Suunto Race GPS watch
I love running. In fact, I love all types of outdoor activities and rarely a day go by without me getting outside. I’ve been running longer distances for three years now and this year, I took part in my first 180km race, the 13 Valleys Ultra. Taking on a challenge of this size required months of training and accurate navigation and my GPS watch was with me every step of the way.
Suunto Race GPS Watch
I was excited to hear about the Suunto Race, a lightweight GPS watch for racing and training with a price tag that doesn’t make my eyes water. On first look, the watch is beautifully presented and I felt a wave of excitement come over me as I opened the box. This stylish watch looks too nice to wear outside, I thought, let alone on muddy trails and notoriously wet winter sessions. The watch face is slightly larger than my previous GPS watches yet at under 90g, it feels far lighter. The smooth luxurious strap feels comfortable on my wrist and I love how the end of the strap secures down, gone are the days of flappy straps!
A lover of the long stuff, battery life is one of my top priorities. In my 100 mile-race (wearing a different GPS watch) I charged the watch whilst it was on my wrist, feeding the cable through my sleeve and into a power bank in my pack. This worked fine but it wasn’t the most comfortable set up and I longed for better battery performance. The Suunto race lasts an impressive 40 hours in performance mode with maximum accuracy and everything turned on. I only monitor my heart rate during training, so for me, I’m confident the battery would last longer than 40 hours with the heart rate turned off, giving me enough juice not to charge mid-race.
Beach runs with the Suunto Race and Wing headphones
The watch was easy to set up and I downloaded the Suunto app to track my health stats and activities, something I’ve always been interested in. The Suunto app and watch tracks all the data I’d expect and more. It’s by far the most user-friendly performance tracking app I’ve ever encountered. I particularly like the layout of training impact split between cardio and muscular. There’s a decent amount of data on training load, recovery and HRV which, I’ve come to learn, plays a huge part in my performance. Since listing to my watch and adjusting my sessions accordingly, so I’m training progressively, I’ve seldom been injured. Suunto Coach uses AI to offer trusted advice and supervision and you can even connect with Training Peaks, a popular online training platform.
After admiring the Suunto Race on my wrist, it was time to brave the elements and put it to the test. What sets this watch apart is the ability to scroll through activities, settings and stats with a handy side toggle and a large touchscreen interface which worked seamlessly and allowed me to get on with the task at hand, particularly useful when racing. The screen is rather bright for a watch with such good battery life thanks to the AMOLED screen. AMOLED stands for 'active-matrix organic light-emitting diodes' and in short, it offers a superior display. Some say AMOLED displays are less energy efficient and not great in direct sunlight but this doesn’t seem to be the case with the Suunto Race – both battery life and usage in direct sunlight are not compromised, I’ve put it to the test.
Training with the Suunto Race
Training with Suunto race
There are heaps of different outdoor activities to choose from and naturally, I chose running. But what type of running, I hear you ask? There’s track, trail, mountain and ultra to name a few, and this watch has over 95 sport modes to choose from for more accurate performance tracking. My training doesn’t just involve running. I cycle, hike and regularly go to the gym (strength, yoga, Body Pump, Pilates) and I can use this watch for all these things too. What’s more, it's waterproof to up to 100 metres so I don't need to worry about getting a soaked - which I regularly do!
The stop, start and lap button are where you’d expect and deleting an activity is a two-touch process to prevent any accidents! One of my favourite things about this watch is that you can look at the map when you’ve paused your activity and pan the map with your finger. I like to get lost (on purpose, I promise!) so it’s always good to be able to get my bearings when I’m ready to make my way home and and not have my overall pace compromised by looking at the map with the activity still recording.
Racing with Suunto Race
I took this watch out on a local 35km race and I loved how I could customise the race day sport mode to only show me all the stats I cared about when racing. I was even able to set reminders on when to eat, not that I’m ever had a problem with munching my way around a course! I enjoy self-navigation races (I work for OS afterall!) and the Suunto Race, with its dual-band GNSS, helped me stay on course. Free worldwide mapping sits on the app and it’s incredibly easy to download this to the watch when needed. If I require more detailed mapping, I’ve always got OS Maps on my phone.
Coming 1st female in a recent race with the Suunto Race watch
A watch for every occasion
The watch is packed full of useful features for my day to day. From sleep to stress, this watch can track it all. I don’t listen to music when I’m out on the trails as I enjoy the tranquillity of being out in nature. However, much of my training is done on road as I live in a city. I’m able to pair the Suunto Race with the Suunto Wing bone conducting headphones so I can listen to my favourite podcast (Tea & Trails) whilst still being aware of my surroundings. I also love that this watch doubles up as an emergency flashlight – now that’s one powerful screen! We’ve all been there, running at dusk and forgetting our headtorch.
Music syncing between the Suunto Race and Wing
I'm really impressed with the Suunto Race GPS watch, the first time I’ve trained and raced with a Suunto by my side and it won’t be the last. The features and performance of this watch rivals some of the best - and more expensive - watches on the market and I feel comfortable wearing this watch in any outfit – because every step counts – as it's incredibly stylish.
Suunto Wing headphones
I’m old school when it comes to listening to music, I don’t have wireless headphones or a Spotify subscription but I do love listening to my running podcast, especially when pounding the pavements close to home. I first tried bone-conducting headphones when they first came out and I didn’t like them, it felt weird. To my surprise, the Suunto Wing headphones feel completely different and I often forget I have them on.
Suunto Wing headphones
As with the Suunto Race watch, the slick presentation made me excited to turn these on. Connecting them to my watch took seconds and allows me to stop, start and skip the music without getting my phone out when running. A nifty portable power bank, which is also water resistant and super durable, doubles up as a charger which is particularly handy when on the move. The lights around the side of the headphones can be set up to flash which is really useful at night and makes me feel a little safer.
Map view on the Suunto GPS Watch and Wing headphones
The Suunto Wing headphones are incredibly lightweight, comfortable and stay in place when on my head. The sound quality is ten times better than my current headphones and the volume can be loud, really loud! What I love about these headphones is that I can still hear everything around me while listening to music or my podcast. This makes me feel safer when running alone at night and it allows me to be more social at the gym. I don’t feel the sensation of vibration like I did with the previous bone-conducting headphones I tried (many moons ago) and I’m impressed by how well the integrated microphone works, on those occasions where I have to take a call.
The Suunto Wing headphones is a great choice for anyone looking for lightweight, quality headphones but if you have a Suunto watch, it’s an absolute must!