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10 Ambit3 hacks for triathletes


10 Ambit3 hacks for triathletes

9 March 2016

Get the most out of your Ambit3 sport watch for triathlon with these 10 hacks and tips. We look at the various ways you can optimise and customize your watch for training and races.

© Berger

Define what you want to see on-screen

What you want to see during a race and what you want to see during training are usually very different things. “In race modes I tend to want just one simple screen,” says Ambit product manager and avid triathlete Markus Kemetter. “So I have made ‘race versions’ of the cycling and running modes for triathlon rather than using the default modes.” Since you’re unlikely to look at the screen during the swim, you’re probably ok to leave that as default!

© Orca

Create race specific modes for racing and training

To create a new mode just for racing or training, select your watch from the top of, click on the sport mode and hit the ‘create new sport mode’ button. Choose a name like RaceRun, RaceBike or TrainRun/Bike etc. You can then choose from eight different screens, each with four different layout options, or go minimalist with just one screen with one display – whatever your preference.

Decide what works for you

What you choose to see is personal. “For running, I want to see time, distance and pace, primarily,” says Suunto triathlete Åsa Lundström. But she says she’ll have up to three screens during training. “The first I have time, distance and pace. The second is for intervals, where lap tempo, lap time and lap distance is in focus and where heart rate is a second scroll on the lap distance. The third screen is for longer runs where I need a short update on reality, such as time of day, average heart rate and overall workout time. For biking, it’s mostly the same setup, with screens for cadence and watt power.”

Click for 7 off-season tips for triathletes!

© Orca

Edit the triathlon mode

Once you’ve defined the screens you want to see during a race, remember to go back into the Triathlon mode and make sure those new modes you just created (RaceRun etc) are what you see. Remember to check the order and keep transition mode after each activity so you can see how much time you lose there. During a race, simply press and hold the Back Lap button at the beginning and end of each transition to switch activities – and the stop button when you cross the finish line.

Transition like a pro

“Transition begins with the set-up and it’s very important to keep it clean and simple,” says the four-time XTERRA world champion Conrad Stolz. In the video below, he shows how to transition from the swim to the bike with maximum efficiency and minimum faff, how to set-up that rubber band and why you should start thinking about the transition while you’re running out of the water.

Rotate the watch on the bike

While you can set up your smartphone on your handlebars as a secondary display during the bike stage, there are some drawbacks. Keying in a four-digit code into your smartphone is probably not something you’ll want to do during a race, so disabling that and turning off sleep mode is important if you also don’t want to touch the screen every time you want to see it. But then your phone battery will probably die about five minutes later! Here’s a better tip, from Suunto’s Markus Kemetter: “I turn my watch to the inside of my wrist. This way I can quite easily view the watch while cycling.”

Pair your Suunto Ambit3

The Suunto Ambit3 can be paired with Bluetooth enabled (but not ANT+) accessories such as cadence cycling sensors, HR and power meters. “For cadence I have my Powertap P1 pedals giving both power and cadence,” adds Kemetter. “The Suunto Smart Sensor is best for triathlon as it records your heartrate from the swim.” It is able to do this by storing the information and transferring it once you’re out of the water.

Planning your training for the season ahead? Click for six tips!


Get more out of your battery

If you’ve got your sights set on an Ironman and you’re unlikely to break a world record, then chances are you’ll need to adjust the GPS accuracy from BEST to GOOD to ensure the battery stays the distance. “This way you can get up to 15h of race time.” And that should be enough for most Ironman athletes!

Add some apps

Suunto’s App Zone is a unique place within Suunto’s community where you can find apps to add to your watch. Useful ones for triathletes include Normalized Power,  which takes account of variables like wind and hills, Average Pace Last Kilometer (see also Last KM AVG Speed) and Marathon Time, which estimates your finish time based on current pace.


Recover like a champion

When you’re done with all that training and racing, remember to recover properly. The Ambit3 has comprehensive recovery features to ensure you do it right. In this article you can read how to use Recovery Time and Recovery Status to gauge how much rest you need.

Lead image: © Orca/Gines Diaz