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.

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

 

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.

 

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/REI/Wiggle/PMC price is linked to. Prices could fall below existing level from 2019 onwards £249/$259/Eu279. Buying from my partners supports this site.

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

Support this site with purchases at these partners - should click to a local choice in your country

48 thoughts on “Polar Vantage M and RunScribe Plus

  1. 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?

  2. 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…

    • i do have 2x Vs…and also a life 😉 so i wont be doing that
      i have asked polar these kind of questions tho but they are not going to divulge the detail of the calc (I know it on a black box level)
      1. it doesn’t matter what your source of power is, the algorithms work on relative changes. so you dont change your source of power
      2. so initially adjusting map/ftp will be fine (there are then lots of horrible question about how often to update it) and thats what i did. some of my calcs are messed up as i have used stryd/RS and polar’s power and their levels are quite different.

      • Cool – thank you!

        It would be *nice* if you could swap source of power in a pinch (footpod ran out of juice or on wrong shoes for instance).

        If there was some correlation between the different sources this would amount to a table mapping native reported power ranges to some meta-range (Z4 would still be Z4 but 280-400W instead of 500-650W, with some interpolation function).

        I guess this comes back to the elephant in the room – no correlation evident yet…

        • indeed. with the vantage V (other model) your scenario also raises an interesting possibility that your pods runs out of juice and then does the V switch over to Polar’s version of power and mess your stats up? you won’t have that problem with the M. tho, tbh, as things currently are then no-one with power will analyse at their data on garmin/suunto/polar online platforms/apps

  3. 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?

    • Q1. Yes. that has been my working assumption
      Q2. Power Zone Lock *IS* on FLOW…but not on the Vantage (not on ANYTHING including v800). my interpretation of that is that it will come to the vantage…that’s the feature i want!

      • Exactly the reason for my question. Between power-based structured workouts and power zone lock, Vantage could be a killer watch for running with power. And they are so damn close. I’ve been patiently waiting for my V pre-order, but early reports from people who already got Vantage have been a mixed bag. Kind of hoped zone lock would be there. I have a marathon to run this Sunday!

        • yes vantage needs that
          but then
          flow needs cp metrics/chart (simple ones)
          flow+vantage need to be able to do plans /workouts by power
          and then a few more peripheral power metrics
          THEN it will be the watch to get for running with power

          • This. I can’t believe they don’t have Power Zones as an option for phased workouts at launch.
            Also, should be able to select Pace or Power as the intensity metric for Running Plans, not just HR.

            Another thing I’m missing from the V800 is the on-watch training calendar. And the functions you got from holding the “Light” button during training, e.g. keep backlight on, skip phase, etc.

            I find the vibration very weak on the Vantage also.

          • Yes, so a chance for Polar to do something better. Since they don’t have a lot of the “fluff” features that Garmins have, they need to do better at the nuts and bolts.

            Since they give us native power zones for running, surely it can’t be that difficult to allow those zones to be used as phased targets?

          • When you’re using a Stryd for pace, distance and power, does the Vantage still generate a GPS track, or do you need to turn GPS off in order to have the watch use the Stryd’s pace and distance?

          • Can you use Vantage V + Stryd indoors and get speed and power, on the treadmill and indoor tracks? As I understand it, I am confused with different statements online, Polar will not allow a regular non-power foot pod to give speed to the power equation indoors?

          • Thank you! And the second question, can a regular foot pod like Polar Stride/Milestone be used to get power indoors on a treadmill/track? If not, can you “fool” the Vantage V by choosing an outdoor sports profile like RUNNING and force the watch to take speed from the pod when no GPS is available and get power from indoor running that way?

          • Finally some clear answers from someone! Thank you for taking your time to answer. Polar, take heed. Thou shalt not release products and be opaque on how they work.

          • >> there is a gps track for EVERY time i’ve run with power with stryd <<
            In this case, are you able to get speed and distance from the Stryd and keep the GPS track, or just power? I've been reading the opposite in some of the online discussions.

          • Thanks for the review, and this comments thread which has answered pretty much all my questions; basically, if this had zone lock and ability to plan workouts by power then the M would be the watch for me, given I use Stryd.

            I assume that one they sort out the zone lock and planning workouts by power then it will be rolled out to the v800 – has anyone heard anything on that?

            Polar has indicated that bringing power to the M430 is on the table as well – I guess they want to get there shiny new watches up and running properly first, then maybe they will revisit that.

