Setting Expectations

rock_and_roll_halfI am within three weeks from my goal spring marathon and it’s time for me to start second… And third guessing myself. Time to think about setting my goal.
This race is going to be interesting. I’m super-excited because it is an inaugural marathon (I haven’t run an inaugural race before) in the city next to mine. It’s practically a hometown marathon. I’m also looking at the race with trepidation. I have had a nice dose of humility this past fall.

A little bit of history…

I was trying to train up with my eyes on the big prize – a Boston Qualifying time.
I was hitting training hard. Harder than ever before and something started happening. While my training runs seemed like I was getting strong and my Garmins showed my estimated VO2Max to be higher than I imagined, I started to fall apart at races.
It all started with the Rock ‘n Roll Half Marathon in Virginia Beach.
I had some issues in training. Early warning signs like a shin splint. I was pushing through it and decided that I would run the half marathon at a 7:15-7:26 pace. 7:26 being the BQ time for my age group. I started out on track with my first mile at 7:19 and my second 7:12, but it wasn’t coming naturally. Between the heat, humidity, and my shin splint, I was having to push myself. I held on through the 5K mark slipping to a 7:30. Then things just got ugly – 7:48, 8:11, 8:35, 8:48, all the way to 9:28 on my slowest lap. I was having to stop at aid stations to get water. Then I had to just stop and walk intermittently.
I wound up with a time of 1:51:27 – Rock ‘n Roll Half. This was a typical workout time, not a race.

 And things kept going downhill…

A week later, I ran an 8K and turned in another poor performance, albeit much better than the week before.
Two weeks later, I was running another half marathon. This time, I decided to just keep my pace around 7:30. Try to just turn in a respectable race that is close to my goal marathon pace.
I was starting to feel that there might be hope. I was holding the pace pretty well and felt like I had a good rhythm. I was in the zone and the miles ticked off until mile 10. Almost the second I crossed the mile 10 mark, my hip gave out. I’ve never had the sensation before, but it was quite distressing.
I never realized how complex it was to force your leg to track on a swing. I learned that morning. I forced myself through the last 5K of the race.

And the wheels fell off…

A couple weeks later, I was scheduled to run a challenge of a 5K on a Saturday with a Half Marathon the next day. This was a really important race for me. The half marathon course actually runs in front of my house and it is really exciting for me to have a real “home race.” I ran the 5K on Saturday and it was slow, but expected. I was trying to heal up for the half marathon Sunday.
Sadly, I woke up Sunday and was hurting as I got out of bed. As I stood in the shower, my legs were shaking and I could barely climb the stairs. I was done. There was no way that I could run the race. I bundled up and walked outside later that morning to wave at my friends running by.
I then deferred my goal marathon for a year.

Rebuilding…

I stopped running for a month and hit the pool for aqua-jogging. I also started to ride my bike and used my elliptical. I finally started to jog a couple miles here and there. After rebuilding for a few months, I am finally at the point where I feel that I can finish the race. But, I am in no shape to attempt a Boston Qualifying time. It’s time to reset my expectations.

Setting Expectations

I have a few basic principles that I try to follow. I am not perfect at doing so and have to often remind myself of these things, but I do attempt live by these views.
  1. Be audacious, not ridiculous – I believe that a goal should be big. There are two ways to set a goal. It can be tiny and easily achievable to build confidence. Or it can be a giant challenge that will strain your abilities to their fullest. I try to do the latter, but sprinkle some of the former on the path to the big goal.
  2. Don’t be in too big of a hurry – One thing about having a big goal is that it should be very difficult to achieve. By its nature, it should take a while. Why rush it? Consider the fact that once you achieve it, you will have to find another goal.
  3. Find satisfaction on the way – You often can sustain your journey by turning in little victories. There is a philosophy that it’s about the journey, not the destination. There is a lot of truth to this. I really try to find the joy in workouts. Try a different route. Tackle a tough workout. Find a new running buddy.
  4. Your goal is for you. Don’t focus on others – Whatever your goal is, it is your’s. Don’t worry about someone else’s. If you are trying to break 5 hours, get a BQ, or break 3 hours, it doesn’t matter. Your goal is meaningful to you. You are competing against yourself. Very finish is a victory.
Those are my thoughts and what I have been trying to use for perspective as I get ready to tackle my second marathon. I’m not always successful and a master at second guessing myself, but I am trying to grow.
How about you? What are your goals? How do you tackle them? What do you recommend? Please comment and share.

