Tag Archives: heart rate

iThlete Unveils iThlete Pro Site for Tracking HRV

If you read my recent blog post comparing a few iOS HRV applications, you may recall that I ended up choosing the iThlete app for monitoring my HRV from now on. Well, iThlete just took it up a notch with the unveiling of their new iThlete-pro website service. This feature now puts them head-and-shoulders above the other two applications with the ability to track your HRV over time in a usable format.

The iThlete-pro service is not free though. You can subscribe for $5/month or $50 annually. They also offer a trial subscription to try it out for couple weeks.

ithlete-pro website

ithlete-pro website

The site consists of a bunch of “widgets” that you can hide, display or arrange any way you like. There is a timeline trend graph which plots all your daily readings over several selectable time ranges. This allows you to view how your sleep, training and other subjective slider readings compare to your daily HRV. You can also hide and display which settings to view in the graph. Up until now I have had to create a graph like this on my own using my QlikView app, but now I can just pop into this site and see it anytime. This is a huge time savings for me.

My favorite chart is the “Training Guide” graph which plots your readings on a 4 quadrant chart of recovery vs. activation. This gives you a personal guide to where you are in relation to your other readings and how you need to proceed in regard to training. I need to spend a little more time with this one and understand it a little better. Particularly with regard to the “activation” piece.

All of the graphs are linked, so if you choose a data point on one it is highlighted on the others. The HRV Reading viewer widget shows the currently selected reading, similar to what you see in the application. The nice thing is you can read any comments you made for any outlier data points. So for example, you can see that by me have a few glasses of wine can really dump my HRV into the toilet. The two red dots in the far upper-left where two nights I had several glasses of wine while on vacation in Lake Placid. Hmmm…I guess too much alcohol is not a good thing huh?

ithlete-pro-TrainingGuide- What a few glasses of wine can do...

ithlete-pro-TrainingGuide- What a few glasses of wine can do…

Finally, the bottom offers some other widgets for providing feedback, iThlete blog posts and tweets, syncing to your FitBit and Exporting your data. I also tested out the Feedback and they responded within 24 hours to my question. I would guess they will probably be adding some more widgets as time proceeds. Hopefully they will add some additional activity monitors such as Garmin or Training Peaks. You can also select your color scheme and background image of your sport of choice.

ithlete-pro Feed parts

ithlete-pro Feed parts

This site is really great and I think I will probably end up forking out the $5/ month during my training season to use it. It saves me a bunch of time in charting this on my own, so it is worth it to me. This feature really blows away the features that the Sweetbeat folks promised but never implemented on their website. Finally something to garner some real good information from all that HRV data.

 

CyclOps PowerCal with Heart Rate Review

Update 7/12/2013: Please check out my updated review additions to the CycleOps(now PowerTap) PowerCal unit update post here…

I am fairly at how fairly accurate this unit is based on that it uses heart rate and no calibration. It is fairly consistent, so if it is all you are using to gauge your workouts, then it is worth the money. If you are comparing your numbers to more accurate numbers then it will not be totally on the mark.
I have done a side-by-side comparison of this unit with the Kinetic inRide on my Road Machine Trainer(accuracy +/- 1%) and the Powercal is usually about -10-12kw below the inRide for the Avg power for a workout. Not too bad.
One other thing I noticed that when your heart rate doesn’t increase as normal for a given workout(usually a sign of overtraining and time for recovery), then the power measure is affected and the readings are lower than normal. Whereas with a real power meter the power would be more accurate and just your heart rate would be lower.
Now that I have a baseline for this unit from comparing it with my trainer, I can transfer that to my outdoor rides without a very expensive power meter. So if you want power with a little less investment this may work for you.

cycleopsPowerCal

cycleopsPowerCal

Gear Review Update: PowerTap(formerly CycleOps) PowerCal

This is an update since my previous gear review post on this product and also the post where I compare the power output versus the Kinetic inRide power. It appears that the PowerCal company is now PowerTap instead of the former CycleOps. The weather has been very conducive to riding outdoors for the last few months, so I really don’t have much data on comparing this device to another power meter. It seems pretty consistent and it is all I have to go by, so for me that works.

cycleopsPowerCal

cycleopsPowerCal

Biking and Power

One area that I do see an extreme difference is when comparing to other riders on equivalent segments in Strava. Below is one example of a speed run segment in my area shown below. My top result is highlighted below in between others for that segment. As you can see for roughly equivalent speeds, I putting out 201 watts compared to everyone else running around 270 to 290 watts. Hmmm? 70 to 90 watts off? Now most of these powers were calculated using Strava’s algorithms, but the entry just above me used an actual power meter of some sort. That power meter seems more inline with what Strava is calculating for others compared to the PowerCal. So again, while the PowerCal is consistent, I don’t believe the accuracy of wattage is very good.

 

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Problems on the Run

I also use my PowerCal for monitoring my heart rate while running. This is one area that I have had the most issue with this product. It appears to “flip out” frequently at different times during my runs. What I mean is that the heart rate just goes crazy and maintains a spiked reasding well outside my max heart rate. The first couple times this happened I kind of panicked at first, thinking I was having a heart attack or something. Eventually I realized it was just the unit. I always use a gel for the contact patches to help eliminate these spikes, but it doesn’t really help. I have also tried new battery, tightening the strap and taking the unit off for a few minutes. The latter seems to have the best affect on resolving the issue. You can see from the heart rate graphs below from my runs what this looks like. The strange thing is that it doesn’t occur on bike rides. It could possibly be from the up and down motion of running.

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