Stick with it and break habits!

My Name is Hayden, I am a masters swimmer from Northern Ireland. I compete for Lurgan Masters Swim Team and, on a trip to England, I also swim with my old team Camp Hill Edwardians, based in Birmingham.

I have been a swimmer for many years but after taking 9 years away from competing I started back three years ago. Due to work commitments and raising a young family I do not get to train as much as I like or need.

I first became aware of the Instabeat early 2013. I was reading up about Google Glass and thought there had to be something like that for swimming.   A few Google searches later I came across Instabeat and decided to back the campaign.

It was a long wait but September 2014 I was one of the first to receive an Instabeat unit as part of the initial testing program. As a gadget fan I was keen to get started straight away. First step was setting up the device. Registering on the Instabeat website was easy and painless, user-friendly, and my initial impression of the dashboard web pages was good.

Installing the software was easy enough. I use both Mac and Windows 8, with Windows I had no problems but just a few initial teething problems with the Mac software. I did notice a few UI problems where as I work in Technology I would know where to look but an inexperienced computer user might miss things. This aside, the Instabeat application does its job well. My device was quickly synced up to the website, (syncing my Heart Rate settings).

Now came the real test – How did Instabeat fare in the water. Well I had a major problem. I couldn’t find a pair of goggles that didn’t leak with the Instabeat on. I use the small racing goggles and initially tried a new pair of Speedo Vanquisher. No good. I could see the device was working and even with the blur of the water in the goggle I could see the colour changing from blue to green to red. By the time I finished the session my right eye was redder than the light on the Instabeat. I worked my way through my backup goggles but no success.

The main problem wasn’t when I was swimming but when I pushed from the wall on a turn or starting. Using the goggles I had the goggles didn’t sit quite right and the seal wasn’t tight enough. Pushing off the slightest movement in the goggles caused a leak.

I was providing feedback to the Instabeat team and they came up with different goggles to try. I have found that for me the Aqua Sphere Kayenne are the best to use with Instabeat. This though is a personal thing, as different shapes of faces etc. will help decide which goggles to use.

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The other thing to stress here, is that you will get frustrated at first. You have the great device full of potential but you can’t use it properly because it leaks. Stick with it and break habits. Swimmers usually stick with what they know when it comes to equipment, you now have an excuse to try different varieties.

So I now had my goggles. Well the device feels comfortable to wear. Again a bit of adjustment to the goggles as the left eye is pulled across a bit more but I could now see the light indicator clearly enough at the bottom of the goggle. It felt even more natural swimming with the device mounted on these goggles than without it! I have also tried the Speedo Bio Fuse. They were a bit more of a struggle but ended up fitting well.

Watching the lights change through the different heart zones is very addictive, especially as you swim you are trying to see how the light corresponds to how you feel. I can safely say when it hit red I was running out of steam.

Instabeat is perfect for open water swimming. For pool swimmers, the only small possible problem would be leaking when pushing off after a flip turn, but I guess that is only if the push off is really strong.

I have now been using Instabeat throughout my swims for the past couple of months, and it’s been really fun to share my workouts initially on twitter and now Facebook. The dashboard has a nice and clean feel and it is easy to pick out the relevant information.

The dashboard also looked great on both my Nexus 7 and IPAD 1 (I never updated!).  Picking up on the stats and examining the graph is a great way to analyse your workout. The graph on the profile page is not complicated and caters well to competitive swimmers/triathletes as well as the casual fitness swimmer.

Review | Instabeat

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