Suunto ambit – new gps hrm from Suunto

There is a new watch on the block ….

Suunto, the brand leader in functional outdoor instruments, announces the launch of the AMBIT*, the first true GPS watch for Explorers.

The Suunto AMBIT is what every backcountry skier, hiker, trail runner and mountain climber has been eagerly waiting for — a watch that combines a GPS navigation system, altimeter, 3D compass with advanced heart rate monitoring into a robust instrument for mountain and everyday use.


 is an awesome product that should be on the wrist of anyone who heads into the outdoors,” comments Greg Hill, the recordbreaking extreme ski mountaineer, who in 2010, ascended two million vertical feet. “The AMBIT is a potentially life-saving survival tool thanks to its full GPS capability and altimeter. It’s also invaluable for anyone who, like me, wants to record their tracks and log their vertical ascents and descents. And it looks great too.”

Specific Outdoor Functionality
With AMBIT’s full-featured GPS the user can choose waypoints to navigate with and see their location in multiple coordinate systems. The AMBIT boasts a host of other features including temperature, track logging, unique 3D Compass and barometric sensor. All these keep you informed of your location, altitude and weather conditions on your adventures.

Advanced Training Functionality
The AMBIT also offers functions for the serious mountain athlete. The patent pending accelometer fused GPS gives highly responsive speed and pace with Suunto FusedSpeedTM. Heart rate monitoring with Peak Training Effect will keep you within your optimimum training zone and Recovery Time will tell you when you’re fully recovered for your next adventure. And after a hard session in the hills, the GPS will guide you home where you can upload your data for analysis on

Mountain and Everyday Exploration
The AMBIT is housed in a robust BuiltToLast casing and has an enhanced battery lifetime of up to 50hrs in GPS mode. True to Suunto’s heritage in dive instruments, it is water resistant to 100m. Upgrades are available through

Comments Jonathan Wyatt, six-time world mountain running champion:

”As a trail runner and mountain athlete, what I need in a watch is a heart rate monitor, speed & distance, and altimeter. The AMBIT has all these features in one unit which is really exciting. One of the main problems for endurance athletes is battery life of conventional GPS sports watches so the promise of 50hrs is a big step forward.”

“Fused speed technology also gives a more accurate pace which is vital for anyone serious about their running. Being able to pair it and use it with all the existing PODs and comfort belts is another big plus point for me. This means one watch can be used for all my activities like mountain biking, road cycling, trail and mountain running, cross country skiing and ski mountaineering.”

“Knowing that the AMBIT is built for the mountains and will survive whatever I or the elements throw at it also sets it apart. Being able to personalise the displays of the watch, download updates and analyse the data on all help to make the AMBIT an awesome product for mountain athletes.”

”The AMBIT is everything the outdoor athlete could want in a watch,” comments Jari Ikäheimonen, brand manager at Suunto. ”It’s a unit you can trust. With its GPS and superior functions, the Ambit takes outdoor instruments to a new level. It’s a serious watch packed within a sleek but robust casing. It is the GPS for Explorers.”

New HRM and new training schedule … but still the old legs

Still recovering slightly from the injury but I have started spinning again.

New routine is this.

bike in situ on the tacq trainer

1. Assembled the turbo trainer in the house ….

kitchen unit with iPad and movies on the unit ….

jugs of water close to hand

wooden floors so easier to clean up the sweat.


2. New HRM has arrived – a Polar RCX5 with gps

On polarpersonaltrainer website you can start following a program so I started an endurance ride one with sportives in the summer on my planned to do list ….

So here is a glimpse of it all – tomorrow night after a long day’s filming I come home and then start a 2 hr low HR ride … will let you know how this progresses in a few weeks …

my training plan (bike)

One thing I like about the site is that once your sessions are uploaded it works out a training load to avoid you overtraining. It is similar to Suunto’s Movescount Training Effect (I wrote a post about that here when i was using the T6 HRM). I started a training ride last night that said i had to do 30 minutes in Zone 2 HR which for me is only 127bpm max …. the summary is interesting showing the percentage of fat burn in the calorie expenditure … Basically long and slow burns fat …. will have to monitor this as would be great to drop 3-5kg for summer.

