Heart Rate Drift Tests without a watch?

  • Creator
  • #43693
    Chris A.

    Could someone break down the benefits of having a watch for heart rate drift tests vs. just using a chest monitor and phone? Is it mainly just not having to carry a phone, or are there other good reasons to consider a fancy watch?



  • Participant
    mzkarim on #43694

    Can a phone read HR data from a chest strap directly without a watch? I thought a watch was required to receive data from the chest strap and send it to the phone.

    OwenFW on #43695

    You can use any Bluetooth HR monitor without a watch. The added functionality of a watch is that it’s easier to look at the display without needing to carry something in your hand, which is annoying. But if you’re on a treadmill, a watch truly does not offer anything a phone app doesn’t. Well, maybe cadence but watches aren’t great at that anyway. The Polar Hr monitors and accompanying apps are pretty great.

    Anonymous on #43698

    What Owen said!

    mzkarim on #43699

    If the goal is to keep HR within a certain range, seeing your HR on a watch would be much more convenient. I’m not sure you can see HR data in real time on the phone like you can on a watch.

    Chris A. on #43701

    Thanks, all! This is helpful. Impressed and humbled by the quick replies 🙂

    Rachel on #43702

    The strap/phone combo worked fine for me until ski season, then I needed a watch. Maybe if you can find an app with heart rate alarms you could put it in your pocket but I had to have mine in my hand so I could see what my HR was.

    Anonymous on #43705

    Also, you do not need a “fancy” watch.

    The features to look for are:

    1. An HRM (via chest strap, not a wrist monitor);
    2. GPS;
    3. Custom workouts;
    4. Barometer (if you think you might use it for navigation).

    After those, it’s all just (expensive) bells and whistles.

    todd.struble on #43747

    I’ll just throw in a personal experience with the Wahoo app and chest strap as a caveat (in case that’s the software you’re using). I believe this would only apply to this software, and even then maybe they’ve fixed it by now. My experience was from 2 years ago.

    I have the Wahoo TICKR-X heartrate strap, and before I got a watch, I used the Wahoo app to record heartrate data. This combo did NOT work for the Pa:HR feature in Training Peaks if you are trying to do the outdoor test. (I suspect it would have been OK for a treadmill test but I didn’t have access to a treadmill).

    For the outdoor test done on a track, I’d get crazy Pa:Hr numbers like -50% or +20%. It took me a while to figure out it was because this hardware and software combo sampled data excessively often, leading to noise in the speed channel. So even if I Was running at a steady slow pace (around 11:30 minute miles if I remember right!) it would sample me at 20 minute mile, then a 5 minute mile, then everything in between, all within a second. It would average out correctly, but for whatever reason the Training Peaks Pa:Hr algorithm would not handle it well. You could even see in the Training Peaks data that the pace and heartrate data was full of major spikes.

    Once I got a watch and recorded through that, my data looked way more normal and the Pa:HR numbers made sense. I haven’t used the Wahoo app much since, but perhaps they’ve added features to allow users to smooth out the sampling rate.

    Garret on #43759

    An outdoor drift test means using GPS data for pace calculations.

    It’s possible the GPS accuracy of a phone isn’t as good a watch. Depending on where you have placed the phone that can impact accuracy too. (See the post on the main site about GPS accuracy on a running track).

    My experience has been the GPS accuracy of my phone isn’t as good as my watch.

    But that’s not a reason for a fancy watch. Check out the various comparisons of GPS accuracy from folks who regularly review GPS watches and you’ll find watches with perfectly good accuracy that don’t cost a fortune.

    Anonymous on #43773

    Good point. It makes sense that a Garmin device, for example, would have more accurate information and/or calculations than an Apple device. The former is a GPS-focused company.

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