds several key features including:

  • Garmin Elevate LED optical Heart Rate sensors
  • 24/7 Heart Rate monitoring and Stress Tracking functions
  • VO2 Max and Fitness Age testing
  • Automatic exercise tracking – starts timer and 1 second HR sampling when you start exercising
  • Four Fold Breath – a breathing and relaxation function similar to that found in Fitbit Charge 2, Blaze etc
  • A clever LED touchscreen layered on top of the traditional watch face
  • Smartphone notifications and alerts
  • Water Resistant – SWIM proof
  • 5 Day battery life in smartphone alert mode and two weeks in regular standalone watch mode
  • Tracks daily steps and floors climbed
  • Activity data uploaded to Garmin Connect on your Android or iOs device

Watch the Video

 External Rescources

Posted in News | Tagged , ,

Polar OH1 – Press Release

Polar have released another great new product following on from the Polar M430, Polar A370 and M460. This new product utilises the reliable Polar optical heart rate monitoring sensors installed in to an armband. The NEW Polar OH1 makes heart rate monitoring simple, discrete, affordable and comfortable. The OH1 armband heart rate sensor offers convenient heart rate tracking for the millions of smartphone users looking for an accurate and comfortable solution. The Polar OH1 is a great alternative to a chest strap sensor that can be used with any compatible Polar devices, smartphone Apps (including Polar Beat, Strava, MapMyRide, Endomondo etc)

CardioCritic Review Live

CardioCritic has now reviewed this brilliant armband heart rate sensor. More details of our in-depth review of the Polar OH1 can be found here

Store or Broadcast?

The Polar OH1 can either STORE your heart rate data, freeing you from phone, watch etc while training, or BROADCAST your heart rate to any compatible Bluetooth device. An internal memory that can store as much as 200 hours of training data. The USB charged device has a battery life of around 12 hours. At the end of the session you data can be transferred to the Polar Flow app or website (USB cable or wireless Bluetooth transfer)

In Broadcast mode your live HR data can be transmitted any compatible Polar device like the Polar M460 bike computer or Bluetooth connected smartphone or tablet running a compatible Fitness App.

Price Check

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Heart Rate Accuracy

The OH1 uses 6 x proprietary LED optical heart rate sensors similar to those used by the Polar M430 (another 5 Star CardioCritic review). We hope to get our hands on an OH1 before the end of September and look forward to testing it’s heart rate accuracy versus a WRIST WORN optical sensor (e.g. Forerunner 35 / Suunto Spartan Wrist HR / Polar M430) and a CHEST STRAP sensor (BlueLeza / Polar H10 HR sensor) used in conjunction with a Polar M460 and Garmin Edge 820. Tests results to follow ASAP.

Upper or Lower Arm

The Polar OH1 can be worn on the upper or lower arm adding convenience and comfort for different types of activities. The accuracy is allegedly the same whether worn on upper or lower arm.

External Sources

Posted in News | Tagged , ,

Fitbit Ionic – Press Release

There’s been a lot of hype about Fitbit in the last 6 months, some good, some a bit negative (share prices, loss of market share etc). A lot of the positive spin has focused on a new genuine smartwatch, something Fitbit need to compete with the Apple Watch 3 coming out soon. Well the good news is that it’s here – welcome the Fitbit Ionic – a genuine smartwatch with integrated GPS and wrist based heart rate monitoring.

