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How to Run Smarter With Polar M430 GPS Running Watch

Whether you’re training to meet a specific goal or running to stay fit and healthy, seeing progress is a big part of what keeps us motivated. Using GPS running watch technology will drive your performance, but it’s the accurate and actionable data that is truly giving you the information needed to reach those milestone moments.

Polar M430, our newest running watch, takes your training to an entirely new level by featuring our most advanced running technology and smart coaching features yet.


Perhaps the most apparent new feature on Polar M430 is the addition of a 6-LED wrist-based heart rate monitor, featuring Polar’s proprietary heart rate technology.

“Polar M400 has been a nearly perfect companion for many runners across all levels of experience,” says Sanna Meriö, Segment Manager at Polar. “For years, it’s been a customer favorite, so we wanted to build on the success and ultimately create a new running watch that makes heart rate training even more approachable. Wrist-based heart rate, paired with advanced running and smart coaching features, makes Polar M430 a very compelling running companion as well as a great value.”

With 40 years of experience in heart rate, reliable heart rate technology is not something Polar takes lightly. When Polar develops any new product, the team looks at everything holistically.

“Based on structure, weight, ergonomics, use cases, and several other factors, we design the optimal LED structure within the product’s form factor,” says Sanna Meriö. “In the case of Polar M430, we chose the 6-LED solution to account for weight, form factor, pendulous motion, and more. We develop our algorithms all the time and Polar M430 builds on our latest developments.”


In addition to the wrist-based heart rate, Polar M430 also touts advanced running technology and Polar Smart Coaching features. Polar Running Program, paired with Polar M430, will guide your daily training and help you achieve performance goals.

Runners can upload daily training programs to their Polar M430, and be off to achieve new goals each time they train. Not only does Running Program help you train with the right intensity but also builds other key areas of your training program via strength and core training videos.

GPS running watch - Polar Running Program paired with Polar M430- Completed running plan

“With a simple and intuitive process, Running Program helps to improve running performance and results for a specific event,” says Dr. Raija Laukkanen, Director of Science Collaborations at Polar. “The program will also inform runners how long they’ll need to recover during training and after the event, and can even be applied to broader fitness programs, such as getting in shape for the upcoming summer months.”

With a simple and intuitive process, Running Program helps to improve running performance and results for a specific event.

Dr. Raija Laukkanen, Director of Science Collaborations at Polar.

Polar is not new to personalized guidance and Smart Coaching, though. For 20 years, Polar has incorporated pieces of Smart Coaching in various programs such as Personal Trainer, Keeps U Fit, and the Star Training Program.

“The technology and development of Running Program is ultimately a combination of various pieces that worked well in previous Smart Coaching programs,” says Dr. Laukkanen.

“We then added functionality and intelligence that allows for adaptation, event dates, and integrated strength training exercises. What’s important to remember is that every piece in the program – from incorporating strength training and recovery to help you avoid injury to planning your entire training session to build speed or endurance – serves the purpose of making you a better runner.”

Running Index on the Polar M430


With Running Index, another advanced running feature for Polar M430, athletes can easily monitor their progress and see how their running performance develops over time. The score is calculated automatically after every run, based on heart rate and from the speed data collected via GPS.

The relationship between running speed and heart rate changes when you gain or lose fitness. When you gain fitness, your heart rate typically decreases at any given submaximal speed. Similarly, when you lose fitness, your heart rate typically increases at any given submaximal speed. Running Index takes advantage of this well-known phenomenon, and allows you to easily monitor changes in your running performance.

With Running Index, another advanced running feature for Polar M430, athletes can easily monitor their progress and see how their running performance develops over time.

GPS running watch - Polar M430 running index

“Not only will Running Index give you insight into your performance over time, but also comparing your Running Index value with others will give you an idea of your own running fitness level. For example, you can determine whether you’re fitter than average in your age group, or if you have some work cut out for you,” says Sanna Meriö.

Paired with Polar’s proprietary and reliable wrist-based heart rate technology, Polar M430 empowers performance-driven runners and goal-minded athletes to effectively set and achieve goals, and visualize their progress every step of the way.

