There is an old trope, “jack of all trades, master of none.” Polar may just have proven this untrue.
I purchased the M400 with few expectations. I have used Garmin watches for a while, and wanted to see what another manufacturer was doing with GPS watches. I was especially interested in Polar since they invented the first wireless heart rate monitor and I am a believer in heart rate training.
The M400 is Polar’s latest running watch that doubles as an activity and sleep tracker. And honestly, it does a good job with both. This is quite an acheivement for a device that costs less than $180 ($230 with a heart rate monitor).
This has been a terrible training season for me. It started out well, then a cascade of injuries occurred and I have had to cancel all my races this fall. Sadly, I have been injured enough that I have begun to learn the names of muscles, tendons and fascia that I never new about before.
Truthfully, I wish I were oblivious. But, this experience allows me to share information about recovery products. Two of my mainstay products are foam rollers and The Stick. I have one of these at both home and work. But there is a third device that I don’t always talk about. It has been out for a couple years, but surprisingly not everyone has heard of it. Even my chiropractor wasn’t familiar with it. It being the Moji 360 Mini Massager.
When running in the dark as the season changes, it’s often most convenient to just grab something reflective, throw it on, and go run.
A lot of running clothes have reflective options, but they can come at a premium. This can really get expensive quickly. Especially when you have to buy high end items like new jackets and other winter gear. This is where a product like the Tuvizo reflective vest comes in. It is a very functional device that you can wear over the gear you already have and remain visible.
Tuvizo reached out to me to try out their running vest. We were unsure of what size I should use because there is some overlap and I fall in the middle, so they sent me both sizes of the reflective vest to compare.
This may be the quickest review I have ever written. “Fitbit created a device. Fitbit recalled the device. Fitbit fixed the device and released it under another name for the same price. End of Review.”
I’ll start with a little history. Late in 2013, Fitbit released the Force. It was an update of the Fitbit Flex that added a screen to see your exact progress throughout the day and the ability to track stairs. It essentially was a Fitbit One combined with a Fitbit Flex. The other two features were automatic sleep tracking and incoming caller id when paired with an iOS device. The Caller ID feature was not available out of the gate and added later in a firmware update.
The Moov activity tracker was launched 02/27/2014 with a crowd funding campaign. They did the crowd funding on their own site, rather than using Kickstarter, FundAnything, IndieGoGo, or another crowd funding tool. I was super excited about the possibilities and signed on 2/28 as an early backer.
Gizmodo did a nice writeup Moov Might Be the Most Advanced Fitness Wearable Yet about the device and the company when it was announced in February 2014. The article is worth reading for more history and explains that one of the three co-founders, Nikola Hu was a former engineer at Apple who also worked on the Xbox HALO series.
As Daylight Savings Time is coming to an end, it’s time to start thinking of colder weather and shorter days. Here are some gear items I used to get through the season.
1. Knuckle Lights – I cannot praise these lights enough. I am someone who cannot stand wearing a headlamp. It makes me crazy and gives me a headache. Plus I find it tiring on my eyes as the light bounces around. And if that’s not enough to make it tough, I seem to keep hitting reflective surfaces and blinding myself.
Enter Knuckle Lights. I first heard of these on the Marathon Training Podcast, a forerunner to Steve Carmichael’s RunBuzz Radio. After he described them, I immediately went out and got a pair. They may be my favorite piece of winter running gear.
It was with great excitement that I opened the Garmin Vivosmart. I had already reviewed the Vivofit and missed my Fitbit Flex for its size and unassuming design. Could this be the fitness band you rule them all? It has such promise. It tracks your steps and sleep, tells time, and even can receive notifications from an iPhone or Android device.
But wait, there’s more. It can also act as a remote for a Garmin Virb, control music on your iPhone, and connect to a speed/cadence sensor to track a cycling workout. These are all some exciting features, but does it deliver? What kind of execution?
Like I found with LaceLocker, sometimes the simplest ideas make the best products. In a day when we are trying to figure out how to carry many varied items, it can be a struggle. We often have to leave something behind.
For example, when I ran my first marathon, I had to make some decisions. Do I want to have my car key and all the gels and skip my iPhone, or do I want to leave a couple gels out. I wound up putting a couple in my short pockets and hoping for the best.
That’s where FlipBelt comes in. It is a really simple concept. It is a band made of EPA Certified, Odor Resistant, Pilling Resistant, Anti-Bacterial High Tech Poly Spandex Fabric as described on the product information page.
I visited the Thump Booth at the expo for the Virginia Beach Rock & Roll Half Marathon. There, I had the opportunity to meet the CEO of Thump, Todd Beetcher. His company originally named QAK was a start-up founded in 2011 as mentioned in the 2012 Denver Post article Headphones making noise, and Colorado companies join the party. It is a real treat to be able to speak to the owner of a company about his product. And Todd the “Thump-meister” is excited about his products.
Thump has four models of headphones starting with the entry level wired Thump Rap. Their mid-tier headphone is the Thump Blu — this was the one that founded the company. There is an advanced version of bluetooth headphones with the Thump XTreme. And they also have the Thump Fin which is a self contained mp3 player and headphone set for swimmers.
I am a major music, podcast, and audiobook addict so I bought a pair of Thump Blu to try out. I already have used several types of Bluetooth headphones with the Motorola SD-11 HD Flex being my current gold standard, so I will use them for comparisons.
Some weeks ago, I was asked to be an ambassador for the company Bio Skin. I told them that I needed to review a product and they offered to send a product and told me that their calf sleeves were especially popular.
I have never really been a big believer in Calf sleeves. I thought that they might look silly on me. But after suffering foot issues on and off for a while, it was between flare ups. This let me observe that my calves were extremely tight. Actually, some of my recent foot problems can be tied to the tightness in my calves pulling on my heels.
So, I decided that the calf sleeves would be a good choice. First thing, I had to measure to get the right size. I used a high-tech method involving earbuds and a ruler.