Fitbit Ionic Review can be found here

Released – August 28th 2017

Fitbit Ionic Smartwatch Logo

The Fitbit Ionic available in several styles and designs

CardioCritic have published an initial review of the Fitbit Ionic here

Fitbit Ionic Features and Functions chart

At CardioCritic the main features and functions that appeal are –

  • Built-in GPS (unlike the Blaze which had to piggy back GPS with your phone)
  • 4+ day Battery life with up to 10 hours using GPS. This is what Fitbit really needed, something to appeal to the Garmin / Polar / Suunto customers
  • Continuous Heart Rate tracking with resting heart rate summary
  • Swim tracking – this is the first Fitbit with proper swim tracking functionality

Customization – Ionic for everyone

Fitbit have designed the Ionic with quick release wrist straps making it easy to customise to suit your mood and style. The watch itself comes in several case colours including Slate Blue, Burnt Orange, Charcoal and Graphite Gray. Wrist straps come in numerous styles including some brightly coloured Sport Bands in Cobalt & Lime and Coral & Blue as well as a stealthy Black & Charcoal. For those looking for a more formal look the Ionic can be fitted with a smart perforated leather band available in Cognac  (brown) or Midnight Blue Horween Leather

Fitbit Ionic Customization options
PLEASE use the links below to check for the lowest online prices with our International Shopping partner.

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Fitbit Ionic – Launch Video

This is Fitbit’s promotional video that accompanied the launch of the Ionic. In their own words “Get the watch designed for your life with Fitbit Ionic—a motivating timepiece packed with fitness guidance, health insights, music storage, apps and more”

Other NEW Fitbit products

Fitbit have been very busy lately. The Fitbit Ionic is one of THREE new products released in the last few days. The other new Fitbit products are the Fitbit Aria 2 intelligent scales and the Fitbit Flyer Bluetooth headphones perfect for use with the new Ionic

External Resources

Posted in News | Tagged , , , ,

Polar M430 available NOW for £189

We have pleasure in announcing the arrival of stock of the Polar M430. The M430 is available to customers in the UK for £189 including Royal Mail 1st Class Signed For delivery. Just click the PayPal button below to order today.

Polar M430 GPS sport watch with wrist based heart rate and 100 sports profiles

Buy Direct from CardioCritic – UK only

[wpecpp name=”Polar M430 Grey / Black” price=”189.00″ align=”left”]   Available NOW – order directly from CardioCritic – £189.00 including delivery (UK only)

 

  • SKU – 90064404
  • Colour – Dark Grey (Black)
  • Price – £189 including UK delivery
  • In the Box – USB charger, warranty details and instructions
  • Delivery – 1 to 2 working days
  • Payment – via PayPal – visitors without PayPal can pay as a guest & use a credit/debit card

Your Polar M430 will despatch same working day for orders placed before 2pm. All orders are sent Royal Mail 1st Class Delivery. Track and Trace numbers are provided at time of despatch. Heart Rate Monitor UK (t/as CardioCritic.com) an Authorised Polar dealer. All products come with a 2 year Polar International warranty.

You are buying the product from …

Heart Rate Monitor UK – Tristan Haskins t/as CardioCritic.com

7 Lincoln Square, Hunstaton, Norfolk, PE36 6DW

We have been authorised Polar dealers for over 15 years. All products we sell are BRAND NEW in box and come with a 2 year Polar International Warranty upheld by Polar directly. When you buy from CardioCritic.com (formerly HeartRateMonitor.co.uk) you are assured an excellent service, quick delivery and the best post sales support available directly from Tristan.

More Polar M430 Resources

Posted in News |

WIN a Polar M430

Win a Polar M430? All you have to do is SUBSCRIBE to my CardioCritic YouTube Channel and let me know you’ve done it by LIKING the Facebook post

Following our detailed review of the Polar M430 the generous people at Polar UK (ext link) and PromotePR  (ext link) have provided another Polar M430 as a prize. This is a BRAND NEW and unused unit.

Simply SUBSCRIBE to my YouTube Channel and LIKE this Facebook post

This competition is open to EVERYONE, ANYWHERE !

The WINNER will be picked at random on 24th November 2017. The winner will be announced on Facebook and on this page by 26th November

Previous WINNER >> In September the Polar M430 was won by Colin Spalding from Hawick.

