the polar s625x
===============

i have been an avid user of polar HRMs in the past. i have trained with the s720i for the past year and find it an essential part of my training. it took some convincing from my training buddies to get me to start training with a HRM, but since i have, it would be hard to go back to doing without. i cross-train quite a bit and the s720i is a near-perfect tool.

with the recent release of the s625x, all my unanswered running needs have been answered. i have always pondered over similar products for runners (speed/HR), but have never been fully convinced. the garmin looks great, but it does not provide HR. the fitsense has HR and pace, but has no cycling tools. and the last thing that i would want is to have to train with multiple watches/HRMs/computers. the s625x has it all.

since i have received the s625x, my opinion has yet to change. this HRM has all the features of the polar s720i, except for the timer auto-start, and it has running speed/pace/laps. i couldn't be happier. without going into details on this thing (that is what polar's website is for), i will say that the greatest benefit will be seen in my tempo runs. vo2max workouts are easy to monitor because the distance is short and the track is 400 meters - splits can be easily watched. long runs/recovery runs i have always run based on time and the mileage/pace does not have to be spot on. but i have always found that running a tempo workout of six miles or so proved hard to monitor. the path that i run has half-miles marked and that is the extent that i can monitor my pace. but now?!?! it is as easy as looking down at the HRM and viewing my current pace. it updates quickly, so i can (at any time) see how fast/slow i am running. and i can do this anywhere.

the biggest benefit that i can see from the s625x (or any pacing device) is getting a feel for running a particular pace. i have always had a rough idea (better for quicker paces), but after a few months of training with this, i should be able to lock in my running with much greater precision.

the customer service experience
===============================

so, asides from a great HRM, i need to also plug a great experience with an excellent company. rest assured, i have nothing to do with this dealer, other than being an extremely satisfied customer. these guys went above and beyond and i think it is befitting to let others know.

i bought my polar s625x from the same place that i bought the s720i. i shopped around quite a bit (i always do) and found an authorized polar dealer with an amazing price. i contacted them, as i wanted to buy a couple of the polar accessories as well, and it was a great experience. i knew that when buying the s625x. i wouldn't have to shop around again. but i still did and these guys still had the best price (and they had it in stock).

their prices are great, but they are even better people. the only issue that i have had with the s625x is that the backlight quit working after one day. no big deal, but it should be working. i had sent the s720i back to polar when water got into it, so had no issues sending the s625x in. but, i contacted my dealer to see what they might recommend. so that i would not miss any training days by sending in the HRM, they - the dealer - sent me a new HRM and return shipping for the faulty HRM. there was no deposit required on my part, no shipping charges and no time without my new HRM. amazing customer service!!

if you are looking at getting a polar, give these guys a shout and see what they can do for you. i have always spoke (via email) with betsy. their contact info is:

Bill & Betsy Lhotta
Authorized Polar Dealer
576 Spur Court
Golden, CO 80403
(303) 200-0213

the summary
===========

if you run and train for it, regardless of buying a polar or buying from the guys mentioned above, i highly recommend checking out a pacing device. whether you are a beginner or an advanced competitor, these things are great. trust me, i have always been one to hold out on the technology craze. i live in LA and i don't own a cell phone. but i do have my s625x!!

cheers,
colin