Cutting Edge Power, Pace and Heart Rate Technology with Tom Fowler Polar USA
Wearable Technology Today and Into the Future
Today we are speaking with Tom Fowler, president of Polar USA, about the benefits and evolution of wearable technology. Tom has vast expertise and engaging stories about fitness as a former professional triathlete, and via business experience with Intel, Recon Instruments and Cervelo Cycles plus a world handle on what runners want and need from technology.
In this episode he shares his thoughts on the future of wearables and how the data they provide will help the connected athlete improve their performance.
From mountaineering to running
His entry into athletics stemmed from a mountaineering accident. His personal understanding of training needs for athletes of all levels, coupled with his dynamic professional expertise across the sports and wearable tech industries, provides unique and authentic insight into the current – and future – state of the wearable technology.
Fowler comes to Polar from Intel, smart eyewear pioneer Recon Instruments and Cervelo Cycles, where he played a significant role in their evolution from start-up to cycling performance industry leader.
Advances in wearable technology create new potential for runners
Tom is an active competitive runner and triathlete. He married with two children and completes the family with his running partner, Murphy the Dog
Questions Tom is asked:
3:09 First Four:
- How old are you?
- Where were you born?
- Where do you live now?
- What is your favorite race distance or type of race?
4:45 What is your fitness background?
16:10 When did you start using wearable technology?
20:45 Where do you see heart rate fitting in with other training data?
29:16 What products offer power readouts?
31:48 Is there a basic model of Polar?
33:05 What kind of impact can all this have with training and racing?
37:22 How much do Polar products cost and where can you get them?
38:47 Are there other companies that make similar products and are these single-sport applications?
39:36 How has Polar evolved over the past 40 years?
42:56 What is Polar’s target market?
44:36 How much information can runners use to self-coach as well as get help from Polar to optimize training and performance?
47:42 Where do you see the future of wearable tech going?
52:05 Do you think in the next 3 year that average runners will have elite level data resources available?
56:43 Final Kick Round:
- What is your favorite local training run or outing (location, starting point, parking, distance, terrain and safety issues)?
- Favorite running or health related book(s)?
- Words of Wisdom or Humor?
- Who or what would you like to have featured on the Run To The Top podcast?
Quotes by Tom:
“In all of that ramp up for Ironman and all the little issues I had, the one part of my body that gave me absolutely no grief was the leg that I broke. That wa rock solid. Everything else was a mess, but that leg was fine.”
“If you have a general understanding of how to train for endurance sports and how to use heart rate, yes, the products today are way more advanced, way easier to use use, deliver tremendous insights and value versus what was available in 1981, but the core essence of ‘I want to know with accuracy what my heart rate is right now and I want to know how long I’ve been training at that level’, you can figure out the rest. And Polar was delivering that back in ‘81”
“If heart rate was the first major biometric advance that would help runners back in the ‘80’s, the GPS was the Chapter 2 that really drove a tremendous improvement in specificity and precision and understanding of training. And now the third revolution which is now only just beginning is the incorporation of running power into the mix”
“With careful attention to understanding the intersection of heart rate, pace and power, you can calibrate and optimize every race, every workout to not only do exactly what you want to do, exactly what the workout or race calls for, but to have the most enjoyable , most productive running experience.”
“I have to give FitBit some credit for doing a great job of bringing a community of people who in no way thought that they were candidates to have a wearable technology device on their wrist. Suddenly it’s a lot of ‘soccer-moms’ and average office workers saying ‘This is stuff I should pay attention to’.”
“Where Polar shines unbelievably is in delivering value, not only in the quality of the data that matters to the committed runner, but in the degree to which we support that athlete in analyzing that data, interpreting that data, and giving the athlete an understanding of what their physical state actually is.”
Take a Listen on Your Next Run
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