It’s all about the ‘vert’ right? For many readers of this website it is as we strive to identify ourselves not by how kms we run, but how many metres we climb up steep ascents.
Well, the guys at Suunto have come up trumps (not Donald!) with a new Suunto Ambit that specifically tracks your ‘vert’, helping you to plan and track elevation in both training and racing. For all the serious ‘vert’ nuts out there, this is probably a much-needed toy to add to your running collection addiction!
With the Ambit 3 ‘Vertical’ you can follow the altitude profile of your route directly from the watch with real-time ascent gain and remaining ascent. A summary of your ascents provides daily totals over 7 days, 30 days and a full year – perfect for that Buffalo Stampede vertical ascent competition. Now every move can be recorded and watched now – gone are the days of catching a lift back down to the bottom of the hill and climbing back up again!
But is it any good? We managed to grab a quick chat with Aussie runner Majell Backhausen who’s not only a pretty good runner, but he’s tested the watch for the last couple of weeks on the down-low. I wanted to know two things. Is it accurate and how does it help you in your training? Here’s what he said to me…
“Having tested the Ambit 3 Vertical for a few weeks now you can really see that Suunto has considered the design elements of the watch with the GPS built-in, allowing for a more comfortable fit and now using vibration as a feature for alerts.
“Being a watch dedicated to vertical, it’s also very accurate on the ‘vert’ calculations and I can plan my routes well using the Movescount App. This helps me to understand what I’m doing in a training session and what I can achieve, while keeping an accurate track of what’s done.”
When training on hilly terrain, ‘power’ gives consistent and reliable information of your effort and how tough the course is in terms of vertical gain and descent. Pacing yourself using running power is now possible with an optional Stryd Running Powermeter. Along with the Ambit3 Vertical, Stryd Powermeter compatibility is made available for all Suunto Ambit3 watches.
You can also plan your workouts on the run with Suunto Movescount App, using the watch vibration alerts to help guide you. Route planner in Suunto Movescount is enhanced with topographic maps and altitude information.
For all the Facebook runners out there, the App allows you to customise your watch settings and share your Moves ‘on the move’ as well as receive call and text notifications on the watch from friends telling you how awesome you are!
The Ambit3 Vertical combines a new lightweight construction with built-in barometric pressure, route altitude profile, vibration alerts and with up to 100 hours of battery life.
The final word
Ultimately this watch and it’s capabilities for recording ‘vert’ are about better planning what you do with ease and real-time information. Does it help you to change your approach to training and what you do? Probably.
It also might make you a bit more considered about how you climb the big stuff and help you to better manage your climbing too.
But, your body is your body and the mountain is the mountain i.e. they are variables you can’t change. While I do like the use of technology to help you understand what you’re doing and what you’ve done, consideration must be taken into account that it’s not going to make you climb any faster. Technology and your body can go hand in hand and can be used together. One is not a substitute for the other and it pays to understand how to use both effectively.
Stuff to know
Water resistant to 100 m (300 ft) you can choose your favorite color from four sporty alternatives: blue, lime, white and black. The Suunto Ambit3 Vertical has a RRP of 629 AUD (679 AUD with the Suunto Smart Sensor) and is available from the end of January. For more information, visit www.suunto.com/ambit3vertical.