Aside from your bike and your shoes, a good sports watch is a training must. With so much of your training off-road, you need a watch that can handle precise navigation because, let’s face it - trails don’t exactly have street signs.
Additionally, you need an accurate heart rate monitor to make the most of your training plan, a long-lasting battery for those all-day rides and long runs, and - because it’s XTERRA – you need a training watch that can handle gnarly crashes as well as you do.
The new Suunto 9 GPS sports watch meets all of these requirements and more. The watch has over 80 sport modes (you can also customize your own), up to a whopping 120 hours of battery life with continuous exercise tracking, sleep tracking, an interval training function, the ability to change sports during exercise (hello transition!), and an incredible number of data points for both exercise, daily activity, and recovery. The Suunto 9 Baro includes a barometer and compass for even more accurate ascent and descent values for when you’re bombing down switchbacks.
XTERRA elite, Karsten Madsen - who was seventh at the XTERRA World Championship last year - won’t wear anything else but a Suunto 9 fitness watch and encourages the athletes he coaches to use them as well.
“The way the Suunto 9 plots navigation is better than anything else out there,” said Madsen.
“It records exactly where you went and everything your body did along the way. Plus, the battery life is beyond anything else in the industry.”
Madsen also appreciates the incredible amount of data points the watch generates not just during a workout, but throughout the day. Madsen is coached by XTERRA World Champ, Josiah Middaugh, who is a master of the science behind training.
“I log everything,” said Madsen. “Josiah and I take an extremely analytical approach to training and we use all the data Suunto gives us. We target specific heart rate zones during certain sessions, so getting accurate data back is crucial. It’s easy to sync the watch to Training Peaks where we can evaluate and rate each workout because the Suunto 9 paints a super accurate picture of our workouts. With that kind of data, we can make future workouts geared toward optimal fitness and avoid overtraining and injuries.”
Madsen also relies on data generated during recovery.
“It’s so important that you balance intense training with rest to let the body absorb hard work, so I definitely use the activity functions to look at resting heart rate and sleep,” he said.
“Additionally, If I see that one of my athletes was barely meeting his pace on a tempo run but his heart rate was near threshold, then I know he’s probably cooked and I need to build rest into his schedule.”
The MovesCount desktop site and app allow you to look at data in graph and chart form so you can easily make sense of the numbers just seconds after a workout. Immediately, you can see your high and low heart rate values, average and max speed, calories torched, vertical speed, altitude, ascents and descents, pace, and even cadence.
MovesCount also features a pretty amazing heatmap, which shows you the most popular trails and routes in the area for running and mountain biking. (For many XTERRA athletes, the heatmap is even better for finding the trails without people.) You can add those routes to your watch, and with the breadcrumb feature, you can make sure the trail you are on is actually the route you want to be taking. The breadcrumb feature is also useful in conditions with poor visibility or on trails or ultra runs that require navigation.
Without a doubt Suunto 9 can stand up to the rigor of the trails, whether it’s crashing on rocks or getting whipped with tree branches.
“That watch can take a beating,” said Madsen. “I’ve crashed and smacked that watch face on trees and the Suunto 9 has stood up to it. Look, endurance sport is a long-term commitment. You need to be consistent day after day, week after week, and year after year. This is a watch that is going to give you the training data you need to be your best.”
SUUNTO 9 SPORTS WATCH
- Intelligent Battery Modes
- Estimated Wrist HR
- 80+ Sport Modes
- GPS Navigation
- 100 M Water Resistant
- Starts at $499
- Suunto 9
Learn more about Suunto at www.suunto.com.