About the Polar M430

The Polar M430 is everything the brilliant Polar M400 was with the addition of wrist based heart rate sensors – no more chest belt. Designed for athletes from ALL sports with some extra specialist features for RUNNERS the M430 is the perfect all-rounder. Including integrated GPS and off the wrist heart rate plus Bluetooth connection to your smartphone. For more details on this brilliant new GPS Running Watch please visit CardioCritic’s review of the Polar M430

You could win this Polar M430

More Competitions

We’ve been giving test products as prizes for over a year now. Browse previous competitions and the lucky winners on our monthly competitions page

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Posted in Win our Test Products | Tagged , ,

Polar M430 Heart Rate Accuracy

Within 24 hours of the new Polar M430 being released I had received an email asking me HOW ACCURATE is the heart rate? So without further ado I have been testing the Polar M430 in parallel with either a Suunto Spartan Sport HR (chest strap) or the Garmin Edge 820 with ANT+ HR sensor for the last month. I now have over 20 different sessions from short intervals on the turbo trainer and treadmill to 8 mile runs and 30 mile road rides.

I can confirm, as far as my tests have concluded, it’s the BEST wrist based heart rate sensor I have ever used. The latest Garmin Elevate found on the Forerunner 35, Fenix 5 and Vivosmart 3 is very good, as is the TomTom Spark 3 and Adventurer. But this new Polar M430 hasn’t dropped out or spiked ONCE in over 20 test sessions.

CardioCritic has performed more heart rate accuracy tests here.

Heart Rate Graphs

The graphs below were acquired from am 8 mile fast / hard road ride on a local Hunstanton Loop (Glebe Tri Route).

Edge 820 with ANT+ Heart Rate (Chest Strap)

This is the CONTROL heart rate acquired from a BlueLeza ANT+ chest sensor working with a Garmin Edge 820.


Polar M430 Heart Rate (wrist based)

This is the same ride data acquired directly off the wrist from the Polar M430.

Comparison / Overlay of HR Data

This graph shows the Garmin Edge Heart Rate superimposed ABOVE the Polar M430 trace. I did try layering it directly on top … however, they are SO SIMILAR it was hard to see any difference. So the TOP trace is the Edge 820 from CHEST STRAP and the LOWER red line is the heart rate trace acquired off my wrist using the M430.

Conclusions and Summary

I’m not a sports scientist so my judgement is based purely on comparing the graphs of over 20 rides and runs. They all look like these above. They M430 follows the peaks and troughs of the chest strap acquired heart rate with extreme accuracy. I have tested the Polar M430 for over 60 hours and I can say with confidence that I have not had even one spurious spike or erratic drop out. WELL DONE Polar. The Polar M430 WRIST BASED heart rate is EXCELLENT and quite possibly the best off the wrist heart rate sensor on the market.

More Polar M430 Resources


Video Review – Polar M430

Posted in Testing |

Polar M430 Video Review

Here it is … my 20 minute VIDEO REVIEW of the Polar M430 GPS sports watch with built-in heart rate. Full details of the Polar M430 Review can be found here

You will find a full and in-depth product review of the Polar M430 here.

The brilliant new Polar M430 GPS sports watch with wrist based heart rate. The Polar M400 was a fantastic running / all sports watch but the M430 is even better. 6 x LED sensors on the back of the watch provide accurate Heart Rate readings. A super clear sunlight visible screen is easy to view in ALL light conditions. Once paired with your iPhone or Android device it is possible to customise the Sports Profiles so you get the data fields and size of metric that you want for each sport.

Phased Training / Intervals

The Polar M430 supports over 80 different sports profiles, utilizes Polar’s 5 x Heart Rate Sport Zones and can be programmed for technical PHASED TRAINING sessions. The M430 is a strong alternative to the Garmin Forerunner 235 / Forerunner 35 aimed specifically at Runners but suited to athletes of all sports, indoor and out.

Fitness Testing / VO2 Max Estimation

For technical / keen athletes the M430 has a built-in Fitness test that provides a VO2 Max estimate. Keeping track of the results of the fitness test is easy with the Polar Flow web-service. As you get fitter, your VO2 Max score will increase.