Review: Mio VELO

Heart rate is an important part of training for many athletes. It is an invaluable governor using biofeedback to keep them from trying to do too much at a time. Until recently, this training was accomplished using a strap worn around the chest. For many however, this strap was both inconvenient and aggravating. Worse, it causes chafing for some. As an alternative, optical heart rate monitors that can be worn around the wrist were created. Sadly, these are notoriously inaccurate. That is until Mio Global came onto the market first with the LINK, and now the VELO.

I received a Mio VELO and have really tried to put it though its paces. Surprisingly, it has met the challenge with aplomb.

velo-worn

Wear

The Mio VELO has a very comfortable silicone band. It is very easy to forget you are wearing it. It wraps around the wrist, through a buckle and has some posts to hold it in the band. This system works very well keeping it in place, but with winter clothing, you can sometimes accidentally unsnap the posts as you pull sleeves up and down. That can be a slight nuisance when it happens, but with the two part fastening system, you will still be getting a solid heart rate reading.

mio-velo-strap

Paired with a GPS Watch

I first wanted to pair it with a watch and compare the results to my Garmin setup of a 920XT with the HRM Run heart rate monitor. I used a Polar M400 and had no trouble pairing the VELO at all. I then ran several times and the results lined up. Here is an example 10 mile run with surges with the Polar results on the top and the Garmin on the bottom.

polar-garmin-velo-hr

The figures are very much in line with one another. If you look at the actual graphs below in the same order, you will see that the tracking was very close. There was a slight drop early with the Polar/VELO combo (about 1 minute in), but that often happens even with chest straps. Overall, I am happy with the results.

polar-garmin-mio-velo-graph

Paired with Android

The next test I wanted to conduct was pairing the Mio VELO with a smartphone. I started with Android for this purpose. Over the course of a couple weeks, I ran with both RunKeeper and MapMyRun. I had no trouble connecting the VELO and it work well in both apps as seen below:

velo-android

Paired with Windows Phone

I wanted to keep testing the VELO with different devices and next paired it with Windows Phone and the app Track Runner. The results were interesting. The mapping and pace were both disasters in the app, but the heart rate looked good.

windows-phone-mio-velo

 

Pairing with bike speed and cadence

One of the really interesting additions to the VELO is the ability to bridge Ant+ speed and cadence sensors over Bluetooth Low Energy (BTLE). This is a very welcome feature. It allows you to turn your smart phone into a bike computer. All you need is the Mio VELO and a handlebar mount like the one below from Amazon.

It is really easy to set up the VELO for Ant+ sensors. Open the Mio Go app on your iPhone or Android device. Select one of the bike profiles and add your speed and cadence sensor. You may want to hold the bike up and crank the pedal with one hand to get the devices to register. Interestingly, when I added my separate Garmin speed and cadence sensors, they were picked you as Bike 2, but they registered fine.

mio-go-pairing-speed-cadence

Once you have added the speed and cadence sensors to the app, it updates the Mio VELO and as far as your smartphone knows, you have bluetooth speed and cadence sensors. It’s really quite clever. They also worked very well when I tried them working out. Both Strava and MapMyRide had no trouble picking them up in the apps.

strava-map-my-ride-velo

It also worked really well on my trainer with MapMyRide. It even showed that you will have a zero speed and cadence for a while when you forget to stop recording a ride when finished (operator error).

mio-velo-map-my-ride

I was able to track speed, cadence, and heart rate in one shot. Just like it was a bike computer. I even was using the VELO to feed my heart rate into my Garmin Edge 500 bike computer at the same time. The VELO does an outstanding job of broadcasting signals.

Conclusion

For an athlete who is tracking runs with a smartphone and wants to add in heart rate training and/or speed and cadence information from a bike; or for an athlete who can’t stand wearing chest straps, I think the VELO is an outstanding product at a reasonable price. It is very comfortable and does a great job of pairing with devices. I even was surprised to suddenly see a heart rate reading appear on a Polar Loop that I was also testing during a run. It picked up the signal from the Mio VELO with no interaction from me at all. You can find the VELO on Amazon or Mio Global with my affiliate links below. You can also find out technical information and a compatibility list for the VELO on its product page.
Save 20% on Mio heart rate monitor watches with promo code Mio-Bucks at checkout! Valid through 3/31/15 11:59PM

Restoration of a Burnout

I will come out and say this: I do not practice what I preach. For years I have read and told many new runners, “Recovery is important and after a long, hard race one must actively recover to benefit fully.” For my entire running life (past 7+ years of running) I have failed to recover correctly after a long training run or race. I kept wondering why my gains were not where I needed them to be and why my feelings of burnout were ever growing.