HR graph - not allowed any greens tonight mumma



Sportive Training Continues

It is hard to train for a slightly hilly Sportive when you are in the middle of a flat desert 5000km’s away from your bike. I am trying to keep my miles up on one of those Lemond static bikes and even have my cycling shoes and padded shorts with me so I can do some hours on the bike. This morning was a shorter session – 2 x 15min standing hill climbs. For me that is tightening the friction until difficult to pedal sat down then stand up and dance for those 15min.

HR on those two 'hills'
EPOC (training effect) - see the hump for the short respite

More Cyclosprtive tips I have picked up


Wear appropriate clothing
Make sure you carry appropriate clothing with you. I would never ride this event without a rain jacket, especially in October. As a mid-summer ride, I’d probably still take a light shell for the descents. A gilet is an essential bit of kit, I’d urge everyone to have one, and I rarely ride without wearing one. Arm warmers, knee warmers, helmet and gloves are all essential too, just remember conditions can change quickly in the hills and after every climb comes a descent.

Get out and ride
Miles, miles and more miles! There’s nothing to substitute getting out there on the road. Try and make it sociable; head to a café with your mates, take in some hills on the way. Try and build up your distance over the weeks, with a combination of slightly harder short midweek rides and a long one at the weekend. The key is to enjoy it, that’s why you ride after all!

I would not advocate doing intervals for a long ride. The base miles from your rides, as long as you push it on the climbs, should be enough for your next challenge.

Know how to climb
Climbing varies from person to person, hill to hill. Some riders may be able to push a big gear in the saddle, while others dance on the pedals. Don’t forget climbs hurt everyone. It’s just how riders deal with the pain that separates the fast guys from everyone else – along with talent and training, but that’s another matter.

Keep it steady
The key point in an event is not to go mad on the first few climbs. Start off nice and steady, try and stay seated in a comfortable gear, concentrating on keeping a smooth rhythm. Keep an eye on your cadence, it’s likely it’ll be lower than when you are on the flat – but you also don’t want to be pedalling at 50rpm. Personally, I climb at around 80-90rpm in the saddle. There are occasions where you’ll need to get out of the saddle – again don’t forget you’ve got several climbs in the event, so don’t waste your legs on the first climb. Keep the gear low and don’t fight the bike.

Staying relaxed on any climb is the key. This is a combination of your position on your bike and fatigue (I’ll get on to food later). Ideally you want to be sitting comfortably back in the saddle for these high cadence climbs, vary your hand position where needed, from the shifter hoods to the tops. It’s unnecessary until after you’ve crested the climb to be on the drops, this will just put more strain on your body.

Be a groupie
If there’s a headwind, try and keep in a group as there’s nothing worse than having the wind in your face with miles to go. Don’t get in a group that’s pushing you out of your depth right at the start though, you’ll only overcook it, get dropped and spend the rest of the climb/ride grovelling! Once again, a steady rhythm is essential. The target is the top of the climb, not a point 50m ahead of you. Use each crest or bend as an intermediate focus, but never forget the end goal.

If at all possible, try and avoid getting off and walking on any climb, you’ll lose all rhythm and it’s not going to be any more fun pushing.

Make sure you eat
A good solid breakfast will help you through the day; cereal, porridge, toast are best. If you must have a fry-up, don’t set off too quickly – give it sometime to digest!

Check out the course profile before hand, as this gives you the ideal opportunity to fuel up before each climb. Try getting some food down you on any flat section and remember to stay hydrated before you hit the climbs. Eating is crucial, as you’ll be putting out much more power climbing. I’d suggest on a 100-mile event,to go with 80 per cent solid foods and 20 per cent as a back-up of gels.

Although gels are easier to consume on the go, they do leave you feeling rather hollow and your stomach will always function better with some good solid foods in there. Use the gels as an emergency for when you’re near the end of the ride and you feel that ‘bonk’ coming on.  Depending on where it’s sensible to eat, when racing I always try to eat every 30 minutes, give or take. A hard training ride, I might go an hour, but always eat before you think you need to and refuel once you reach each summit. I’d suggest using an energy drink too, taking a gulp every 15 minutes or so.

Hopefully all these tips will help you succeed – and remember to smile it is supposed to be fun ….

Sportive Training Continued: Turbo Day

My training plans for the Sportive is based on a short training period – I am a finisher as opposed to front runner. I am already doing over 7 hours a week of cross training, running and cycling so planning on more specific Sportive preperation as opposed to exacting cardio.

