Polar Vantage M and RunScribe Plus

 

The new Polar Vantage M is a fully featured triathlon watch and the cheaper sibling of the Vantage V. Both of the Vantage models have many features in common including full, native support for running power from RunScribe (and STRYD).

REVIEW LINK TO : Polar Vantage M

Why RunScribe Plus?

We all know that we have to train harder and smarter to get faster. We often forget that part of that ‘smartness’ comes from improving our technique and, indeed, as we get older technique becomes ever more important as a means of improvement. Don’t take my word for it, read this interview with Mr parkrun – Mike Trees (link to interview on: the5krunner.com – he has a 95% age graded 5k time #awesome and, no, it’s not me, sadly).

RunScribe Plus is a great way of getting some of the most advanced gait statistics both to help you improve your technique and to help you prevent injury. Most of those gait metrics are available on RunScribe’s own platform but the beauty of using RunScribe in conjunction with the Polar Vantage M is that you also get running power and accurate running pace/cadence on the watch and in the FLOW ecosystem.

This post explains what you will experience on the Vantage M when using RunScribe Plus. If you want to know more about RunScribe Plus then here is a detailed review.

RunScribe Plus Review – Footpod & Running Power Meter

Getting Started with RunScribe Plus and the Polar Vantage M

RunScribe has two pods and both must be paired to the Vantage M. Once paired, they become the source of pace, power and cadence – the source of pace cannot be changed on the Vantage (yet).

Polar Vantage V Review, Polar Vantage M Review

Pairing to power meters – RunScribe Plus

 

Use Polar Flow

Next you would use Polar Flow to change one of your running sport profiles to include one or more of the running power data fields.

The Vantage supports up to 4 metrics per screen and in these normal types of screen you can select from of the following 7 power metrics ie you could have 4 on one screen if you really wanted to.

Polar Vantage V Review, Polar Vantage M Review

Clickable

There is also a new and interesting second option for displaying running power data where you choose one of the Vantage M’s new FULLSCREEN data fields. You would choose the POWER full screen data field. (See image above and the next section)

At some point you might also set your own Running Power Zones in Polar FLOW and these are synchronized to the Vantage M.

Polar Vantage V Review, Polar Vantage M Review

clickable

Checking the Vantage M

The traditional data field requires little explanation. However the new ‘full screen’ data field, below, is a little unusual. It shows the MAX (446w) and AVERAGE (182w) as well as the central area of the screen which shows a vertical bar with the AVERAGE shown again to the left of that bar as a horizontal line and your CURRENT power (in this case 0w) shown as a dot to the right of the bar. As your power goes up so the dot would go up and the AVERAGE would change as appropriate. Interesting, I guess.

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Running With RunScribe Plus and the Polar Vantage M

You should see much more stable and accurate PACE with RunScribe when compared to the default GPS+GLONASS derived pace.

Your power also has a short-term smoothing applied to it and so should also be fairly stable whilst also responsive to true changes to your running power (effort) ie actionable.

Note: Polar have specifically confirmed that, when using GPS, the PACE comes from GPS and not from the POD – I have to say I’m not convinced. The PACE with RunScribe/STRYD on the M is MUCH less variable when directly compared to the V using only GPS.

Finishing a Workout With RunScribe Plus and Polar Vantage M

You get a neat graphical workout summary, which existing Polar users will already be familiar with.The running power data is relatively new to Polar and looks like this

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Your time-in-zone is obviously dependent upon your zones being set correctly (there ARE now free-form running zones for power on FLOW) and the bar chart is a neat representation of your kind of workout in those zones. Z3….eesh.

You will also see again the MAX and AVERAGE power value for your entire workout. Nothing too surprising there BUT you will also see a MUSCLE LOAD of 564.

This is where Polar get interesting.

Polar have used a well-proven method of determining TRAINING LOAD by time-in-HR zone based on TRIMP. However they have modified the standard model to take inputs from you on RPE as well as taking inputs from POWER DATA. Polar use the power data to estimate the component of MUSCLE LOAD (from the 564 value in the above image) which impacts on the TRUE overall training load. That full calculation is available on the Vantage M and the Vantage V takes it a step further factoring such things into your RECOVERY via their algorithms as well.

Synchronizing Power To Flow

All your workout’s power data is synchronised to FLOW on your app and/or online. The muscle load data is synchronised too.

Here are some example’s of what you will see in various parts of FLOW  ie: power levels by time; time in zone; power averages; and muscle load as a component of total training load.

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Exporting Running Power Data From Flow

You can export your data as a TCX file from FLOW and it does contain RUNNING POWER. Most systems like Training Peaks or Golden Cheetah ‘know’ it is power from running and not from cycling and hence they keep it separate from your cycling data.

Running power data does not appear in STRAVA.

Price, Availability & Discount

The Polar Vantage M retails at $260/GBP250/Eur280,

The Polar Vantage V retails at $499/GBP439/Eur499

The Polar Vantage now has general availability. There do not seem to be widespread discount yet in the EU. I’ve included the Amazon international link below but you will find a better deal at New Running Gear and Power Meter City. New Running Gear (NRG), below, were also bundling in GBP50 of running freebies. Help support this blog with the great deals below:

Polar Vantage 10 % off discount coupon promotion code

Click http://geni.us/PolarVantage to buy in UK/Eu/USA

Best Amazon price is linked to. Prices could fall below existing level from 2019 onwards £249/$259/Eu279. Buying from Amazon supports this site.

Best Amazon price is linked to. Prices could fall below existing level from 2019 onwards £439/$499/Eu499. Buying from Amazon supports this site.

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Tom
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Tom

Nice review, thanks! Does this also work with the Milestone pod (integrated on FLOW). And why does someone wants to buy the Vantage V if you can get the M and Runscribe with more options for almost the same price?

JFC
Guest
JFC

Altimeter
Recovery Pro
Battery Life

joan
Guest
joan

M has an altimeter. V has a barometer/altimeter
M has straps that can be swapped
V has a touchscreen
V might have navigation
V might have strava segments
V has orthostatic test (part of recovery Pro)
V has tap gestures
M is lighter
V has audio alerts (not M)
M is cheaper…that is why I bought it

Tom
Guest
Tom

True, but with Pods you get more information like leg swing and ground contact.

Stu
Guest
Stu

More related to Vantage V – but the default power ranges (in terms of absolute W) in Flow for me were very different to those reported by my Stryd pod. The Flow suggested value of boundary between Z3 and Z4 (their name, MAP) for running power was 500+W; my Stryd CP (Z3/Z4 boundary) is more like 280W.

So if I use stryd for power to Vantage clearly the reported power will be lower, absolutely. I can get the more appropriate zones reported by setting MAP at a lower level.

The follow on question is what does using stryd as power source, with lower MAP do for things like recovery, training effect, muscle load metrics?

Does adjusting MAP sort it all out or will I end up being given less credit because the polar algorithms think I’m underhitting power based on my other parameters (ThresholdHR, VO2MAX etc)?

One experiment would be to have two VantageV’s – one on stryd with adjusted MAP and one without. I’m not buying two units though – perhaps a challenge for you or DCR?

Thanks for any insight…

Nick K
Guest
Nick K

Terrific! Thank you very much! I got really scared upon not seeing Stryd or RunScribe in Polar’s list of supported third party sensors.

To confirm, if Stryd is connected, Vantage would use pace, distance, and power from Stryd? As is? No fused anything, no auto calibration?

One more question if you don’t mind: I know power isn’t supported in structured workouts (yet?), but what about “power zone lock” ad hoc type of thing? Like Suunto intensity power-based targets? Can you do that with Vantage?