Polar Running Index

For dedicated Runners the Polar M430 has a RUNNING INDEX. At the end of every run the M430 awards a score from 0 to 100 based on your age, time and distance of your run. Your Running Index scores are all logged in the Polar Flow web-service for progress reviews at any time.

More Polar M430 Resources

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Posted in Testing |

Normalised / Average Power

I’ve been riding for several months now with the Garmin Edge 820 and the brilliant 4iiii Power Meter crank. A metric I have found very useful is Normalised Power. With the recent release of the excellent new Polar M460 (reviewed here) I thought I should write a few lines to explain this useful power measurement metric often referred to as NP

What is Normalised Power?

It is a power measurement metric developed by Dr Andrew Coggan and Hunter Allen (*1). The TrainingPeaks website gives us the clearest definition of Normalised Power as

Normalized Power (NP) An estimate of the power that you could have maintained for the same physiological “cost” if your power had been perfectly constant, such as on an ergometer, instead of variable power output. NP is used to calculate TSS (Training Stress Score)

Some examples highlighting the difference

Take a look at the following 3 different cycle training rides.

All rides are 1.5 hours. All rides have a recorded AVG Power of 150 Watts

  1. Aim to keep the avg 10s power @ 150W. Use your gears, cadence and effort to maintain 150 Watts throughout
  2. Cycle for 30 mins easy @ 125 Watts – then 30 mins harder @ 200W and finish with 30 mins easy @ 125W
  3. Cycle for 15 mins easy @ 75 Watts – then 15 mins hard @ 225W … repeat x 3 (easy 75W + hard 225W)

Ride 1) for many riders this would be quite easy. Pushing 150 watts throughout. This ride has the Lowest NP e.g 160W

Ride 2) is more challenging, but at least there is only 1 x harder effort in the middle. Moderate NP e.g 195W

Ride 3) is harder again. Yes, the 75 Watt recoveries are easy, but the 225W for 15 mins is far harder. Greatest NP e.g 224W

All rides are of the same duration and the same average power. However, the Normalised Power attributed to each would be quite different with Ride 1 being lowest NP, Ride 2 moderate NP and ride 3 the highest NP. They all have a very different physiological effect on the body and Normalised Power highlights this.

Normalised Power compared to Average Power

The figures below have been taken from my Garmin (not yet built up enough data on the Polar M460…) It is clear from the data below that some rides yield a normalised power in excess of 50% of the average power. These rides are generally interval sessions or, in my case, short power assaults on Strava segments. The normalised power figure is useful when comparing different rides e.g. weather, terrain, solo or group etc.

Normalised Power compared to Average Power

Power Graph of a High NP Ride

The graph below is the power graph of the session above with normalised power @ 212 Watts and average power @ 143 Watts. There are 5 x clear intervals of power pushing in excess of 400 Watts. The first and last efforts peaking around 750W and 640W respectively.

An interval session with a high normalised power

The training objective of this type of ride is to improve my short sprint power endurance (1 minute v hard). The day after this session my quads, buttocks and calves muscles all have that familiar post training ache. Suppose I’d ridden at a constant average power of 143 Watts without any sprints/interval efforts. Would I have aching muscles the next day? No. Would there be any training benefit to a 45 minute session at constant average power of 143 Watts? No. (0ther than a recovery ride)

How does it help training?

The Normalised Power figure is a great way of comparing dissimilar training rides. Helping a rider understand that different physiological systems have been trained is a great way of training smarter. If you’ve not taken any notice of NP before, now is a good time to start taking notice.

From my own training, the rides with Average Power close to Average Normalised Power tend to be cardiovascular / aerobic improvement rides. Those with an Avg NP in excess of 50% of the Avg Power are generally Speed Endurance sessions (intervals). Those in between tend to be my Tempo paced rides. That’s not necessarily going to be the case for everyone …. but it generally works that way for me.