Polar M430 GPS running watch colors

Polar M430 GPS running watch in a nutshell

  • Designed for serious, goal-driven runners
  • Successor to the award-winning Polar M400 GPS running watch
  • Integrated GPS, wrist-based heart rate, and 24/7 activity tracking
  • Waterproof (WR30)
  • 8 hours of training with GPS and optical heart rate, fully charged
  • Works with Polar Flow, the free fitness and training app and web service
  • Comes with Polar Smart Coaching features, such as the Running Program

world’s best GPS running watch?

Reliable running metrics is only a part of the Polar M430 experience.

What truly sets Polar M430 apart is its ability to help you turn running data into insight and action. Paired with Polar Flow, the Polar M430 turns into a reliable running coach that provides personalized feedback, an adaptive training plan, and live guidance for athletes during different stages of their training sessions.

The Polar Running Program considers your training history, gauges your current activity levels, accounts for a final goal date and target distance (5K, 10K, half, and full marathon), and then builds a personal running program in seconds. Polar Running Program also isn’t your run-of-the-mill spreadsheet running plan. You can upload your training plans to the Polar M430 and let it guide you during your sessions.

Watch this to get a feel for what the Polar Running Program is like.

Other advanced Polar Smart Coaching features include Running Index, which uses data to show the efficiency of your running, Fitness Test, which enables athletes to gauge their current fitness levels and see progress along the way, and Training Benefit, which provides feedback immediately after a training session to explain the benefits of a workout.

For more info on this, read how Polar M430 helps you run smarter.

What’s new with the design

The design is fully waterproof and features a lightweight, breathable wristband and vibration alerts. Polar M430 comes in dark grey, dark blue, white, orange, and neon green. Polar M430 features the same 5-button design as Polar M400, suited for easy handling in difficult conditions.

The black-and-white screen is easy to read even – or should we say especially – in direct sunlight. We’ve also added in new watch faces.

Accurate optical heart rate tracking with Polar M430

Optical heart rate monitoring on the Polar M430

Polar M430 has our proprietary wrist-based heart rate technology with 6 LEDs. This means that inside the watch, there is the technology that detects (which includes the LEDs) the pulse waves. There’s also the heart rate algorithm that interprets the raw data it’s getting.

Compared to other Polar products the Polar M430 is also different in form factor, size, weight, and how it sits on the wrist.

All these three (tech, algorithm, and the form factor) form the heart rate solution, and we can tweak each one of them to get optimal results. For Polar M430 we have noticed that the 6-LED solution gives us (and you) the best results.

With the Polar M430, you can for the first time do the Polar Fitness Test with a wrist-based heart rate. We feel that this speaks volumes of the accuracy and reliability of the heart rate tracking on Polar M430.

How does Polar M430 compare to other Polar products?

Polar M430 is the successor to the popular Polar M400 GPS running watch and builds on its success.

Here’s how Polar M430 compares to the M400 and other Polar products. You can also use our comparison tool for more in-depth comparisons.

Wrist-based heart rateXXXX
GPSXXFrom mobile deviceXXX
GPS power save modeX
Sleep PlusXX
Speed and distance from the wristXXX
End time estimatorXX
Smart NotificationsXXXXXX
Smartwatch OS
(Android Wear)
Music storage and playbackX*
Swimming metricsXX
Multi-sport modeX
Connectivity with Bluetooth smart sensorsHeart rate, StrideHeart rate, StrideHeart rateHeart rateHeart rateHeart rate, Cadence, Speed, Power, Stride
Battery life with activity tracking20 days30 days4 days6 days 2 days with Android
1.5 days with iPhone
30 days
Battery life with GPS8/30 hours (low-power GPS)8 hours13 hours w/ mobile GPS6 hours8 hours13/50 hours (low-power GPS)
DisplayBlack-and-white display, 128×128 pxBlack-and-white display, 128 x 128 pxColor touchscreenBlack-and-white display, 1342 pxColor touchscreen, 240×240 pxBlack-and-white display, 128×128 px

*Music storage available when Polar M600 is connected to Android devices

How can you get the new Polar M430 GPS running watch?

Polar M430 is available in dark grey, dark blue, white, orange, and neon green (limited edition) in the official Polar webstore.

Now, get ready to chase that destiny!

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Please note that the information provided in the Polar Blog articles cannot replace individual advice from health professionals. Please consult your physician before starting a new fitness program.

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