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Today’s new SPARTAN firmware release is a combination of ‘meh’ and ‘oooh’.
There are some general stability improvements and better connectivity. Some people experience issues when first connecting to the HR belts…that is addressed. So that’s definitely bug-fixed mehness.
Then the firmware also introduces HR Zones on to the watch. This is no huge secret to me as some of the dummy units I had of the SPARTAN TRAINER last year had HR Zone screens as mock-ups that didn’t exist on the real watches. So this has obviously been planned for quite some time and, you would argue, should have been there in any case right from the start.
Here is an image of what you already had online in MOVESCOUNT. A nice HR plot which can have other workout data overlain as well as a potentially interesting heart rate-duration curve. The bar chart already shows Suunto’s 5 heart rate zones from ‘Easy’ to ‘Maximal’ ie the HR zones already existed on MOVESCOUNT prior to this firmware update fro the watch.
And the aggrregate HR Zone view in in the movescount.com/overview section – like this:
What’s New with Heart Rate Zones?
These are all mostly catch up features but, generally, on the SPARTANs they tend to have been implemented in a visually appealing way.
- 5 Zones can be set and changed on your watch (Options>Training>Intensity Zones – changes do not initially sync to Movescount)
- Zones are available in all sport modes including the custom sports modes
- Customisable sport-specific zones are available across
- running – normal, trail and treadmill; AND
- cycling – road, MTB and indoor trainer.
- ie one zone for cycling and one zone for running not 2×3=6 zones
- By default, zones are based on age.
- A new workout screen shows your time-in-zone as the workout progresses (factory sport modes only for now)
- Similarly, time-in-zone is shown graphically in the workout summary and logbook once the workout is finished
Well. I suppose none of that is ‘new’ for those of you who have ever trained by heart rate. That’s the (much welcomed) meh over and done with.
Now for the oooh: Where I think Suunto will take this in the future
Here’s where you tell me the company that’s done that before. But I couldn’t remember anything quite the same as that.
It seems the case from this new functionality, and the existing Movescount functionality, that Suunto are looking at INTENSITY-DURATIONS measured by heart rate. That’s nothing new (at all)…bear with me.
But. Big But. The recent Suunto 3 announcement (as of Jan 2018, not yet released) was majoring Big Time on adaptive training plans based on INTENSITY-DURATION targets ie what we have jsut been talking about in relation to the SPARTANs. So we can hope that the new HR Zone features announced today will quickly lead through into adaptive training plans on all Spartan watches in the future, not just the entry-level Suunto 3 devices.
It would seem mean-spirited for Suunto to introduce new functionality on the base model (Suunto 3) but not include it on any of the other more expensive models. Although a full rollout of Firstbeat’s adaptive training plans over the entire SPARTAN range could incur a high licencing cost for all existing devices.
This might also show a readiness to introduce power and/or pace zones.