The New Polar RCX3
Although not all runners like using gadgets whilst out training, but if you are one of the thousands who do - have I got a treat for you!
Last week I was sent the brand new Polar RCX3 and was asked if I'd be so kind as to test it and give my views on Polar's new running/bike heart monitor..........well if i must!
What does it look like?
Looking back through all the other Polar heart monitors i have owned and run into the ground over the past 15 years, the RCX3 has taken a massive lead forward in terms of design and appeal.
With every gadget on the market getting smaller and slimmer, it's clear that Polar didn't want to get left behind and produce a bulky and unaesthically pleasing montior.
So, to make sure both genders are kept happy, the RCX3 is available in black (for him) and white (for her). Of course, there's no reason why either colour watch need be gender specific - but it's nice to have the option.
However, colour alone is not going to win people over. The design, look and feel of the monitor on the wrist are far more important, so the challenge Polar had on thier hands was to manufactuer a monitor that was sleak to look at, yet packed as much functionality in it as rival monitors - the question is have they suceeded?
The RCX3 at work
My first run with the RCX3 was a wet 8 miler in the Cotswolds using the new and improved Sat nav recevier - the G5 - and what an improvment it is.
As good as the old G3 was, compared to the G5 it isn't in the same league. The updated G5 is lighter, smaller and most improved of all - a far better battery life. The G3 guzzled up battery power like it was going out of fashion, but not only is the G3 far more energy efficient - but you can now recharge it via you USB port. This will come as a welcome relief to G3 users who could easily find themselves getting through at least half a dozen AA batteries a month.
On the run, there is a choice of 6 different training views which are easy to switch between - even if your fingers are freezing in the driving wind and rain as mine were. The displays show up to 3 different pieces of feedback, all of which can be amended to suit your preferences. However, I found the default displays more than adequate, with most displays showing at least one (or more) of the following:
- Current Heart Rate
- Current Pace
- Average pace
- Current run time
- Mile Split
- Time of day
Post Run Feedback
As a personal trainer and author of two bestselling running books, I'm fortunate to have a good understanding of running training and what intensity to train at to stimulate specific fitness improvements. The majority of runners however, even using a heart monitor, are often left unsure about whether their training session was hard enough and which category it fell into - easy run/tempo/high intensity etc.
It seems that Polar have recognised this and have added a great piece of feedback to the user after your training session - it tells you what you've done!
So in my case, my intended pace for my 8 miler was a tempo pace - so, hard but not maximum effort. At the end of the run, after keeping an eye on my heart rate I knew I had achieved it but it came as a pleasant surprise when I stopped the watch and it congratulated me on my tempo session.
This is a brilliant addition for runners training for a 10k, half marathon or marathon as the feedback will bring comfort that you have achieved what you set out to achieve.
To sum up........
All in all, I am very impressed with the RCX3.
As amazing as their flagship RS 800cx monitor is, for most runners it contains features which they will rarely use, which is what is so great about the RCX3. Polar have come up with a sexier looking watch, simplified it with features all recreational runners will find helpful and improved the accessories it comes with - both the G5 GPS sensor and the S3 stride sensor are incredibly accurate and more lightweight than ever.
With all your training information easily uploaded to your PC via the Polar Websync (see my recent tempo run here) the RCX3 is the perfect monitor for any recreational runner looking to keep track of performance without unnecessary and overcomplicated features.
Tempted? Visit www.heartratemonitor.co.uk and put your order in.
Or, there is another way to get your hands on one.........
Win a Polar RCX3
To celebrate the launch of the Polar RCX3, Polar are giving all fitFAQs subscribers the chance to win one.
All you need to do is sign up for the fitFAQs training guides by clicking here. It really is as easy as that!
Then all you have to do is sit back and keep your fingers crossed. Your name will go into a hat and we'll let you know if you're the lucky one.