A closer look at Suunto Spartan Sport Wrist HR and Spartan Ultra All Black Titanium HR

It’s correct. Suunto doesn’t have a swimrun-mode.

Yet.

We hear it’s in the pipeline in a forthcoming update, but without an official release date.

So, if you plan to use the Suunto for swimrunning and to include transitions, you’re left with the old trick of using any custom sports mode and push the lap-button when changing segment, which works great by the way. You’ll still get the overall speed GPS tracing and other basic training data.

C:\Users\nikla\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\INetCache\Content.Word\suunto watches.png

The Suunto is slim, with only 3 buttons and touchscreen functionality, and smart in design with good screen resolution and a vibrant display. To make the watch easier to handle, Suunto has opted for moving some of the data fields customisation to their Movescount app. The majority of smartphone Bluetooth-connected features you’d wish for is there, including smartphone notifications. There are up to 80 different sports modes available to choose from, and a wide range of settings, including the possibility to create your own apps.

There are a lot of detailed statistics for these watches, why it’s best to check them out respectively, just click on the links below.

  Spartan Sport Wrist HR Blue Spartan Ultra All Black Titanium HR
Current approx price level: 375 Euro 560 Euro
Weight 75 g 73 g
Battery life (GPS active) 8 to 30h 18h to 65h
Battery life in time mode 10 days 15 days
Touch display Yes Yes
Colour display Yes Yes
Water resistance 100 m 100 m
Integrated wrist heart rate Yes, Valencell technology No, chest strap
Satellite systems GPS, Glonass GPS, Glonass
Digital compass Y Y
Temperature Y
GPS recording rate 3 levels 3 levels
Syncing is possible with other 3rd-party apps and communities like Strava, TrainingPeaks and MapMyFitness.

We’ve had the chance to test both watches over a couple of months, both in swimrun training and racing environments, most notably in the now legendary tough ÖtillÖ Hvar Swimrun race, as well as the ÖtillÖ Utö race in cold conditions.

Running

Both watches perform really well during the runs and they pick up the GPS signal very fast. Most of the time you could start running immediately after leaving the house. It’s very convenient to use the touch screen, not having to fiddle around with buttons, and the display is really great in both sunny and dark conditions. This is especially good if you want to cramp as much data output as possible into 1 display page, not having to toggle between pages. The display does not fog up in the cold.

Immediately after any run you’ll get plenty of summarizing data, e.g. distance, laps, pace, time etc. At first the GPS accuracy was a bit inconsistent, as was the HR optical measure compared to using the HR strap on the Spartan Ultra. But this went away after using both watches for some time. We believe it takes some time to properly accustom the way you mount and use the wrist HR on your arm, e.g. finding the proper fit, tightness and position and so forth.

We also like the new interval functionality, especially how the data is displayed in Movescount, as is the summary screen mid-workout. A really good feature is the progress tool which allows you to monitor your own development over time.

Swimming

Here the resolution of the display and the possibility to view a lot of data in 1 display page really comes to its advantage. Even under water while swimming can you track your progress, and if you use the wrist HR with optical sensor, it allows you to track and record your heart rate in real-time. Hence, no need for a HR strap, which is very good when swimrunning, since less gear is always optimal! Of course, there is the option to complement with a swim-designated HR strap which if you go for the watch without optical sensor. Also in swimming do you have the progress tool available.

Other features worth noticing

Movescount

Another big thing going on with Suunto is the Movescount feature. To get the most out of Movescount, you’ll have to use browser version. It can be a bit cumbersome to navigate at first, but once accustomed to their set-up, there are lots of things you can do like, creating or importing routes and sync with your watch, checking out points of interest where you train, create and download a training programs, see and analyse plenty of statistics also visible in graphs. There is also the option to do in-depth analysis and summaries, and to export data to other software tools like excel which is pretty cool for all statistical nerds out there. C:\Users\nikla\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\INetCache\Content.Word\export possibilities.png There is even the built in online option to coach athletes or to be coached yourself, a great tool to help swimrunners around the world.

Heatmap

This is a very exiting feature for the young sport of swimrun. Suunto has developed a ‘heat map’ allowing you to locate training routes via their map function. Here you can see your own route but also routes chosen by your friends (and competitors), and given the many choices you have when swimrunning, just to explore what others have done and to have fun.

Swim heat map

C:\Users\nikla\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\INetCache\Content.Word\heatmap swimming.png

Run heat map

C:\Users\nikla\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\INetCache\Content.Word\heat map2.png

Or why not create your own video of your training or racing session?

