Well, this morning was my first try with the Instabeat device in the pool! It was great to get to use the Instabeat HR monitor. I have been excited about this for months and what it represents! The ability to monitor my HR during a swim workout or race is something I have been wondering about for a long time. In some cases, I know that my HR has been high and I just do not know if my HR was higher than what is considered safe.

There are other HR monitors on the market. However, some are reported to be inaccurate or simply do not work in water. Instabeat changes all of that. “Real-time monitoring” is what any athlete will tell you is what they need to make sure they stay in their target HR zone.

I can recall several swimming races where I  felt during and after that my heart was pounding and I could only think, “I wonder how fast my heart is beating?”

Below are some of the things I experienced with the Instabeat device:

First, and perhaps the funniest, was that I had it mounted upside down. At least, I always put my goggles on one way and I did not check that when I was mounting the device. So, when I wanted to put the goggles on, the device was upside down. 🙂

I spent my warm up making little adjustments and trying to make sure the device was properly seated on the goggle. It did take some time and I did end up tightening my strap. I wanted to focus on the fit for this work out, make any necessary adjustments and see how easily I could put the unit on and start swimming.

For my first time, I had not connected the device to a PC to set the heart rate zones, etc. I did observe the LEDs change during the workout, mostly going from blue to green and back. No red LEDs observed.

I did not want to make my goggle strap too tight as that would end up hurting, so I tried to see what I could do without the right goggle leaking. With my strap a little tighter, the right goggle did not leak for most of the workout. The only times I would have a problem was when I pushed off from the wall after a turn. That initial surge from zero to max did cause it to leak. I think that this is more about head position as I push off from the pool and possibly tightness of the strap. Not a real surprise, but it is something I had to deal with. I may have to keep my head in a position that is best for not having a leak but is not quite as stream lined. Not sure yet.

After my workout, I did start the software portion, and used the quick start portion of the guide. The account creation was easy enough and I did like the email used to confirm that you were signing up for the service/software. The best and coolest part of the software is the graphs of the workout. In one display, I see my graph of a workout, the number of laps, duration, max/min/avg HR, distance and calories used. It can be in a metric or English scale.

I like this over the swimmer’s stopwatch/lap counter that I have tried to use. It attaches to your index finger, and it has a button on it to start/stop the timing of the workout and count laps. The main flaw with it is that it is hard to know if I have actually hit the lap button properly to count a lap. I have to ask myself each the questions “Did I hit the button?,” or “Did I hit the button and was the lap counted?,” or “Did I hit it only once?” As a result, I was still counting laps in my head to make sure the stopwatch was accurate! Makes you wonder what’s the point of the device?

I attached a picture of myself with the Instabeat HR monitor! Very cool.

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