My return to Austria gave me pause, for example seeing how many pieces of running clothes I thought I had, and actually do have.
It also provided a chance to test some new equipment, the Suunto Quest sports/training instrument. Having something new to try out had the interesting side-effect of making me all the more aware of the old and trusted…
Given how much being at home somewhere – not least, with stuff, in our bodies and in our environment – is a matter of how we deal with that stuff, view and treat our bodies, live in the places we are, outdoor sports and equipment is an issue I pay great attention to.
Now that newly austere ways of life are making it into the news, while people consciously downsize and aim for minimalism – and sometimes think that minimalist, frugal living will be less fun because they have to reduce their spending – the value of good things for better lives becomes all the more important.
It isn’t just spending that matters, after all. Really, what matters is the value you get for your money – and there are many cases where good products fit in, and where they make life better lived. If you live it, actively…
Why even run with a ‘sports instrument’?
Admittedly, you could say that minimalism in running should rule out technology per definition. Actually, some people do say that. So, yes, a beginner doesn’t need a heart rate monitor – and neither does a pro, strictly speaking.
Buying a heart rate monitor isn’t going to make you go out and train, either. It does add a record that can make you keep yourself accountable, and it does help avoiding both under- and overtraining, though. Having a record of one’s athletic pursuits also adds to the fun, making it possible to revisit earlier exploits and, nowadays, share them with others.
I for one don’t want to let myself be controlled by outside input too much, but I will rather have some guidance and control to know what and how I’ve been doing athletically.
And so, why mention the old t6 / t6c?
Admittedly, I’m very interested in the latest technologies, and those that come in small packages especially. As they say, the best tool is the one you carry with you… and what could be more easily carried than a watch?
That does not mean that I just go out and buy the latest version, though. Money’s tight, so the value must be good.
What fascinates me about the t6 was and is this: the original t6 came out in 2004, followed by the t6c in 2008 (I should think), and the t6d more recently. And, rather like with iOS – but not so much with the iPhone, given its built-in obsolescence (thanks to the built-in battery and price policy) – it was not necessary to always invest in the latest version.
Apart from new color schemes, the main change from the t6 to the t6c was a change to the software operating the watch – which you could also get onto your earlier-model t6. There was also a (much better) new heart rate belt, which you could just go and buy (or get replaced for a fee while getting the watch firmware updated).
Similarly, the t6d changed the HR belt to transmit both encoded and unencoded signals. – So, if you needed that, you could just buy this new HR belt. The FootPOD and BikePOD also went through some changes, but again, you could just as well keep on using the old versions as decide to buy the new ones.
By now, admittedly, there would be room for a new top model, even in my opinion. Not least, Suunto has yet to bring decent GPS technology into the training line-up…
Could I afford it? I don’t know. Still, when someone complains about the price of such a sports instrument, I can understand, but I also look to the t6c I’ve been using for the last few years (I had a t6 even longer – it’s on the pictures that recorded my performance in the mountain marathon I did in 2008; but I recently sold it) and consider how long this investment has been paying off already, and think that there’s a very different calculation at work…
Full Disclosure: I have sometimes been “working” as an external tester for Suunto, getting a chance to try out new products and give feedback on them before their release, and receiving a model of the same sports instrument in return. (Hence, why I have been using a t6c rather than staying with an updated – self-bought and paid – t6.)