Intensity: The intensity level of training is defined as ‘low’, ‘medium’ and ‘high’. In pre-season (and off season) the focus is still on low intensity work to continue building endurance and in particular increase your aerobic fitness. This is the bedrock of sportive riding – developing heart and lungs so they can efficiently deliver oxygen to your working muscles. At this stage we also introduce some mid intensity work to start developing speed and the ability to sustain that speed.

At mid intensity you’re operating just below your anaerobic threshold – the point at which your heart and lungs can no longer keep up with the oxygen your muscles need to function properly. This can be tested scientifically, or you can aim to be working hard enough that conversations are possible but in short sentences only, and you are never getting ‘puffed out’ (start to breathe/blow more rapidly to expel CO2) which is a sign of excessive CO2 production due to anaerobic activity.

Cross training: Cross training is any non-bike exercise and it’s useful to ensure that this covers a wide range of muscle groups to keep you in overall good shape. One round-the-world cyclist said that all of his pre-ride training was on core strength, including arms and most of the upper body, because he wanted to avoid strain or injury from so many miles in the saddle. He said he got bike fit once the ride began!

Turbo trainer: Turbo sessions can serve a range of purposes – a standard session is a good low intensity steady ride when the weather is too bad or nights are too dark to go outdoors. Long interval sessions should be about 6-8 minutes at medium intensity followed by an easy spin at low intensity for 4 minutes to recover. With all sessions, aim to maintain a good cadence of 80-100rpm and a smooth, steady cycling rhythm.

Low intensity flexible training: If you have limited time then developing your aerobic system through long workouts is not an option. Instead you need to find one hour a day that you can use effectively to raise your heart rate – it could be a solid hour of rapid walking at lunchtime, a Sunday dog walk, or an extension of your cycle ride home from work. It’s about stealing snippets of time that add up to a real training benefit



Today’s training was turbo training at low to mid-intensity. Had a friend on the bike next to me (in a gym 3000 miles from home and my bike) so the time passes really quickly. Hadn’t had breakfast so grazed a Clif Bar between 30mins and 1 hour into it so never felt hungry although Desert Roadie said he felt a gnawing hunger …..

Here is the Heart rate graph – I am surprised it went up to a 153bpm spike as I was trying to keep it around 139-142 (70% of max HR for me)

Training started – Hill training

according to my list:

If you cannot find a hill that is long enough then complete a 30 minute TT then complete a total of 30 minutes of hill repeats (not including recovering spinning back down to the bottom)
Cycling over geared 55-60 revs per minute before riding up hill can closely stimulate sportive. You need to get use to being tired when riding up hill.
Learn to spin your legs down hills, not necessary at 70 revs per minute but 10-20 revs keeps the blood flowing and saves your legs.

3 sets of 10min standing (I can barely turn the pedals sat down so I guess high resistance) at a cadence of between 58-65. Rest with about 4/5 mins in between of very low resistance spinning at 95-100 cadence.

Think my heart rate was too low although I know this is strength training rather than cardio …

hills yellow - squat jumps at end

Bryton Cardio 30 Review (via Andrew Birkett’s Blog)

Thinking of getting one to combine my cycling and hrm training – and to replace the Suunto T6C ……

Bryton Cardio 30 Review This GPS sports watch is the smallest on the market and that’s the first advantage of this unit, many people find other large bulky units irritating for running so. I played around with the Cardio 30, took it for a run or two before using it in a race. It was very easy to learn how to use the unit, with a very simple and uncomplicated interface. What is probably the best thing about the Bryton Cardio 30 is it provides you with all the essentials … Read More

via Andrew Birkett’s Blog

Trail running in the appenine mountains

Been based in Frassinoro this break which is 1110m above sea level. Been doing lots of hilly runs and wishing I had also brought my mountain bike and road bike as there are amazing rides all around.

altitude run profile

The quick 10km run I did this afternoon/ evening was over a mountain bike trail over 300m of climbing and quite a bit rougher than my normal runs … For once I thought I needed trail shoes. Not sure what altitude does to pace as I can’t judge how much slower I am as the trails are so much rougher. I will have to look up the effect of altitude once I get a decent data connection. I don’t feel like I am struggling muscle wise although heart rate seems high and pace is slow…

Frassinoro is a bit famous for their cross country skiers – part of the trail is apparently an important training area for them summer and winter. Passed a girl this evening o the trail walk/ running with 2 poles and buns of steel – maybe she is the world champ?

