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  • Those garmin HR watches and fitness v freshness etc
  • ferrals

    Just wondering if anyone has one of those garmin (or similar) watches that constantly monitor HR and whether they use them as an actual aid to training. The fact that the vast majority of us have hectic lives and its been discussed several times on various trianing threads that recovery days aren’t often recovery days as you are catching up with chores/ DIY etc, and on average days in between planneds training sessions you might be doing stuff that is physically taxing.

    Is there a way of using those HR watches to fit into fitness and freshness graphs or similar so you have a better feal for how rested you actually are?

    Premier Icon BoardinBob

    Vivoactive 3 here. Really useful to see sleep us the stress level stuff is cool. I’ve got strava summit so the HR stuff feeds into that for fitness and freshness etc which has been handy for tracking progress. I’m a numbers and stats geek so I like it

    Premier Icon baldiebenty

    I have a Fenix 5, I try to use it for this sort of thing BUT a few sessions in the gym where I forgot my HR chest strap showed me just how totally and shockingly awful the HR detection in the watch is if you are doing absolutely anything at all with your hands or arms. Same workout in the gym HR in the 70-90 range with the wrist based detection, 110-160+ with the chest strap.

    As far as I’m concerned that means that I might as well disregard the HR tracking if I’m doing anything involving my hands which pretty much includes anything that could be interpreted as taxing on a “rest” day such as chores or DIY.

    Vivoactive 3 here too.

    The optic HR monitor is shite for activity, it’s fine for day to day monitoring sleep and sitting around, but dreadful for running or biking. I can go for a really slow long run with the missus, and it sits around 165bpm, which is nonsense. It was the same on the vivoactive hr I used to have.

    I have bought a garmin chest strap for biking and running, it’s night and day better.

    Brilliant watches though, love mine.

    I did use fitness and freshness, but tbh I kinda have the same weekly exercise routine all year, and don’t ever really aim to ‘peak’ for anything, so don’t really bother now.


    Wot they said.

    About the only useful thing I get from the optics is rhr tracker

    It’s pretty good and generally correlates with how I feel.

    I normally sit between 50-52.

    Cumulative fatigue builds and it drops down to 46-48 or the day after a hard effort it’ll sit 55-58.

    The day after 10 under the Ben it showed 74.

    All of that pretty much told me nothing other than put a number on how I felt.

    I still like it as a tracker though. Far more Convienant than the old edge 500

    Premier Icon mashr

    Echo all of the above, but with a Vivomove HR

    Premier Icon jam bo

    Optical HR sensor on my Apple watch seems a lot more stable and reliable than on the Garmin 235 it replaced.

    there is a chrome app (Elevate) for strava that gives you a lot of the paid for functionality for free.

    Premier Icon robertpb

    I use a Vivosport, it’s pretty accurate it tracks within one or two beats of my Polar m450 when out on the MTB or gravel bike. Once in a while it drops out for a minute or so, it’s worst feature is stairs climbed, the wind seems to affect it a lot.

    To make these type of watches measure correctly I have found, make sure there isn’t any hair under the sensor, need to shave, and I wear it on the inside of my wrist. If I put on the outside it’s all over the place but then I found the Scosche I have was worse on any place I put it on my arm.


    @jam_bo – I already use elevate, find it really useful. I guess I’m wondering about how to interface other bacground stresses with actual training to get a picture of whether I’m just feelin lazt or whether I should actually rest.

    All of that pretty much told me nothing other than put a number on how I felt

    I guess I then have to decide if £150 is worth having a number rather than just a feeling then… probably not!

    Premier Icon dissonance

    As per others I find it fairly useless for anything other than cardio work and even then its flawed for interval training.
    For example got some climbing in on Sunday which barely registered on the charts but left me feeling creamcrackered.
    Find it useful as a rough guide but overall for what I do it doesnt work that well.

    Premier Icon ahsat

    I find mine works well. Fenix 5S. Really noticed that the rest periods are are about right, particularly since I’ve picked my exercise up. However, I must remember to tighten the strap a notch in the gym (oddly don’t seem to have the same issue on the bike) and obviously it doesn’t know that it’s been ‘leg day’ (a year on from ACL surgery, every day is leg day!) so you do also need to listen to your own body and not just the watch data. That said I find it a good general guide.

    Premier Icon BoardinBob

    HRM on my Vivoactive 3 is fine when cycling but in the gym its miles off. I can only assume its because I’m doing more with my arms and I’m really sweaty


    I find the OHR only really bad for the sweaty indoor activities. Squash and Footy for me. Outdoor, running/cycling its not too bad. I use the HRM strap indoor.
    The latest 945 has a newer SPo2 OHR which might prove better.

    Would love one for the better mapping and garmin pay, but its loads of money and what I really want is for trailforks to be added.

    Premier Icon jamesoz

    My Garmin Instinct tracks my chest strap fairly well. However the stress reading always seems low.
    Apparently my average stress score is 21-23 for the last few months. Today I only had 2 mins of high stress despite having to deal with a couple of tricky intermittent faults at work on some critical equipment, some London driving then nearly falling out of the loft hatch above the stairs at home. Following which I lost my temper trying to get a double sleeping bag back in its bag.

    Premier Icon Kryton57

    My Garmin Instinct

    I had it in mind earlier to post that an Instinct connects to an HR strap, besides all its other use-fullness.  Other than that, I do have a vivosmart on the other wrist because I wear “proper” watches for work, for which I’d refer to the comment above – to tracks day to day sleep and HR, but the HR isn’t accurate enough for my cycling workouts.

    I cope with the vivosmart but the 4 day battery life is a pain compared to the Instincts 14 days.


    Happy to hear that others wearing wrist-based HR monitors are not finding great results. I have worn a vivoactive HR for a few years now and I think the HR tracking has gone a bit batshit.

    For a while I used it as an indicator, but realise that using it for active training isn’t ideal.

    Will be getting a proper HRM chest strap but will still use the watch for day to day tracking and sleep monitoring.

    Premier Icon eddiebaby

    My 235HR seems OK and reads pretty close to a chest band. I do have a lot of extra bits in my wrists though and the watch is very sensitive to how tightly it is fitted. RHR is the prime function althoug I do keep an eye on my heart rate whne ridi. CHasing down a cruising roadie on the SS on Monday I get to over 210 bmp at peak. I’d rather know if I’m doing that…


    Someone on here recently mentioned they used ithlete as way to better gauge recovery and what type of training they should be doing on a particular day. I’ve not looked into the claims they make but it might be worth a look.

    Premier Icon BoardinBob

    make sure there isn’t any hair under the sensor, need to shave,

    Aye, so this is a game changer!

    Shaved the back of my wrist before my gym session this morning. I also wear a MyZone chest strap as the gym has that system and for the first time my Vivoactive tracked alongside the MyZone chest strap for the entire workout. I’m not even that hairy but beforehand the Vivoactive could be 40-50bpm different from the chest strap but it matched to within 1 or 2 bpm today.

    because I wear “proper” watches for work

    What do you do at work that requires a watch other than a Garmin? I thought you were in sales?.

    Bob, I’ll try that!.

    Premier Icon Kryton57

    What do you do at work that requires a watch other than a Garmin? I thought you were in sales?.

    Garmin’s not shiny is it.  Sales people need shiny watches. 🙂

    Ah, a used car salesman. Explains a few things… 🙂

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