I love training with a heart rate monitor, and Polar is my favorite brand. These days I have been working out with the RS300X ($170). Designed with running in mind, this HRM is great for other sports as well.For me, the feature that distinguishes this heart rate monitor from others I have used in the past is the big red lap button at the bottom of the watch face. Press it, and the watch saves your stats for that lap, but keeps on recording the rest of your workout. When you're done with your workout, the RS300X breaks down your workout data by lap as well as giving your info on your overall workout. It is great for working out at the track when running repeat distances or when training with negative splits. When combined with the S1 Foot Pod ($130), the heart rate monitor tracks your speed and distance as well — perfect for all the type A runners out there.
For more of my opinion, keep reading.
Although not as cute as the feminine raspberry FT60, I love this HRM. I have it in black, but it also comes in orange. The watch is a little beyond my experience as a runner, but it sure has motivated me to pound the pavement and add up miles. The RS300X stores up to 16 individual workout sessions and 16 week summaries. You can see the miles, speed, calories burned, and heart rate zones with the press of a few buttons. The S1 Foot Pod laces into your shoe strings and although it looks big, you can't really feel it when running. You do, however, need to tuck your laces in so they don't slap about on the hard plastic, because the repetitive sound can be really annoying. One motivational feature I love is that you can program the watch face to count down until your next event, alongside the date and time. I have 40 days to train for the 10k I just signed up for, and my watch tells. You can set zones and alarms for heart rate zones as well as speed and distance.
I used this HRM when training for my last triathlon, and it was great when I did brick workouts. I also wore it when I raced, and even though the tri was not a chip race, I have the stats on each section of the race and my transitions. Super cool.
You can buy this heart rate monitor directly from Polar or check it out in person at REI, where it's $20 cheaper. Regardless of where you purchase this model, the heart rate monitor comes with a chest strap.