I was young, invincible and winning age group awards at most of my California Ultra races. My usual training pace was reckless and never below a race pace. I decided to make a New Years Resolution to run one Ultra marathon every month for a year. During that year, I ran nine 50k trail races and two 50-mile trail races. I kept PRing in the 50k distance going from a sub 6 hours to mid 4:40’s. I made the decision to run a 100-mile race: the 2012 Rio Del Lago 100, finishing 3rd in my age group and feeling immortal! After the high faded along with the aches and pains, I tried to go out to the trails and train for my next race.

This is when I noticed something was off. My race times soon were much slower and my ability to psychologically tell my legs to move was no longer there. I have read many times on various running websites that too much mileage without much recovery is unsustainable. I did not think this would happen to me because, frankly, I am a young and healthy. But it did happen and my fall was hard and sudden. I suddenly could not run more than 10-miles at a time and my ever-growing love for this sport was ever fading.

It took nearly 2 years to regain my love of the sport. It started by training my wife from a newbie to a competent trail runner and seeing the spark grow inside her reminded me of the wonderful memories I had of “the good ol’ days.” Every step further was a new adventure eventually building her up to an 11-mile long run. Soon we were making plans to train for a trail half-marathon when we go back home for Easter.

While I was training my wife I helped her push through the highs and the lows that every runner has felt. The grit and the determination to finish a training run in the Shenandoah mountains made me incredibly inspired and wanting to take my training to the next level again. As I continued to support my wife with her new distances, I would break away once or twice a week to run a longer run – usually in the 20-30 mile range. For the first time in a while I was enjoying the sounds, smells and textures that nature offers. The finishing time didn’t matter anymore as the experience left a more lasting impression within my own psyche.

mitch-amber

After a few months I made up my mind that I would run a 100k race in North Carolina. I decided to run a 50-mile trail race down in Tennessee called the Lookout Mountain 50 Miler as a training run for quality time on the feet. I was meeting an old California friend and we would run the first 20ish miles together and then run our own race. He ended up destroying me, passing me at the 24-mile mark and finished about 20 minutes ahead of myself. But my slow, methodical pace allowed me to feel “fresh” at the finish line with zero pains and most importantly: a positive attitude.

When I continued my training for my goal race two days later, my wife’s slower pace forced me to actively recover instead of letting my lactic acid continue to pool in my legs by being a couch potato or going too fast too soon. I was training her to become a better runner and she was training me to slow down and fully recover; it was truly something special. Instead of my usual race pace 30 miler the following weekend like I did a few years back, I was now running a conversational pace 10 miler. The recovery time to feel 100% went down to just a week and a half because of lowered intensity. It was something I have never thought about trying because before my head was far up my bum to listen to it.

mitch-beerA few weeks later came race day! I was amped up and ready to enjoy the entire day (and partial evening) ahead. I took the first 40 miles incredibly relaxed, taking pictures of the views and talking to all the runners and aid station volunteers. When I came to the 40-mile turnaround I learned that I was in 8th place overall and a few runners were just a few miles ahead. I ran harder than I think I have ever ran during this last 21.5 miles, catching 4 runners moving me into 4th overall by the finish line! It was by far the best race I have ever experienced but not because of the place. It was because of the no pressure attitude I had, enjoying myself and when it was time to put in work, I did.

Since training my wife, running is no longer monotonous or a chore. It is enjoyable because I can challenge myself sparingly while coaching my wife to become even better. When she crosses the finish line at her first half marathon this April, I will probably be just as excited as she will. The look on her face will once again reinvigorate my drive to feel the way she is at that moment. So we will continue to train together and lean on each other to keep each other healthy; for her physically and for myself mentally. I was able to learn how to recover not only my legs after a long run, but also to recover my love of this simple, yet so very complex sport of running.