All in all

Even though Suunto doesn’t feature a swimrun mode at the moment, unless you’re in a top-tier competition segment, this is a pretty good all-round watch to have since it will give you basically every other option you need to track your training and racing progression. And a much cheaper option as well.

Given its sleek design with touch screen, few buttons and colours, it’s also a watch you can wear in everyday life without it sticking out too much.

Suunto also updates their software frequently why you can live with this type of watch for a long time.

/The WoS Team

2017 Swimrun Equipment Test Results – SOCKS

– A good swimrun sock can almost replace a shoe!

(Old Jungle Saying, the ‘Phantom’)

Many of us spend plenty of valuable time researching and trying out the perfect shoe, but hands up all of you who spend the equivalent time on socks? A good pair of socks should treat your feet like royalty, help decrease or to avoid the risk of general discomfort, blisters, fungus, toenail problems and even odour. In swimrun they should also help release heat, promote movability and help discharge excessive water.

Finding a good swimrun sock takes time.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

At the end of March, World of Swimrun (WoS), Swimrun France (SR-F) and Swimrun Germany (SR-G) teamed up in Marseille, France for the 1st ever international swimrun equipment test. During 4 days the team tested and debated swimrun equipment from over 40 manufacturers, among them, different types of socks. An important note here is that we only tested different types of socks from the same brand, i.e. NOT as a comparison between brands. There are many good socks on the market why you should test several before deciding.

Socks come in different colour, shape, form and level of complexity in stitching. There are multiple factors to take into consideration such as if they are seam-free, come with differently stitched panels, the type of fabric used, if certain wear-and-tear areas are reinforced, how they stretch when running and how they fit your favourite shoe and so forth. In swimrun you’ll see most racers use socks that can be put into 4 different type-categories e.g.;

  • Long 1-piece,
  • Medium (ankle high),
  • Short (ankle-low) and
  • 2-piece.

Our preferred model – The Medium (ankle high)

Our overall test winner was the medium version (ankle high). Its reasonable height on the lower leg will help prevent sand, mud or rocks from coming in on the inside, while running and during transitions. At the same time as allowing for proper ventilation in hot races. It’s also a good choice if you want to have the option to use a separate set of swimrun calfs. This sock we tested is specifically made for running off-road on, rocky, uneven and muddy surfaces, designed with extra attention to support and moisture management, which drained well and remained light even when being wet.

 

Long 1-piece – The Robust Protection

The long 1-piece was our second choice. Even though it doesn’t give you the same feeling of ‘freedom’ as the medium model, this one  provides full support over the foot and calf. It will protect you from sand, mud and stones but also sun and bushes when running on the trail. If you want you can insert floating material on the inside for buoyancy purposes, or why not gels, bars or waste during a race. They carry many usage options. Plus, if you race in teams of 2, they provide good visibility in the water for the person swimming behind. If you are prone to heating up they can become a bit too warm, especially in shorter warmer races. The compression version will help increase circulation in the calf.

 

2-piece – The Choice of Flexibility

If you want to maintain the feeling of ‘freedom’ around the ankle, you should opt for the 2-piece. The testing team fund this one to be a good choice when balancing between a lower type socks, where still wanting the benefits of compression. Also the option to change the type of sock depending on the type of swimrun race.

Short (ankle low) – The Minimalist Choice

This short-type sock is perfect for running however, it does allow for small stones or mud to enter inside, which can be a nuisance. If you’re the hot-type of swimrunner, you probably want go for this type anyway.

 

By swimrunners – For swimrunners

#srgeartest2017

På återseeende – Tschüß und Auf Wiedersehen – Entendre en arrière – Until next time – Zbogom!

/The WoS Team, Swimrun France & Swimrun Germany

 

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

  • READ ABOUT OUR 2017 PADDLES TEST HERE
  • READ ABOUT OUR 2017 SHOE TEST HERE
  • READ ABOUT OUR 2017 WETSUIT TEST HERE
  • READ ABOUT OUR 2017 GOGGLES TEST HERE

We want to thank all manufacturers that helped us by providing equipment for our test:

AquaShpere
Bagheera *

Barracuda *
BrooksCamaro
Colting
Decathlon
Garmin
Glorify
Gococo
Head
Huub
Icebreaker

We also want to extend a BIG thank you to www.randorunning.com for helping us with the logistics, Fix parents for housing the testing team, and last but not least, all you swimrunners who have followed us over the weekend, liked what we do and asked us so many intelligent questions. 

