I want to use this blog also to present some innovative technology I come across or help develop as I think modern sports scientists need to be aware of novel technologies and be able to make informed decisions on which tools they need to do their work the best they can.
Of course It is not the intention of this blog to be some form of advertisement for products/methods/procedures. The aim of the blog is in fact to provide unbiased information. When a possible conflict of interest could be present I will clearly describe my relationship with any company.
The product I am presenting in this article is genuinely exciting and improves our ability to monitor running sessions. Hence the reason to present some information on this blog.
I had the pleasure in the past months to work with Polar Electro (www.polar.fi) on this innovative technology which will definitively help many sports scientists.
The Polar RS800 SD is a novel running computer that allows the measurement of Heart Rate and Heart Rate variability synchronised with running mechanics parameters (stride frequency/length/pace etc etc.).
This is really a great product, running distance is measured during each run using a very simple Stride Sensor without the need of GPS. This means you can measure your running efforts also indoor.
It is very precise and extremely reliable and valid as demonstrated in our study presented at the American College of Sports Medicine annual conference in New Orleans last May.
The combination of HR and mechanical information allowed the development of a novel running monitoring tool called Running Index, this index can be measured in each running session and can provide indications of how training is affecting both fitness and running mechanics.
Furthermore, the integration with Adidas in the Fusion system (clothing/shoes/running computer; www.adidas-polar.com) allows each athlete to use this technology attaching the chest receiver to t-shirts or bras and enclosing the Stride Sensor into the shoe insole.
Finally with this technology a coach can email the athlete a training programme indicating not only Heart Rate zones, but also pacing strategies that the athlete can follow on the running computer.
Each training session can also be analysed looking at a combination of HR and mechanical data:
All in all, a great tool to use for training planning and monitoring and also for research use. We will be publishing soon the results of our research studies validating and using this technology.
Disclaimer: The author of this article is a consultant to Polar Electro.