 

Review: Fitbit Charge HR


fitbit-charge-250
Not long ago, I wrote a review on the Fitbit Charge. I opened it by saying that it might be the quickest review that I have ever written. Well, this one won’t be too far behind. The Fitbit Charge HR is the same device with a different band and one addition – an optical heart rate monitor. But that is a big addition. Since the rest of the tracker features are identical to the basic Charge, I will focus on the Heart Rate monitor in this post and encourage you to read about the basic Charge in my earlier review.

charge-hr-back

 

The recent history of Fitbit devices has been clouded by the recall of the Fitbit Force. Essentially, the new Charge is the Force re-released with a new band that shouldn’t cause skin irritation. This set them back a bit, so it was a very welcome announcement when they released three new products – the Charge, the Charge HR, and the Surge. I have also reviewed the Surge here. Out of the three devices, I think that the Charge HR is the best option.

When looking at Fitbit devices, there are several options from which to choose. You can start out with the Zip for less than $50. This is the most basic tracker and clips onto your clothing. It tracks steps and calories, then syncs to either your computer or smartphone. It has a replaceable battery and that lasts for a few months.

Moving up the chain is the Fitbit One, also a clip-on. This tracker adds stairs, sleep tracking, silent alarms, and is under $100 currently.

The Fitbit Flex moves the show to your wrist and is about the same price as the One. This is where some compromises begin. It is on the wrist all day, but removes the clock and stairs climbed while adding active minutes tracked.

This brings us to the Fitbit Charge. It currently costs under $130 and offers all features available in all tracking devices up to this point with the addition of Caller ID notification. It is also a wrist worn device.

The top of the Fitbit collection is the Surge at $250, which is billed as a “super watch.” It offers every available option in the trackers and adds an optical heart rate sensor, built-in GPS, text notifications and music control for smartphones.

The Fitbit Charge HR falls between the Charge and the Surge at around $150 (this is a hot seller on Amazon and the price is much higher as of this writing). The addition of the heart rate monitor makes the Charge HR an excellent activity tracker for all-day tracking in addition to sleep tracking. At only $20 more than the baseline charge, this is the one to get. A separate HR monitor that works with other trackers will cost $50 or more, so the small price difference is very fair. I would almost argue that Fitbit should just drop the Charge and have the Charge HR as the only device between the Flex and Surge. The Charge is nothing more than the Force remade. The Charge HR adds real value.

The biggest value of the Charge HR is to get a better gauge of how many calories you have burned throughout the day for general health conscious people. But, it is also useful for athletes in the middle of training. We are putting our body under a great deal of stress and the Charge HR can give us an idea of how we are doing with the training.

heart-rate-all-day

As you can see from the above image, the Charge tracks my heart rate all day long. The spike is from where I did a run. This all day tracking is very helpful. I can see if there are stress inducing activities happening at a particular part of the day in addition to my resting heart rate while sleeping. Sadly, at this point, optical heart rate sensors are not sensitive enough to allow for heart rate variability as demonstrated in the post Heart Rate Variability for Training, but hopefully over time they can account for it.

Heart rate tracking during exercise

Now, while the Charge HR is an excellent device for tracking your heart rate and activity levels for the majority of the day, it falls down when conducting vigorous exercise. Here is the run from the image above:

activity-tracking-heart-rate

 

You can see that I was credited for 7.55 miles, an average heart rate of 145 bp and a calorie burn of 1,044.

I also tracked the run using a Garmin 920XT and a chest heart rate strap. Here is a breakdown of the run from Garmin Connect. The Fitbit fell short in every metric. Interestingly, the calorie count wasn’t as far off as I would expect.

garmin-overview-run

 

Looking at the heart rate details from Garmin, you can see that the Charge HR definitely was under represented. This run involved intervals which pushed my heart rate up. This causes a wider margin of error.

garmin-heart-rate-run

 

When exercising with less intensity, the Charge HR is closer in accuracy. That makes it good for an activity like when I use my elliptical trainer.

It is very nice to press and hold the button. Start the workout and hold the button again when finished. Within the app, you can easily choose the type of workout. I was delighted to see that elliptical trainer was an option, so I have been using it to track my workouts there.

Conclusion

The Fitbit Charge HR does an excellent job of tracking your activities and sleep throughout the day with the exception of during periods of vigorous exercise. So should you consider buying it? It depends.

If you are looking for the one device that you can wear all the time that tracks your heart rate, activities, exercise, and sleep, it will not fulfill all your needs. In fairness, I don’t know of any device on the market that does at this point.

