A new triathlon season: first dip in the sea and a new Garmin 735XT watch

The triathlon season has started

As a sure sign that triathlon training is getting serious, I joined my coach and two fellow triathletes for our first open water sea swim of the year this morning. It was a quick dip: just enough to remind us of what’s involved. It was a shock to the system, but we’ll be doing this at least once a week from now on, and we’ll soon get toughened up to it. The swim along Bray sea front is lovely: on sunny summer mornings, when it’s calm and quiet and you’re swimming fifty meters out from the beach, life can seem just magnificent. (On the cold, wet, windy mornings, different emotions emerge, but that’s rare enough).

my new garmin forerunner 735XT watch

Earlier this year, when I was on Ireland AM demonstrating dog fitness trackers, I was wearing my old Garmin Forerunner 310XT watch. It’s probably five years old now, and while it faithfully records my running and cycling stats (distance, speed, heart rate etc) it’s a bit clunky. When my co-presenter Mark slagged me because it looked so big and old fashioned, I decided that it was time for an upgrade.

So this week, a more recent version of Garmin, the sleek Forerunner 735XT arrived. This is a whole new generation of sports watch: it’s designed for all day use, recording 24 hour continual heart rate, activity all day long (step count etc), sleep taken (including quality of sleep), as well, of course, as detailed analysis of any sports undertaken.

 

You can see that it’s far more discreet: a watch that you can wear at work (or on telly) without drawing attention to the fact that it’s a sports watch. The functionality has improved massively: one helpful aspect is that it links to your smartphone via low-power bluetooth so that you get notification of any texts, emails, WhatsApps, tweets etc, and you can even read these messages on the watch itself. Far easier than dragging your phone out of your pocket every time.

 

The continual heart rate monitoring is helpful: I have learned over the years that when I fall ill, my heart rate zooms up by ten beats a minute around a day before I feel unwell. I used to measure my heart rate manually every morning but now I have a continual way of monitoring, from the watch on my wrist, with no need for chest heart bands or fiddly finger tip measuring devices.

 

The watch monitors just about every imaginable physiological parameter while you’re running, cycling or swimming (in the pool or at sea), automatically uploading the data to online record keeping (such as Garmin Connect) that you can share with your coach. It probably sounds very nerdy to people outside the triathlon world, but if you’re interested in this sort of thing, it’s better than it’s ever been before.

The smart phone integration has also improved immensely, with other apps (like MyFitnessPal) seamlessly integrating with the Garmin software, allowing you to keep simple food diaries to ensure that you’re eating enough calories to match the amount of energy that you’re burning up exercising.

If you want a full in depth review of this remarkable watch, see DC Rainmaker’s review here.  It’s priced at around €380, and for that money, you get a degree of functionality and usefulness that was unimaginable a few years ago.

The only problem is that once you have all this information at your fingertips, there are no excuses any more: if you are not doing well, the only remaining possible reason is that you aren’t trying hard enough!

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