Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Testing GPS Watch TomTom Runner Cardio

It was purchased about few months a go. I've found it very helpful especially as it can detect heart rate without strap, or strapless heart rate monitor (HRM).

easy to read when running, even without glasses
strapless integrated HRM, using light sensor
zone running: Heart Rate, Pace, Speed,
simple functional
race against previous run
good looking, fashionable
can be used as everyday watch
audible alert, vibration alert

no ambient temperature
no barometric / atmospheric pressure

Temperature and air mass or air pressure can affect runner performance. As air temperature rise, runner will sweat more and reducing water volume in blood, and the heart will work harder to pump more blood, so your heart rate will be higher. Lower atmospheric pressure will reduce oxygen, thus heart rate will be higher. Higher heart rate means higher effort to run, more tired, and more risk for heart disease.

I've found that running route with less air pollutant (such as vehicle smoke) and plenty plants, will lower hear rate as easier to get oxygen. Drink water also help to lower heart rate. It is about 1 tea spoon to 1 table spoon of water at about every 500 meters.

Below photo shows TomTom Runner Cardio with docking, ready to connect with computer to recharge and   upload data. It can be recharged also with any charger that has USB connection.

Below is a display from TomTom My Sport webpage, showing hear rate and speed. Elevation also can be shown, but the chart can have only 2 graphs shown at once. It shows also a map of running route I've taken and has detail where was maximum speed and where was maximum heart rate.

Before I purchase this TomTom Runner Cardio, I have already compared it to Garmin 220, both has about same price. Jakarta price for TomTom Runner Cardio is about US$ 308, while Garmin price is about US$ 292 including heart rate chest strap. 

Another option is Garmin Fenix, Jakarta price is about US$ 404 including heart rate chest strap. Garmin Fenix has temperature and barometric measurement, but the price is way too high relative too TomTom and still using chest strap technology.

The last option is Garmin Foreunner 620, it has VO2 max calculator. VO2 max is maximum oxygen consumption and it reflects your aerobic physical fitness. Jakarta price of this Garmin Forerunner is about US$ 375. But it still using strap technology for heart rate sensor. And there are many internet sites available to calculate your VO2 max based on your running distance, time, heart rate, body weight, and of course your sex. Hopefully in the future TomTom Mysport website has VO2 max calculation based on running result uploaded from the watch, and suggest the runner what to do for the next training based on VO2 max calculation result.  

As I don't like using chest strap to monitor my heart rate while running, so then I have decided to buy TomTom Runner Cardio.

Some people comment that chest strap heart rate monitor is better then optical LED like the one used by TomTom. But so far I have found no problem with my optical heart rate sensor, possibly as I fit my watch tight enough on my wrist like TomTom manual describes. But in case that optical system failed, this TomTom Cardio watch can use an external heart rate chest strap also, and compatible with many chest straps that available in the market.

Below is my record of fun run at Ragunan Zoo. Thick vegetation doesn't distract GPS satelite reception. Fun run at Ragunan zoo while watching animals and enjoy rich oxygen and cool air produced by thick plantation. More oxygen means lower heart rate (beats per minute), less risk for heart disease. This is a long distance run (10.49 km) with less effort and entertaining, with total time 1:37:55.

Thick vegetation at Ragunan was helping me to reduce my heart rate as plenty oxygen available in the atmosphere. Ragunan zoo ticket price is only about US$ 0.4/person plus US$ 0.6 flat rate for car park.

As we can see on chart, correlation between elevation to my heart rate. My heart rate was lower when I descending, and heart rate higher when climbing hill. I was using endure zone heart rate setting menu, and TomTom vibration alert and audible alert remained me to limit my heart rate within this zone by adjusting my pace. Minimum elevation is about 39 meters, and maximum elevation is 57 meters above sea level.

Endure heart rate zone is about 70 - 80% of maximum heart rate. This is the aerobic zone, it will improve your cardiovascular and respiratory system and increase the size and strength of your heart. TomTom Runner Cardio has capability to calculate your specific heart rate zone with input data such as: gender, age, weight, height.

There are five heart rate zones for training intensity:
1. Easy zone, 40-60% of your maximum heart rate: usually for warm-up and cool down, 85% of calories burned in this zone are fats, 10% carbohydrates, and 5 % protein. You can achieve it by walking fast, do it every day for at least 1 hour.

2. Fat Burn zone, 60-70% maximum: moderate tempo training, great for weight loss, fat calories is still 85%, same as above.

3. Endure or aerobic zone, 70-80% maximum: moderate to high tempo training to improve your lung and heart capacity, More calories are burned with 50% from fat, 50% from carbohydrates, and less then 1% from protein. This zone is suitable for long distance run training, this zone is the most preferable for training. Can be done almost everyday with about 30 - 60 minutes per session.

4. Speed  zone, 80-90% maximum: high tempo training to improve your speed and fitness, This is a high intensity zone burning more calories, 15 % from fat, 85% carbohydrates, less than 1% protein.

5. Sprint zone, 90-100% maximum: mostly used as part of interval training, only for short periods, only do it if you are in very good shape and have been cleared by a physician to do so. Calories are from: 90% carbohydrates, 10% fat, less than 1% protein.