Normalised Power is a useful metric for those looking to improve their cycling performance. Like all training metrics it should be used in conjunction with other training data such as heart rate, cadence, duration etc. The overall aim is to ensure a balanced training programme with a sensible split between work, progression, recovery and rest.

GPS Bike Computers with NP

Two of the best GPS bike computers on the market featuring Normalised Power are the Garmin Edge 820 and the new Polar M460. Pair these up with the power meter of your choice, I recommend the 4iiii Precision Power Meter crank.

External References

  • (*1) Normalised Power was developed by Hunter Allen (ext site) and Andrew Coggan (ext site)
Posted in Training Advice | Tagged , , ,

Pulse Oximeter – Voucher Code

We recently reviewed the excellent TempIR Pulse Oximeter. The UK and USA distributor has given us an exclusive Amazon discount code. The discount is normally around 10%  but does sometimes increase / decrease depending on exchanges rates etc.

Voucher Code Details

PLEASE use the links below for the lowest online prices with our International Shopping partners – Amazon.com & Amazon.co.uk

VOUCHER CODE >> Use this exclusive Amazon Discount Code at checkout – MYY9WDAQ

Check the lowest Amazon prices here

What is a Pulse Oximeter?

A pulse oximeter is a device that measures the percentage of haemoglobin in the blood that is carrying Oxygen – something called Oxygen Saturation and measured as SpO2 (%). We have some more of the BEST Pulse Oximeters here

 

Posted in Promotions | Tagged , ,

New – Garmin VIRB 360 Camera

Garmin have released their latest product in their range of HD personal action camera. The Garmin VIRB 360 does exactly what you’d expect it to with that name. It records 360 degree Video and 360 degree Audio. Never again will you miss that classic action shot because your camera was pointing the wrong way. With the VIRB 360 every precious second from every precious angle will be recorded. The video is simply edited using the free Garmin VIRB mobile app or their VIRB desktop software. One of the key features of the VIRB is it’s Spherical Stabilized 4K Video with just one click (see video example below showing stabilized versus non-stabilized)

VIRB 360 gives all round VIDEO

VIRB 360 for 360 degree Sound

Garmin VIRB 360 Key Features

  • Resolution – up to 5.7K/30fps unstitched and 4K/30fps with in-camera stitching(¹)
  • 4 built-in microphones capture 360-degree audio
  • 4K spherical stabilization² ensures a smooth video regardless of camera movement
  • Built-in sensors provide G-Metrix™ data overlays in 360-degree augmented reality(³)
  • Easy-to-use, free VIRB® Mobile app and VIRB® Edit desktop software let you edit, stabilize, share and add data overlays to videos
  • Constantly record for more than 1 hour on 1 charge(4) — without overheating

360 Degree Video Example

To fully understand just HOW CLEVER this camera is watch the video below on a TABLET or PHONE. Move around and look at whatever you want to !!

Video Example showing 4K Spherical Stabilization

Garmin Press Release

Garmin spokesperson at their news room said

“The VIRB 360 lets you relive personal experiences and share them with your friends – from a different point of view, every single time,” said Dan Bartel, Garmin vice president of global consumer sales. “VIRB 360 owners will no longer need to worry about trying to capture the perfect angle or setting up the perfect shot. The camera’s easy-to-use feature set will make even the most inexperienced users look like experts.”  full Garmin VIRB 360 PRESS RELEASE here

External Resources

 

(1) On-device stitching only up to 4K/30fps
(3) G-Metrix augmented reality overlays are added using mobile or desktop app before sharing
(4) 4K stitched-in-camera default setting

Posted in News | Tagged ,

Polar A370 announced

Just a few weeks after Garmin released their latest fitness tracker, the Vivosmart 3, Polar have a new product announcement too. The Polar A370 was released today from the Finnish HQ. It looks. from first inspection, like Polar have added 24/7 heart rate monitoring to their popular Polar A360.

