Can you write a blog post about how you use Polar Vantage V with Polar Flow? I got that question on my Facebook-page and since I am a Polar ambassador the question was asked to the right guy.
The short and honest answer is that I don’t use Polar Flow as my main software for planning session. I mainly use TrainingPeaks. The reason for that is quite simple as well. TrainingPeaks is the software tool my coach Carson Christen use. Instead of him having to learn a new program only for me, I just sync my Polar Flow account with Trainingpeaks and whenever I sync my Polar Vantage V to Polar Flow the data automatically sync up to my TrainingPeaks account as well where my coach can crunch the numbers. He again uses another software tool called Inscyd and can calculate TSS, power curves, HR data etc.
I am known for being a data-driven triathlete. While that is not untrue I don’t review every heartbeat, every watt, every lap time in every session. It takes too much time and can get me too much focused on the numbers. The numbers are important but they are not all that matters.
If we take a bike session as an example I get a wattage goal of a certain range from my coach. It can be 6 x 5 minutes at 290 – 310 watts. Then I first try to hit the watts without watching at the power meter and feeling the correct intensity. After I feel I hit the right spot, which typically takes roughly 30 seconds I check the power meter. If the average power is 340 watt I back of and if it is 270 watt I push harder. With time you will get more accurate when first trying to feel the effort and calibration it up against the actual number.
Calibration is a key word here, and what I mainly use Polar Flow for. I check my recovery status, long term sleeping pattern and activity report. If I generally feel good, feel relatively good during training (and hit my numbers) and relatively refreshed when waking up, then I don’t study everything in Polar Flow. Then I just take a quick overview once in a while to see that my recovery status, training load and sleep times match up. If I, however, feel fatigued, having a hard time to sleep and have to work harder than usual to hit my numbers then its time to go into the details.
I was in a negative spiral from mid-2016 and to the end of 2017. The performance in training was mainly good, but when it came to races it was truly inconsistent. I did not feel horrible in general, but at some races it really did. My Polar V800 at the time said that I was constantly overreaching, but I didn’t want to listen and thought I was special and could handle the load. It turned out that I wasn’t special. From my last poor performance in Ironman Barcelona 2017, I started trusting the numbers more and leaving control of my training plans to a coach.
With the new Polar Vantage V, you get a lot more data. Watt when running is nice. Continuously monitoring of HR keeps accurately track of how active you are, not only during training, and your HR during sleep. I believe we need this amount of data to be fairly accurate in estimating the total load and total recovery, and the crucial balance between those two factors.