STRAVA Relative Effort on Suunto

As the great philosopher Noddy Holder once said, “Iiiiiiiiit’s Chriiiiiiiistmas for Suuuuuunto owwwwwwwners”.

OK, I changed the last part of the quote a bit but the fact remains that today Suunto 9 (+5) owners have a surprising and welcome addition (firmware v2.10.18) that includes STRAVA Relative Effort as well as a Christmas Stocking that will be filled progressively over time. There were also app updates over the weekend too.

STRAVA Relative Effort on the Suunto 9 & Suunto 5

Here is a link covering “Everything you ever wanted to know about STRAVA Relative Effort” based on discussions with the guy who ‘wrote it’ and hands-on usage with it on other devices over the years. If you want STRAVA Relative Effort summarising in a nutshell then the phrase “It’s TRIMP-baby” should suffice or, instead, “It’s TSS-baby” for all you power-mad cyclists. For the rest of you then “It’s a numeric score of your workout that gets disproportionately higher the more time you exercise at harder effort levels” but that’s not quite as catchy.

Now, the great thing with STRAVA’s Relative Effort is that you should be able to compare your score with your mate’s score and whoever has the highest should be the one who tried the hardest, regardless of how fit either of you are. So there is no more slacking on your Sunday group rides.

Your STRAVA Relative Effort is shown on your workout details at as well as on your watch’s workout summary, thus the two scores must be the same. Sounds kinda obvious? Well, no, it’s more complicated than that as STRAVA Relative Effort is based on your heart rate zones and so for the score on your watch to match the score on then your watch must have a copy of your heart rate zones from STRAVA as well as the ones it previously had. I guess it’s possible that your STRAVA zones will overwrite your Suunto zones, or vice-versa, but I doubt that very much.

This is what you need to do to get STRAVA Relative Effort

  • STRAVA Relative Effort is a STRAVA Summit feature ie you have to pay STRAVA for it by subscribing and then check your Suunto account is linked to your STRAVA account
  • Check your zones on STRAVA and Suunto match (optional but sensible)
  • STRAVA Relative Effort is enabled before you start an exercise. To me, it looks like you have to enable it every time. #Strange.
  • Look at your post-workout result on the watch or on


You want to end up with something looking like this in STRAVA. Note it says ‘Massive Relative Effort’. Obviously all my workouts are at least as hard as this…obviously.


Although, in reality, back on Planet Earth they more often look like this when I am testing out new device features…





Although I started off this post by saying “It’s Christmas for Suunto users” I didn’t say WHICH Christmas did I? 😉 This is because the STRAVA Relative Effort feature is the first specific feature to be delivered under the umbrella phrase of SuuntoPlus. Over time Suunto will add new functionality to their watches. Currently, they are looking for suggestions and planning to implement those that are most popular.

More on Suunto Plus at (there’s nothing else there yet as of Dec 2019)

Suunto App

There were also some new additions to the Suunto app over the weekend that included

• Notifications update: you can now filter what notifications are shown on your watch
• Routes and Map: See the altitude profile of the route you’re planning

Insights descriptions in your activity summary for EPOC, VO2Max and recovery

Thoughts & Opinion

The introduction of STRAVA Relative effort as a paid-for, 3rd-party feature is not earth-shattering; yet SuuntoPlus does point Suunto towards a way forwards where, I guess, they are planning to introduce more physiology-related features.

If Suunto can couple that with a 3rd-party app infrastructure then they are probably moving in the right direction. Albeit a little slowly.


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2 thoughts on “STRAVA Relative Effort on Suunto

  1. I’m not convinced by having the Strava RE on my watch, it isn’t Earth-shattering information, but agree that having more physiology related features is a good thing.

    My current pet peeve is having native support for more devices such as Humon Hex integrated into the Suunto watches.

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