Polar RC3 GPS


The following post is sponsored by Fitfluential LLC on behalf of Polar. All opinions are 100% my own.

I’m a data nerd. I love numbers and analyzing numbers and identifying trends. I love when I can use those numbers to demonstrate progress or to pinpoint areas that I need to work on.

Given all that, you would think that I would own a GPS-enabled device or a heart rate monitor to help monitor my runs and to improve my training. Nope. I’ve never owned one. But I decided that this year was the year I would get one and added a GPS-enabled watch to my birthday wish list.

I guess my friends at Fitfluential and Polar USA were listening because soon after, I was sent a Polar RC3 GPS watch to test and review.

Polar RC3 GPS Review

It came at just the right time because I had been reading a lot about heart rate training and training smart for your body. After injuries, recovering from knee surgery and battling some running ruts, I knew that heart rate training was something that my body (and mind) needed.

As you may have seen on Instagram and read last week, I’ve been using my Polar RC3 GPS for about three weeks. So far, I’ve only used it on my runs, mainly because I keep forgetting to put it on before yoga or strength training.

Short story? Super easy to use and I love it.

Polar RC3 GPS run summary

Here’s what’s in the box

  • Watch
  • Heart rate monitor and strap
  • USB cord
  • User manual.

Out of the box, the watch is very simple to set-up. You customized your user settings (age, weight, gender, and activity level) which then determines your heart rate zones.

You can also customize your sport profiles – running, cycling, other activity. For running, you can specify if you want the GPS on or off, automatic lap distance, etc. If you plan on using the RC3 for cycling, you can purchase a cadence sensor.

Once you’ve set that up, you strap on the heart rate monitor and you’re ready to go.

Polar RC3 GPS
On the Run
Once you step outside, you click the start button and the Polar RC3 GPS locates your HRM and GPS satellite. Once both have been located, you click start and you’re ready to run.

During your run, there are six different ways to monitor your run. Since I’m most concerned with my heart rate, I typically stick with view 1 which shows my heart rate, current pace and distance travels. I also have it set to record a lap at every mile when it shows me my pace, heart rate and total time for that mile.

One of the main reasons that I haven’t looked into a heart rate monitor is because I always assumed that the strap would annoy me while I ran. However, I don’t feel the strap at all and it doesn’t chafe which really surprised me. However, it did take me a little while to get used to wearing such a big watch while I ran but I also don’t typically wear a watch.

At the end of your run, the Polar RC3 GPS will tell you what kind of training run you just had – steady state, tempo training, etc. as well as the overall stats for your run. Logs of your training are stored on your watch and you can also download it to you computer and sync it with Polar Personal Trainer online.

On the Polar Personal Trainer website, you can see all your data and track your progress. Here are some examples of how the data is presented.

Heart Rate Training After Run Profile

Smart Training Features
I think that the best part of the Polar RC3 GPS are its smart training features. There’s no better way to gauge effort and to get feedback from your body than from your heart itself. The RC3 GPS offers several smart training features. Some of the interesting ones include:

  • Fitness test will give you a snapshot of your fitness profile in about five minutes. Comparing your results over time will let you know how your fitness is improving.
  • Zone Optimizer adjusts your 5 heart rate training zones based on your current physical conditions. For example, the day after a hard training day, the zone optimizer will lower your heart rate zones so that you don’t over-train or work your body too hard.
  • Running Index is calculated automatically after each run, based on your heart rate and speed data from your GPS. Used regularly over time, it helps you see how efficient your running is and lets you monitor your progress by measuring the influence of aerobic fitness and training economy.

Polar RC3 GPS watch views

Things that I didn’t like so much
There were only a couple of things that I didn’t like or would improve about the Polar RC3 GPS.

  • GPS Connection: It took 5-10 minutes for the watch to connect to the GPS satellite. Since I’ve never owned another GPS-enabled watch, I don’t know if this is longer than normal or about average. Either way, I would get impatient waiting outside my door for my watch to connect. Once it did connect, I never lost the signal.
  • Syncing with a USB cable: You have to use the USB cable to sync your data to the Polar Personal Trainer website. It would be nice if the data automatically synced wirelessly.

Polar RC3 GPS sync
Despite those minor drawbacks, I would recommend the Polar RC3 GPS to anyone.

If you’d like to buy this great running GPS click here and use code: “fitfluential” during checkout for a 25% discount! This discount is valid only on the RC3 GPS and will expire on 8/31.

Follow Polar on Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

Do you have a heart rate monitor? Do you use Polar?

{This post is sponsored by Fitfluential LLC on behalf of Polar. All opinions are 100% my own.}

Read about my experience with heart rate training and using the Polar RC3 GPS.


More Ways to Follow Love, Life, Surf

Twitter -> @cyu888 
Instagram ->  cyu888
Facebook -> Love, Life, Surf
Pinterest -> LoveLifeSurf
Email or in Reader -> http://feeds.feedburner.com/lovelifesurfblog
Bloglovin’ -> Love, Life, Surf



  1. says

    I have used a HRM in the past but really, really don’t like wearing the strap – it made me feel like my breathing was being constricted or it would constantly fall down. BUT it does provide great data to work with. And FYI – my garmin HRM/watch takes some time to find a signal, usually at least a minute or two.
    Angela @ Happy Fit Mama recently posted..My Favorite Summer FoodsMy Profile

    • says

      That honestly was my biggest worry about using a HRM but once I got it adjusted properly, I can’t tell that it’s there. I think I also figured out why my watch was taking so long to find a signal.
      Christine Yu recently posted..Pressing RefreshMy Profile