          • why wouldn’t you get that?
            you may not have seen it if the run was short and the RI not calculated.
            when i test things i tend to test them without stryd and chest straps etc for most of the time to get a feel for the data the watch produces itself. i add in external sensors once i’m hapy with the watch on its own. flow doesn’t say when i used stryd or not so that’s why i’m avoiding answering your question directly. actually. sod it. i’m just going for a run now. i’ll link up stryd to the M and see what happens to RI when I get back (ping me in 2 hours)

          • With the Stryd sensor, I can see no option to set the source of speed/distance on the Vantage.

            I ASSUME that with Stryd connected, the watch is getting all speed and distance data from the sensor rather than GPS.

            Also, I do not see any way to calibrate a stride sensor on the Vantage. Am I missing something?

          • no you are not missing anything but it is not a problem.
            1 by default STRYD becomes the source (info from polar to me sep2018). you can’t (yet) change that
            2. yes – and it still records a pretty gps track for your map afterwards
            3. don’t calibrate stryd. you shouldnt need to. I’ve used mine for 2 (?) years….it’s fine ‘as-is’ although there are some rare exceptions to this. in which case iirc you can set some calibration factor vai the STRYD app. but don’t go there. IIRC STRYD internally autocalibrates as it goes along

            re #3 : I guess this is more of a problem with sensors that DO need calibration. RunScribe needs calibration BUT this is done on the pod via tha app/online dashboard.

          • Thanks. Your statements validate my assumptions. And, I agree with you about the Stryd not needing calibration. It amazes me how accurate it is consistently.

            The Vantage feels a bit half-baked to me, software wise. I remember feeling the same way about the V800.

            BTW, have you noticed unusually high calories burned (not with workouts, just basic daily living) with the Vantage?

          • Just to double check, I read in another review of the V that instant pace never comes from a footpod/Stryd when running outside with GPS. Did Polar tell you that this is wrong? If so, t seems a bit odd that there is option to adjust the calibration factor. Thank you.

          • there’s no option to adjust calibration in polar.
            polar did not tell me that was wrong
            pace on the vantage is a ‘bit all over the place’ as my general observation. as above, i went with the stryd on the M today…pace looked solid on the watch to me – hence i think stryd pace
            distance on v 12.49 km distance on m 13.05 …. you would have thought they would be similar if both from gps. then again the gps on the V is not great.
            am i right in saying stryd is the source of pace? dont know. if polar say i’m wrong then i’m wrong.
            ****some of these similar questions that are being asked tho are not exactly precise enough for the yes/no answer that someone wants and that might lead to confusion by me or polar. **** (your point is clear)
            which V review do you mean? was that by someone who has had it for 2 days since last friday or someone like dcr who has had it for as long as me? of course someone who got it last friday cold still be right and me be wrong.
            this is what i was told by polar on 24sep ie a product manager type person and NOT support: “a. Speed & distance should come from footpod as default. I need to check still if footpod support has been finalized yet”

          • @Mike, even tho I quote Polar, they have now said the opposite is true. Ie they have confirmed that GPS needs to be turned off.

          • Ah, thank you for confirming. That is a shame. Did they indicate if they plan to change this in the next firmware update? It just seems to make sense to allow the user to prefer instant footpad pace over GPS.

            I second the comment above about this thread – it is the most informative source of information I have come across. Thanks for your hard work.

            The review I was referring to is at: https://www.nakan.ch/wp/2018/10/29/les-polar-vantage-v-et-vantage-m-testees-de-fond-en-comble/.

          • Wait, so now they are saying that pace is still coming from GPS even with footpod paired??

            That is very unfortunate if true. I’m really shocked at how neutered this watch seems to be compared to the V800. Proper footpod support is really important to me, since I use Stryd exclusively.

            Calorie count is also messed up, e.g. burning 3600 calories on a day with no workouts (2600 would be more typical).

          • that is what the same person told me (product person, not support).
            I’ve re-asked for the reasons you say.
            it might happen this way because of the Vantages own power calculations ‘gettign in the way’ so i’m asking if it really is the same on both V&M… on Mit seemed that pace was much better to me with stryd…oh well. i could be wrong

          • Pace seems relatively stable with the V. I’ll run a phased workout with pace targets tomorrow and see how that goes.

            As an aside, I find the WHR grossly inaccurate (not during activities, I use H10 for that), with multiple random spikes up to 150. Not impressed.

            So far, the Vantage is really tough to recommend, especially if coming from the V800.

            It’s a shame, because the fit and finish are remarkable.

          • I asked Polar in August. They said that Stryd compatibility with the M430 is planned, but they didn’t have a timeline. On the phone, a guy also did say the watch was being supported as out was only a year old, maybe he was trying to keep me happy. Would solve all my problems if they did, I really quite like my m430!

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