Running on automatic

Went for run this morning after 7am and it was already mid 30’s …. decided just to do a nice 8km+ easy run as I was flying later and didnt want to miss out on some exercise today.

I was running around one of the lakes almost on auto plot – the first and last km are on dirt so that slows things down. I looked down as my HRM beeped (I set my Suunto T6 to autolap every km when running on gps) it said a slow 4:52/km so I just relaxed and carried on. When I finished I was washing some kit then looked through my lap times … amazing in that 5 of the km laps are within the second. That really is cruising on automatic … if I tried to do it that steady there is no way I would manage.

look at the laps

Stepping Out of my comfort zone

So I bike, Run, Surf, Kite  and Sail …. but recently been going to an hour long step class

Surprisingly I am enjoying it too – an hour to find my rythm use different muscles and join some pals. Wore the HRM and it seems to be quite a good workout too.

Step class Heart Rate through class


Worked it harder yesterday

Too hot for most things

This mornings commute and subsequent 10km run was in this heat … Thought I was coming down with heatstroke as heart rate was 160+bpm but pace was a low 5m/km

from office to street

Took a long time to feel better

HR drops are for lap stop slugs of water

Saturday morning run commute to work

It’s nearing summer in the Middle East and running has to either be done early doors – late at night or in air conditioned luxury indoors.

Ran in this morning and watched as temp on the Suunto HRM first said 29 then rose in the warm sections to 34 degrees C. Lap times fairly consistent – 1st km and a bit is on corrugated dirt road then the rest is mainly tar road – although some sections get busier with traffic. Bits where there is no traffic you can see as the lap times barely deviate from the 4:25/km heat cruising pace.

lap times

Remembered to stretch off after the run so hopefully legs wont be sore later.

Saturday 5km Race – 151st ESB Farewell

Saturday morning and a 5km race around one of the lakes.

happy before

A group of us decided to run so bleary eyed and registered at 5:30am then a 6am start. It was quite cool this morning around 28-29 degrees so I was thankful for that.

Summary and HR

A great run – I watched as the New Chris streaked off in 3rd place whilst I struggled along in about 13th (unlucky for me). Chris eventually came in 5th with an amazing 18m40 – I came in 13th with a 20m17s

Nick joined us on his 40th Birthday and ran a very good 23m50s which is great as he doesn’t really run much. Pip training for the Great North Run did 25m40s with Jess a little way behind her. Top marks also to Chris F who at over 60 finished in 30m paced by Jules and still beating over half the field.

My lap times were fairly consistent – felt tired towards the end but didn’t bother with any last minute dash as no sprint finish with anyone.

Aaah good day always when you start with a run …..

happy after the race with the lake in background

What have you done this weekend so far?

What I did Sunday – A race for a change

This morning was a 5km race – a GIRLS on The Run support Race. See their website for more details ……

Our wasnt in the US but rather Baghdad and it was 6:30am and already hot. I had decided to dress up in support so was in frou frou skirt blonde wig crop top and fishnets … had more that a few wary army eyes on me and perhaps unsettling a needy eye from one or two too far into their deployment. Was going to pace a colleague to a 24min/5km time but after 1km was told to run on so I hot footed it and proceeded to try pass everyone I could. From starting to race properly not one person passed me – which I guess is the benefit of starting from the back. Had a good run as well as a last minute dash to the line by a soldier who didn’t want to be beaten by a cross dresser, especially a cross dressing civilian. He not only lost that sprint but also faced the heckle from a spectator who shouted ‘you got beat by a girl….. an old girl’ – there was me thinking I looked alright.

Finish time 20m43 at just over 5km so not bad for me and for drag …..

And after the race I went to the gym and did a 15min spin on the bike to get rid of the lactic acid. My race number had a discount coupon on it for RoadID – something I have been meaning to get for a while – like a subtle dogtag in case something happens on a bike ride or a run (or even a mugging)

So made my profile and ordered one as did my work colleague and occasional run and exercise mate Guy. Will let you know when I get it.

A sunday getting beasted

Woke up this morning and headed into work early so that I could get out and do a run. It was hot – at 8:30am it was already 33 degrees. Prepared a litre bottle of water to leave by the lake where I was doing loops – the lake is just under 3km long around so it was a run there then 3 laps and a run back to get my 10km in.

