Suunto App adds Pro Load & Recovery Metrics, and more…
This is an app-only addition by Suunto and will be available for free for many of you NOW on iOS and Android.
- Training progress/training load
- Dashboard with new insights covering PROGRESS, resources, sleep, calories, steps & workout hours
- System widgets & insights (Android only so far, display individual dashboard items on ‘desktop’)
- Export FIT, export GPX route or workout (new)
Should I get Excited?
Well, if you’re getting more serious about your endurance sport and want to learn more about the science of what you are doing then these features will be great for you and they are presented in a consumable way. You will start to get an idea of the cumulative effect of all your training and why you sometimes feel tired for extended periods and sometimes why you just excel on the day. Perhaps even if you are less serious about training some of the charts might elicit one of those lightbulb moments of physiological self-understanding.
The new stats are all about the balance of short term fatigue and longer-term fitness. If you get the two right then you have a chance of a PB, if you get the balance wrong possibly through illness then you clearly see the negative impact. I’ve used this kind of modelling myself for over 10 years and it’s certainly good enough and correct enough for me most of the time.
So what’s interesting here is that Suunto has put it all on the app. A more advanced athlete on the Garmin platform would want these same detailed insights but have to go to 3rd party software like Training Peaks to access them. Garmin’s approach is refined further by allowing the Garmin watch to show single snippets of information, like RECOVERY HOURS.
Polar’s approach also has similarities with often more detailed insights on the watch and more expansive analyses on LOAD only on the desktop FLOW platform. Again, Polar would point you to TP for even more detail.
Suunto’s work seems to be in partnership with Training Peaks (TP) but you absolutely don’t need an account with TP to use it.
Note: There are MANY other ways of doing this and some are supported by Suunto, I’m just considering the HR approach here.
How Suunto’s new metric work
All the new metrics rely on a good starting point. That starting point requires you to capture CORRECT HR data.
Next, you set your correct ANaerobic threshold HR. In the absence of that, Suunto’s algorithms will make a reasonable guess but you could get a more accurate figure from your last decaffeinated 10k running race or 10-mile bike TT – the max 20-minute average HR is the one you use.
The Suunto algorithm then goes off and determines your HR zones and then scores each workout based on the time you have spent in each training zone. This score is sometimes referred to as TRIMP points or various kinds of Training Stress Score (TSS). These can be arrived at by various means but Suunto uses HR.
Stress points are then averaged over short time periods to give you a measure of fatigue (acute training load, ATL) and over longer time periods to give you a measure of fitness (Chronic training load, CTL). Your readiness to perform is called Training Stress Balance (TSB) and is simply CTL-ATL. It really is that simple and, surprisingly, science backs it up.
You want to optimise TSB on your race day.
Now, that really is NOT simple. Ask your coach about that one 😉
Here are some examples from Suunto, please ask questions in the comments section
Image Source: Suunto presentation, please check with Suunto before reproducing
There is no new insight here that you couldn’t have got before. However, the insight offered by Suunto IS very useful and VERY handy to have available on your Suunto app.
I guess the danger here is that some of this new functionality could perhaps appear a little complex to many people and so having it available on the app might be a drawback. Not so for keen athletes. The app/widgets are the best way for you to easily consume the data on the new charts.
Once you have mastered TRAINING PROGRESS/LOAD to a much greater depth than covered by this article then you might think to augment it with waking HRV tracking…train like a pro!
FURTHER READING: My HRV-guided Training for 2021 races