However, if you are looking for a device that helps you track your general activities, health and diet (through the Fitbit app or another like MyFitnessPal), I would highly recommend the device. It is a perfect representation of what Fitbit does best. Tracking general activities and steps.

Also, if you are someone who already has a good running watch or other more accurate means to track your workouts and are looking for covering the rest of your day, I highly recommend the device.

Out of the three new Fitbit products on the market, I absolutely recommend the Charge HR. It can be found at REI and Clever Training for $150, or at Amazon shown below. Currently it is a hot seller at Amazon as mentioned before, so you may want to visit one of the other links. Also, all links in this review are affiliate links for which I will receive a small commission at no cost to you. That helps me purchase products to review and share.

Review: Fitbit Surge

As activity trackers start to become more popular and more and more people are getting into running, there is a bit of convergence happening. Full-blown GPS watches from major manufacturers are starting to add step tracking and at the same time, companies who are making activity trackers are coming out with more advanced products. This is a traditional path of disruption. You have cheaper single function items start to get more and more advanced and they eat up the marketshare from the bottom. By the time the larger established players see what is happening, they have become an also ran. This theory taught by Clayton Christenson is described in Wikipedia’s article Disruptive innovation.

The Fitbit Surge bills itself as a Super Watch. Does it deliver on its promise? Let’s break it down.

Unboxing

The packaging for the Surge is very attractive. It displays the watch and has a cover that opens to show a motivational paragraph with highlighted marketing terms.

surge-box

In order to get to the actual watch, there is some strategically placed tape that made it a challenge for me – but not so much for someone who has more patience. Inside of the box there are few contents. The watch, the charging cable, the USB stick for a computer, and a quick start manual. I wound up using the USB stick to set it up and then just connected to my iPhone the rest of the time.

fitbit-surge-tapefitbit-surge-box-contents

 

Wear and Fit

The Fitbit Surge is very comfortable to wear. It is odd looking from the side with the top of the face having more depth than the bottom, but it is fine when worn. It is one seamless unit, thus not having changeable bands but is not an unattractive sports watch. One nice feature is that with the watch face being a little wider, if the watch is fit snug, there is little to no light leakage. This is very helpful in the middle of the night if you don’t want to wake up a sleeping companion or accidentally blind yourself.

Interface

Using a mix of buttons and screen navigation, the device can be a little confusing at times, but you get used to it. Some of my confusion could be caused by a lot of experience with other devices. You tend to build muscle memory and pattern behaviors over time. However, I do wish it was more dependent on either buttons or the screen. The mix doesn’t flow as naturally for me.

Another issue I had was that the screen seemed to pick up oils from my finger tips very easily. When I would swipe though the screens to look at heart rate and steps, it would get a film on the face. I found myself often wiping it off to keep the face clear. I will say that it is very responsive to touch and the screens shifted easily.

You also have the ability to add different watch faces from within the app.

Activity Tracking

There is no surprise here. Fitbit is the Gold Standard when it comes to activity tracking. I wore the Surge for a week, it tracked my steps. I could find no real discrepancy between it and my Garmin Vivofit. I have previously compared the Vivofit to the Fitbit Flex and have been wearing either it or the Forerunner 920XT with a Fitbit Zip. The steps are always within a couple hundred steps either way. This is one time that boring is good. I don’t think too much about it because I feel pretty confident in the results. With of course the caveat being that no tracker is completely accurate anyway as I discussed in my post Are fitness trackers a waste of money?

The step information along with calories burned is tracked in Fitbit’s well designed Website and apps.

fitbit-surge-steps

Sleep Tracking

The Surge does a nice job here as well. One of the highlightable features of newer Fitbits is the ability to just track sleep. Polar does this as well. When you go to sleep, it will automatically determine when you went to sleep and when you woke up. You don’t have to press a button and notify the device – are you listening Garmin?

While Fitbit is not the most detailed sleep tracker available, both Polar and Microsoft are have a more detailed breakdown, it does a solid job of getting the important data points across. It tracks a breakdown between actual sleep, time awakened and time restless.

One thing that is interesting is that if you are awake for a few minutes, it might split your sleep into multiple sessions as you can see in the image below from the iPhone App.

fitbit-surge-sleep

Tracking Heartrate

So far, everything discussed is already available in Fitbit devices on the market with sleep and stairs being the differentiator between each. All-day heart rate tracking is a new feature introduced in the 2015 Fitbit Surge and Fitbit Charge HR.

