Cold(er) season, Polar H10 and moisture

It’s been a while since I reported on the Polar H10 abnormal HR reporting in the first minutes of the running session, but not it happened again and I remember why I said to myself that I’ll use The Polar Verity Sense or Polar OH1 for all and not most of my runs.

A flow of abnormal readings in the first 10 minutes of the run

I knew this can happen, it happened several times when the combination of colder weather and not properly moisturized (use plenty of water or ECG gel) skin generates this kind of issue – and that’s not limited to Polar, it happened as well with Garmin’s HRM.

Zoom in the 10 mins start – with HR going up to 174 bpm and down to 80 bpm
The abnormal data can be also seen in the HRV data log

Key takeaways:

  • Use chest HR strap only after you properly moisture it – gel might be better than water
  • If the previous point seems too complicated (because “properly” may mean a lot), use the Polar Sense or OH1, as they are not hit by this limitation (they have other minor limitations as reading inertia, but unless you are doing short and very hard intervals, you’ll be safe)

Other references:

PS: I’m enjoying the Vantage V2 use as a daily watch and following the Half Marathon plan from Polar – it’s not as exciting as Stryd’s plans or other power based plans, but at least takes into account the other exercises (cycling for example) as load and I like it so far. The battery life is not great (I mean I have to recharge it every 3-4 days, which might be stressing after the long periods with Garmin Fenix 6X, but I can live with that).

- Polar Vantage V2 FW 2.1.1
- Stryd pod FW 2.1.16
- Polar H10 FW 3.1.1

Author: Liviu Nastasa

Passionate about software development, sociology, running...definitely a geek.

3 thoughts

  1. My question is: Why using the polar? I am interested in a polar, vantage 2. but I am still unsure why not a Fenix. The Fenix has way more functionality

    1. I believe that choosing Vantage V2 or Fenix depends a lot on your priorities and preferences. For example, I like more the looks of Vantage V2 – to me, it is more stylish and easy to wear compared with the rugged and bulkier Fenix 6X.

      But that doesn’t mean that the choice is that simple – Fenix has the sapphire glass and is better suited for outdoor use (has also the offline maps and a better ABC orientation).

      As a summary (from my point of view):
      Fenix has:
      – better battery (especially 6X)
      – maps for outdoor navigation (and sapphire glass for some versions of their watches)
      – Ant+ support (it may be important when you use many sensors or indoor trainers)
      – payment NFC, offline device music – if those are important for you
      – Garmin Connect is a more open platform – better integration with other 3rd party platforms (TrainingPeaks, FinalSurge, etc)
      – more software updates (that’s attractive for a geek like me) during the lifetime

      Vantage V2 has:
      – better looks (I know that’s subjective), is lighter
      – Polar is more intuitive (user friendly) when explaining your progress or activities – Garmin tends to throw a lot of data to you, but the meaning is not always clear
      – better sleep and recovery analysis

      In terms of software updates, Polar had 2-3 firmware updates in the last 18 months, and with the Vantage series Polar built a reputation of not supporting the devices for longer than 2 years (for example the Vantage V owners didn’t get any of the goodies of Vantage V2 or Grit X or Grit X Pro). Now, with the Grit X Pro, Polar is porting all of the features to Vantage V2, but we will see if they will go beyond that.

      Garmin has almost monthly releases (or at least beta versions), adding more features or improvements over the life of the device (especially Fenix series), so you may feel that you get more for your investment. On the other hand, Garmin has so many features and you’ll see very often people complaining about the broken functionality with new updates.

      Anyway, in the end, as I said, it’s a personal preference based on so many factors. If you had Polar devices before (have your all your historical data in Flow) and like Vantage V2 – it’s a ver good device. Otherwise, if you can pay a bit more (Fenix 6 has now good offers though), Garmin can offer more functionality in a well supported device.

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