 

2017 Swimrun Equipment Test Results – PADDLES

Cruising through the open waters with the propulsion of swim paddles. That’s the signature move of a Swimrunner. There are as many levels of swimming fitness as there are different race course / training types. From flat-and-fast sprint Swimruns to demanding rough water stretches, as seen in the Hvar race this April. The transitions and trail running add additional demands to which “shovel” to use for racing, that go beyond the average pool swimmers usage for e.g. strength workouts?

So, which paddles should you choose?

Paddles on table_smallere

At the end of March, World of Swimrun (WoS), Swimrun France (SR-F) and Swimrun Germany (SR-G) teamed up in Marseille, France for the 1st ever international swimrun equipment test. During 4 days the team tested and debated swimrun equipment from over 40 manufacturers, among them, 9 different paddles. Contrary to normal calm conditions in the rugged and steep terrain of Calanque de Sormiou, Marseille, the test was conducted in rain, storm-winds, huge waves, strong currents and sun.

    

Test Results

Click on the table to enlarge it

Overall winner

Even though the different types serve different purposes, the green Strokemaker paddles reached the highest overall score. Looking at the small gaps to other models which is actually good since it shows good performance overall, one might look at other focus areas as weight, size, transition ease or water feeling.

Best performance in the water

By far the best paddles in the water were the Colting paddles. They might not be leading in other fields but if the swim is you main focus, you might want to go for them. As from the rough waters experience during the testing weekend: Water performance is NOT determined in your training pool. Hit the waves to see what suits you well!

Best in transition

The test team consensus here was that the Racepaddles are fastest, yet with other models close behind.

Best strap comfort

Strap comfort is again very individual? some like it tight, other more loose. The Strokemaker models were the test teams favourite here.

Lightest

We all have to carry the race gear weight from start to the finish line. So, if you want to go really light you may want to choose a full carbon model from Racepaddle. They are not cheap but have their strengths in transitions. Their weaknesses could be easily modified with the test teams comments on performance, see the charts table.

Largest

OK, size does matter. For some. Others might consider paddles that fit their swimming strengths and technique better. Strokemaker offers a large range of sizes and the red one we tested is by far not the biggest in stock. Large paddles take time to get used to, so start small and work your way up. 

Thank you!

We want to thank all manufacturers that helped us by providing equipment for our test:

AquaShpere
Bagheera *

Barracuda *
BrooksCamaro
Colting
Decathlon
Garmin
Glorify
Gococo
Head
Huub
Icebreaker

We also want to extend a BIG thank you to www.randorunning.com for helping us with the logistics, Fix parents for housing the testing team, and last but not least, all you swimrunners who have followed us over the weekend, liked what we do and asked us so many intelligent questions. 

  • READ ABOUT OUR 2017 SHOE TEST HERE
  • READ ABOUT OUR 2017 WETSUIT TEST HERE
  • READ ABOUT OUR 2017 GOGGLES TEST HERE

/The WoS Team, Swimrun France & Swimrun Germany

2017 Swimrun Equipment Test Results – SHOES

Besides the wetsuit, the shoes are the most important item in swimrunning. First of all they have to fit well and be comfortable. Furthermore, how they perform in different environments – stone, forest trails and narrow paths – both dry and wet. As you’re going to swim with it (most of us will do so) it’s also a question of how they drain water, and performing in swimming. Still there’s no perfect swimrun shoe yet, as there’s no perfect running shoe. However, there are some important points to check for when buying a swimrun shoe, foremost weight and draining capacity. Maybe you‘ll miss the “classical” running shoe with more drop and stability, but they are all trail running shoes which are mostly neutral with less drop. In Swimrunning it‘s all about weight, draining capacity but also how much they will drag in the water. So, less is more when you have to swim with your shoe. Cushioning or stability isn’t as important since individual running sections in many races are no longer than 8 to 12k.

 

Continue reading “2017 Swimrun Equipment Test Results – SHOES”

2017 Swimrun Equipment Test Results – WETSUITS

Wetsuits are arguably the most important piece of equipment in swimrun training and racing. It should provide good buoyancy, keep you warm in the water but also be easy to run in on land and to ventilate or ‘cab down’ (fold down the upper part) in hot conditions. This is the major difference compared to regular triathlon or open water wetsuits, only used for swimming. A good swimrun wetsuit should align itself properly with the body but we all have different needs and are individually shaped in different ways, e.g., have different body types; mesomorphic, endomorphic or ectomorphic. It can therefor be challenging to find a good wetsuit with a proper fit.

Different body types require different type of fits

 

Continue reading “2017 Swimrun Equipment Test Results – WETSUITS”