Polar updates Vantage GPS sports watches with FitSpark, Race Pace, and Strava Live segments

Polar continues to update the Vantage V and M devices with a feature seen in the Polar Ignite along with other new features to help you improve your running results.

Six new sports watches for the casual athlete to the ultrarunner

In October Polar updated the Vantage V and M GPS sports watches with several improvements and new features. The advanced sleep tracking and recovery measurement were a couple of the major improvements seen in that update.

Today's Polar Vantage 5.0 updates bring one significant feature I tested on the Polar Ignite and have been hoping to see on the Polar Vantage V since I prefer this watch over the Ignite. The FitSpark daily training guide is now present on the Vantage V and Vantage M, offering you suggested workouts based on your specific recovery, fitness level, and training history.

The Polar Vantage V and M 5.0 firmware upgrade is available with the following updated features and enhancements. According to Polar, these updates include:

  • FitSpark: Designed for athletes looking for personalized workouts to help them meet their fitness goals, FitSpark is a daily training guide that provides athletes with custom, adaptive guidance based on their fitness level, training history, and Nightly Recharge sleep measurement. With the update, Polar Vantage M and Vantage V will now suggest exercises within cardio, strength training, and performance categories helping to elevate athletes' workouts. Athletes can choose from these suggestions, select their favorite sport when doing cardio exercises, and then start a training session and follow the personalized targets and supporting exercises. FitSpark works with the data collected on your Vantage M or Vantage V to offer recommended workouts based on your fitness level and goals. For athletes looking to improve their aerobic fitness, gain more strength, strengthen their core, and improve mobility, FitSpark can help.
  • Race Pace: Serious athletes looking to decrease their mile split or train for their next marathon at a particular minute per mile pace can now monitor their running pace with Polar's Race Pace. Race Pace helps athletes maintain a steady pace and achieve the target time for a set distance. You select your desired pace, and your Vantage M or Vantage V will tell you in real time how you are doing. During the training session the target pace/speed is compared with training information. You can follow up on how far behind or ahead you are compared to the pre-set target. Race Pace tells you what the required steady pace is in order to meet the set target and how much of a pace adjustment is needed in order to meet your goal. Race pace is available on both the Vantage M and Vantage V. You can also set a race pace target in the Polar Flow web service.
  • Strava Live Segments: Polar Vantage V users have the newly added benefit of Strava Live Segments, right from the wrist. Connect to Strava, and see how you stack up to other runners' and cyclists' performance on various segments of road or trail. View real time data, where the segment starts, how much distance is still to be covered, and if you are ahead or behind of the expected time.

Also: Polar Vantage V review: Advanced technology and coaching help athletes achieve their best

Note that the Strava Live Segments support is limited to the Vantage V and will not be present on the Vantage M. FitSpark is one of my favorite features on the Polar Ignite because it provides various workout recommendations to help you change up your training regime while also guiding you through new exercises.

Polar has done an excellent job of releasing regular features to improve it's products and instead of releasing new hardware with incremental software improvements, frustrating those who purchase its products and find out a few months later another hardware purchase is required, it makes sure existing customers can enjoy hardware for years. The Vantage V is available now for $499.95 while the Vantage M is available for $279.95. The Vantage V and M are available in a variety of colors, including black, white, orange, blue, and black copper.

Also: Half marathon training with the Polar Vantage V: Detailed plans, reports, and coaching lead to solid results

The Vantage V is one of the only GPS sports watches that supports running power without the need for any external heart rate strap or waist/foot pod. Since I live at the top of a hill and every one of my training runs includes some serious hill running, I prefer using running power to monitor my efforts rather than using pace or heart rate.