This is where things get interesting. The new Fitbits track heart rate through an optical heart rate sensor on the back of the watch where it contacts the wearer’s wrist. Optical heart rate monitors work by firing LED lights into your skin and detecting the rate that your blood pumps with another sensor. The problem is, optical heart rate sensors are notoriously inaccurate when heart rates are at a high level of BPMs (beats per minute) as discussed in the C-Net post Do wristband heart trackers actually work? A checkup.

Sadly, the Fitbit Surge suffered the same issue. As a baseline, I ran every run with a Garmin 920XT with the latest  Garmin HRM Run heart rate strap (Affiliate links). On every run, the heart rate was off when my heart rate was above 150 or so. The following image is an example run with the Surge results on the top and the Garmin results on the bottom. You can see that the Fitbit was off on the average by 18 beats or 11.32 percent off.

compare-garmin-fitbit-surge

It was closer on another run 153 versus 160, but way off on a harder run with a 144 versus 170. The Fitbit Surge seems to do a really good job with anything from a resting heart rate to a moderate level of activity. The more strenuous the exercise, the farther it strays.

Running

GPS is the biggest addition to the Surge and it does a decent job of tracking your runs. I didn’t find any crazy route issues and the distances and paces seemed to line up fine. I was unsuccessful in getting an exact comparison because I found myself incapable of starting all the devices I was testing at the same time (there were three). I seemed to always have forgotten to press the button twice, or had accidentally stopped recording because of one wrist device pressing against the button of an adjacent watch. But as far as tracking, the runs looked clean for pace and distance. The only issue I found as far as using the Fitbit Surge during a workout was that it was a bit slow in picking up the satellites. You can see an example of how a run was tracked in the Fitbit Website below.

fibit-surge-run

It is a very clean and easy to read breakdown of a run. It can serve very well as long as the user is satisfied being within the world of Fitbit only and does not plan to place the data on any other site. Someone has attempted to rectify this as addressed in the post An Open Source Tool to Export Fitbit GPS Data, but that does not account for heart rate data. Also, if you want to track other information like cadence from a footpod, this is not possible.

The Elliptical Surprise

I have had a terrible time trying to track my workouts on the elliptical trainer. I even bought a Pafers Xspin in an attempt to track my workouts. Surprisingly, the Fitbit Surge did it really well for me. And what is more interesting, the heart rate seemed to be pretty spot on. I checked against it with both an app and the elliptical machine itself and it was within a beat or two. I am wondering if it maybe has more trouble when running because it is tracking more information with the GPS added?

Notifications

The Surge also offers notifications. Sadly, they are only for text messages and caller id. This is really disappointing for those who want to hear from other apps like Facebook Messenger (where I do a good deal of texting). This is a serious limitation that I hope they will consider changing in a future update.

Conclusion

The Fitbit Surge is a well-designed, comfortable watch that offers a lot. Is it a Super watch? No. Not really. It is a tracker with a heart-beat monitor, GPS and watch form and interface. It is a good device, but at the $250 mark, there are other options out there.

It all depends on the user’s focus. If they are more interested in activity tracking and step counting with added heart-rate, this might be a good choice. The Fitbit software is top notch and the watch does a great job of tracking steps and heart rate with general activity throughout the day.

Where the Surge struggles is when it is being used by a serious workout enthusiast or runner. While the heart-rate works well throughout the day and while sleeping, it is inaccurate when performing strenuous workouts. The more intense, the further it drifts. It also does not offer the ability to capture any other inputs like a foot pod for cadence, or the ability to track cycling. This makes it hard to recommend when there are offerings like the Polar M400 available for $30 less at the time of this writing with the Heart Rate monitor, or $70 less without. I reviewed the Polar M400 here. You can also get your data from Polar Flow and place it in other services. This is a big deal for those who track their runs and/or have coaching.

Another issue with the Fitbit Surge is with the notifications. Without providing full notifications – only text and caller id – it really is disappointing. Again it is hard to justify the price when the Polar M400 will be adding them later this year and there are devices like the Microsoft Band that currently offer many types of notifications and have the built-in heart rate monitor for $200. I reviewed the Microsoft Band on Gearist.

The Fitbit Surge can be purchased at many locations including Amazon below (affiliate link):