Ray's Weekly Sports Electronics Mailbag

Welcome to the Weekly Mailbag. I'm Ray, from DCRainmaker. com. If you've ever searched for reviews on sports technology - you've probably come across my site. I write about my triathlon/running training in general, along with sports technology and whatever else seems interesting to me. I started the Weekly Mailbag series as an opportunity to share some of the answers of the many e-mailed questions I get each week.

If you enjoy what you find here, then feel free to click the links to find even more in depth information on each topic. And if you have any questions, you can always e-mail me directly. Thanks for reading!

1) How to create mile alerts w/o using auto-lap?
2) Wearing heart hate strap during races
3) HTC Android Phones that have ANT+ Capabilities?
4) Garmin Forerunner 310XT new power meter firmware updates

Question #1: How to create mile alerts w/o using auto-lap?
From Dave -

"Some of my running buddies have the FR310XT and I hear their watches beep on the mile every mile. Do you know if I can do this on my FR305? I see from other posts that you can set it to auto-lap at the mile, but I don't want it to lap, I just want an beep that I passed a mile marker."

Yup, the best way to do this is to setup an Alert, based on distance - which will automatically ding every mile. Here's the details:

1) From the main menu, select Training 2) Then Training Options > Alerts > Time/Distance Alert 3) Set alert to 1.00 miles and select to repeat (or distance/time of choosing)

Now, one alternate use for this is nutritional/hydration alerts. This is a great way to remind yourself that something needs to occur every mile (or every x number of minutes). I find this especially useful in races, particularly on the bike where it's very easy to forget your nutrition/timing in the heat of the moment. With this setting it'll simply keep notifying you every mile, or for example every 10 minutes. Also note that this works across every Garmin fitness devices, so it's not just limited to the FR305 and FR310XT.

Question #2: Wearing heart hate strap during races
From Keith -

"I have a quick question about HRMs and wearing one during racing. I have only done sprint and Olympic distance tri's to this point, next month I will be doing my first Half IM. Do you wear your HRM during long course races? I have been thinking about it and figured I would ask you your thoughts."

Hi Keith. Yes, I do wear it from start to finish during all races. I simply put it on below my tri-suit and then it'll pick up once on the bike and then carry through to the run. I'll be racing on Saturday in Boise at the 70.3 and will be wearing it the whole day.

And even if you don't train by heart rate, it's still very interesting data to correlate against other metrics (be it pace or power). In many ways, it's probably the most valuable data I'll get all season - hence the reason why I capture it.

Now that's not to say I follow it 100% of the time during a race. Races for me are a mix of heart rate zones, power zones and perceived effort. On the bike I tend to follow heart rate more closely, and use power as a limiter (i.e. - do not exceed X watts). Whereas on the run I tend to go more towards perceived effort and use heart rate as a guide. Nonetheless, I've always found it fascinating to look at the heart rate data later on compared to my perception of how I felt at that point, and how my paces/power looked.

Question #3: HTC Android Phones that have ANT+ Capabilities?
From Jeroen -

"Do you know if there are any HTC Android phones which are ANT+ compatible?"

No, there are unfortunately no HTC phones with ANT+ capabilities, either on Android or Windows Phone 7 (or any other platform). Currently the only ANT+ capable phone options are the Sony Ericsson X8 and X10's, which do perform well for sport scenarios (in fact, it performed quite well in my recent GPS Sports Accuracy Tests).

That said, I'm hearing rumblings that there's some other phone vendors coming out in the fall with ANT+, but I've got nothing as far as vendor names goes. I suspect we'll see/hear more leading into both EuroBike and Interbike in August/September, as well as the ANT+ Symposium that follows the week after Interbike.

Note #4: Garmin Forerunner 310XT new power meter firmware updates
From Me -

I just wanted to briefly call out a major firmware update to the Garmin FR310XT, which adds a slew of power meter related functionality, as well as the hotly desired 1-second recording mode for non-power meter activities (running, kayaking, hiking, etc…). All in all there's about 25+ changes made in firmware version 3.70. Hit up the link to grab the latest goods, and you can discuss it here in the ST forums. Enjoy!

Recent Mailbags:

Weekly Mailbag - June 5th, 2011:
- To use or not to use elevation correction
- Heart rate measurements while underwater combined with distance
- How to setup run/walk intervals

Weekly Mailbag - May 30th, 2011
- Is Edge 500 reliable with PowerTap?
- Garmin FR310XT and where to wear it during swim
- Training with Heart Rate Resources

Weekly Mailbag - May 22nd, 2011:
- Comparing Garmin GTU-10 vs Spot Tracker
- Creating CompuTrainer courses from GPS files
- Heart Rate Strap Combo Platters

You can find all past Slowtwitch Weekly Mailbags here, and all prior ones here.

[Editor's note: our capable editor-at-large for electronics Ray Maker is the publisher of the online sports tech blog DC Rainmaker, one of the top-ranked sites by Google for extremely in-depth reviews of advanced GPS, Heart Rate Monitors and sports gadgets for triathlon, cycling, and running.]