Hope you all had a nice Sunday




How good is 5 a side footie as a workout

Played another game last night and I don’t think I can remember the last time I was so puffed out from exercise. I cycled there to warm up – that’s the first 15 min or the heart rate chart. Then warm up and then the game – an hour of hard exercise.

It’s all in the high aerobic / anaerobic level where there is basically attrition on the body – but exercise that allows you to develop sprint and muscular ability by wearing you down. The dips in HR are my 4 stints in goal – pretty defined by a marked drop…. The last section is the cycle home with bruised shins and tired limbs – even friendly games can be pretty brutal sometimes.

HRmax 180 training effort 4.6

Noticed when uploading the suunto T6 data into moves count that nearly half the exercise counts as maximal, with a training effort of 4.6

. In their literature they say ….

4. Highly improving Training Effect This workout highly improves your aerobic performance, if repeated 1 to 2 times per week. In order to achieve optimal development, it requires 2 to 3 recuperative workouts (with a Training Effect of 1–2) per week.
5. Over-reaching Training Effect This workout helps you greatly improve your aerobic performance, but only if followed by a sufficient recuperation period. Training at this level requires an extremely high level of exertion and should not be performed often.

So easy exercise for me if I get another chance for any before going overseas for work next week.

What exercise have you that was much harder than you thought?

WordPress 5km run Done and Dusted – around Glasgow Green

wordpress 5k

Tomorrow is my brother in laws wedding and with the amount of relatives coming to stay and general business I wasn’t sure if I could do the WP 5km in time for Sunday. I was going to do a longer run today but thought it made more sense to do this 5km now. The weather is glasgow has been dreich – well actually pissing down the last 2 days. Still a bit of wind about (but I am working instead of at the coast kitesurfing like i would prefer ….

So off for the run – down to Glasgow Green (with an annoying pause at busy road junction see HR drop) and for a wee run around heading back hopefully to make the 5km mark. Running with a Suunto t6c and attached GPS pod so finding distance is pretty good. Well almost good as I overshot the mark and stopped the clock at 5km mark and just cooled down the last 500m.

5km 22min 10sec PACE (slow 4:25/km)

Might do a double on the Sunday – a 10km run to celebrate all those attempting the run.


Sunday Split

Flew out yesterday night so decided the best thing to do was do a decent run and then a ride before I packed up and hopped on the plane.

It was 8am and already hot, Got a cooler bottle of water and left it near the hut figuring I would loop around here between 4 and 5km for a drink and then carry on – was planning on doing at least 10km so set off slow and gradually speeded up along with the heat.

Its here on MOVESCOUNT

Was about 28 degrees so nothing like the weather that mid summer will bring when I feel like dying of the heat at 6am.

After the run I felt good so jumped on the Brompton to spin out the legs getting rid of some lactic acid – so high cadence spinning for another 16km.


The anaerobic threshold is the point at which blood lactate or lactic acid starts to accumulate. Anaerobic means “without oxygen” and is basically the point at which you are working too hard for your body to use oxygen as its main fuel source. As a result, lactic acid is the waste product produced.

Accumulation of lactic acid normally occurs at around 85-92% of your HRmax, and is best described as the “jelly legs” feeling you get when you try to push yourself really hard. An active recovery (i.e. spinning your legs against a low resistance) is the best way to remove accumulated lactic acid.

Loving the Suunto HRM – I have the T6C – it’s light on the wrist and I love the way it shows PACE when using the GPS running and Speed when on the bike using a bike pod … clever Finns. You can see the recovery lactate stage clearly in the EPOC chart where the spinning was removing lactic acid … Today even with flying I have no leg pain.

EPOC chart

EPOC is the additional amount of oxygen the body needs to recover from exercise. Previously only measurable in sports laboratories, EPOC is a scientific indicator for the accumulated training load of each training session. Measuring EPOC makes it possible to objectively gauge whether the training session was sufficient enough to improve your fitness level. EPOC is also used to calculate your Training Effect.

March Monthly Update – Stats

Had a busy work filled month – my efforts to average 1hr/day sadly failed

Will make an effort to do more next month – but despite this setback on the exercise front I am very chuffed that so many people read this disparate and weird blog – below is the WordPress Stats ….. so to all you out there thank you very much.


Wordpress Readers