New Product - Polar have released the new Polar A370

What’s NEW?

Improved Sleep Algorithm

It looks like the key new feature with the Polar A370 that’s not found in the A360 is Polar Sleep Plus. It’s an intelligent sleep system with a clever algorithm that trakcs the timing, amount and quality of sleep taking in to consideration position and wrist movements. Their proprietary algorithm the golden standard of monitoring sleep quality and duration –  polysomnography – as a reference measurement.

All Day Heart Rate monitoring

As well as the new improved sleep tracker the A370 has 24/7 heart rate monitoring. With a minimum sampling rate of every 5 minutes the Polar A370 and associated Polar Flow account, has access to your daily activity intensity. When the A370 detects above “normal” arm movement and during periods of increased heart rate, the sampling rate is increased to give a more accurate representation of activity.

CardioCritic Review

We hope to have a review of the new Polar A370 online very soon, please bear with us. In the meantime, why not revisit our review of the Polar A360 and think – better sleep tracking and all day heart rate monitoring …

Press Release

In their press release Polar said …

“Polar, the leader in wearable sports and fitness technology for 40 years, introduces Polar A370, a fitness tracker with Polar 24/7 continuous wrist-based heart rate and advanced Polar Sleep Plus™ analytics. By combining daily activity goal guidance with Polar Sleep Plus, Polar A370 delivers a complete picture of the user’s fitness based on the intersection of activity, rest and recovery. Polar A370’s sophisticated and premium design features waterproof, vibrant glass lens color touch display and vibrating notifications. Lightweight, interchangeable band colors allow users to customize A370 to their style preference. Polar A370 is available now for pre-order at www.polar.com for $179/€199 and will begin shipping in June. “

Posted in News | Tagged , ,

Garmin release Vivosmart 3

It doesn’t seem that a month can pass without either Garmin or Polar releasing a new fitness product. This month it is the Garmin Vivosmart 3. The Vivosmart 3 replaces the Vivosmart HR. There are cosmetic changes as well as some great new features and functions.

Garmin have taken the already excellent Vivosmart HR and added some great new features like Stress Score, Fitness Age, VO2 Max. As well as these new and innovative functions they’ve slimmed it down in both thickness and weight as well as improving the comfort of the all day Heart Rate wrist sensor.

Quick Links – lowest prices

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Review online now

CardioCritic has reviewed the Garmin Vivosmart 3 and awarded it a 5/5 Star Review rating.

Garmin Press Release

Garmin’s official news page had this to say of the Vivosmart 3 release

“Health conscious customers are becoming more interested in the meaning behind their activity stats,” said Dan Bartel, Garmin vice president of worldwide sales. “As in, I like seeing the data, but how does it correlate to my overall wellbeing? With its new fitness and wellness monitoring tools that tell you things like fitness age and stress level, the vívosmart 3 is able to provide users with those answers, and that is a game changer for the activity tracker industry.”

Full Vivosmart 3 press release here (external site)

Posted in News | Tagged ,

Chain Reaction Cycles Discount Code

Hi Everyone.

Chain Reaction Cycles have extended their May Sale until the end of May. This offer is available at Chain Reaction Cycles stores in the following countries. For each country the discount is shown, eg. USA, get an extra $30 off a $150 spend on their clearance items …

  • USA – $30 off $150
  • UK – £20 off £100
  • AU/CA – $40 off $200
  • Europe – €20 off €100
  • Japan – Y4,000 off Y20,000
  • Russia – 2,000 RUB off 10,000RUB
  • Sweden, Norway, Denmark – 200kR off 1,000 Kr

Please >> CLICK HERE << or click any of the images below. The voucher code to use at checkout is “MID2017

Note > some images on their website show “offer ends May 25th” … this is incorrect. It has been extended to May 30th !!

 

Posted in Promotions | Tagged , ,

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