  2. says

    Thanks for the great review! I’ve never used a heart rate monitor or GPS, but the more I read about them, the more intrigued I become! It would be nice to know exactly how far & fast I’m running, although I wouldn’t wear it for all of my runs. Sometimes running is my way to escape data, so I don’t want to get hung up on the numbers on every run! Sure would be nice for tempo & long runs though!
    Nicole @ Work in Sweats Mama recently posted..Don’t Worry, Be HappyMy Profile

  3. says

    I’m looking to purchase a watch, I haven’t considered Polar before because I didn’t think they were GPS watches. Now that I read your post, I’m going to look into this watch. Do you k ow off hand what the battery life is (hoping 5+hours)! Thanks for the post!
    Holly recently posted..Sweaty SundayMy Profile

    • says

      On the website, it says that you get 12h of continuous use with the GPS on. I haven’t run down the battery at all since I’ve used it. Also, when you sync the watch to your computer, it charges it too so depending on how often you sync, you may not run down your battery too quickly.
      Christine Yu recently posted..Polar RC3 GPS My Profile

  4. says

    Does it take that long to find the signal everytime? Are you running in the city with tall buildings around? I have heard some people say their Garmin Forerunner 10 takes a while for a signal, but mine usually finds it right away and even when it’s slow it;s not more than a few minutes. Anyway, love all the data from the Polar! very cool
    Coco recently posted..Slow Cooker Steel Cut Oats RecipeMy Profile

    • says

      It kind of does take that long. I’m in Brooklyn so it’s pretty much brownstone buildings around me, not tall or anything. When it’s just me, it’s fine. When I went running with my husband, he got a bit impatient :-)
      Christine Yu recently posted..Polar RC3 GPS My Profile

    • itisme says

      The Garmin watches cache away info about your starting locations and uses that info to reduce the time it take to find satellites. I have the Polar RC3 GPS I think 5 minutes might be a stretch, its a couple of minutes.

  5. says

    Wow- I didn’t realize it had those smart training features. I really like the idea of it letting you know when you’re out of your ideal heart zone. I keep saying I’m going to use mine more, but a watch like this would be much more appealing than my chest strap!
    Laura @ Mommy Run Fast recently posted..Eating for ancestry + WIAWMy Profile

  6. says

    My mind is blown that things like this exist – I live in another century, apparently. You give a very thoughtful review! I’m so obsessed with data and numbers that I wonder if I’d run into a tree because I’d keep looking at my wrist.
    Tamara recently posted..Feeling The August Things.My Profile

  7. says

    Man, I remember when heart rate monitors needed to be strapped around your chest, and they were crazy old school, lol!!! Now I just “rely” on the machine I am working out on if I want to know my heart rate…. Not that reliable but hey, it’s within a range I guess???
    GiGi Eats Celebrities recently posted..Tricked Out With CoolioMy Profile

  8. says

    I have a Polar HRM and an old Garmin GPS. It would be nice to have them both in one (I think I look a little silly pressing buttons on two different gadgets!).

    Five minutes does seem like a long time to find a satellite if it is doing it each time. My Garmin usually takes less that 30 seconds unless I have traveled quite a ways from where I last used it.

    To save time I would turn it on while you’re getting ready and put it by a window. Then it should be ready for you when you are.
    Debbie @ Live from La Quinta recently posted..Random: IDEA Convention, Cross Country, Coco, & Jackfruit CarnitasMy Profile

  9. Tobi says

    I have the slighlty older model, the Polar RCX3 GPS… I’m using it for over a year now and i’m very happy with it! I’ve reached my goals that i’ve set and now after reading your review, I’m happy that I’ve got the GPS module separated from the watch itself… Before I start running I just put the GPS module outside for a minute, grab my drink and strap and when I get outside, the GPS already has connection! It doesn’t take longer than a minute or two tops… Nice review and I would recommend every body that is thinking of buying an HRM to do so, it really helps with training!

    • says

      Thanks Tobi! I think that I figured out why it’s taking so long for the GPS to locate the signal – I kept moving and swinging my arms around while it was trying to locate the satellite. Now I do put it on my windowsill while I finish getting ready and now I don’t have to wait.
      Christine Yu recently posted..Pressing RefreshMy Profile

  10. says

    welcome to the wonderful world of running data!! I LOVE my GPS watch but I never really download all the info. I like to see my time, pace and distance when I’m done with my run and then I turn it off and move on. I try to have a healthy relationship with it…but I do feel naked (and free?) when I run without it:-)
    allie recently posted..99 PROBLEMSMy Profile

  11. itisme says

    Shouldn’t you know something about other watches if you are going to write a review? Isn’t it a little biased that your friend from polar gave it to you? And isn’t 3 weeks way to short to have opinions about product? I hate to break it to you but, people Garmin Forerunner 210 with heart monitor AND PEDOMETER, allowing measuring of cadence, for the same price as the RC3 GPS.


    • says

      This review is based on the time and experience that I’ve had wearing and using the watch thus far and I didn’t say that I recommend this watch over all others. I’m sure that my opinion may change over time and if it does, I will be sure to update the review and mention it as well. I always clearly state whether or not I received a product free of charge or if the post was sponsored by a company and I always provide my honest opinion here on the blog – positive or negative, free product or if I purchased the product myself. Thanks for the recommendation for the Garmin. I will look into that too.
      Christine Yu recently posted..Pressing RefreshMy Profile

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge