The Suunto Ambit(3) Manual 3: Training Plans and Guidance

Moving (after a look at the time mode displays and the navigation) to what is the true raison d’etre of the Suunto Ambit line: outdoors training, adventure, exploration.

The fitter you are, the easier it is to explore and enjoy it, and you might want to use a training plan to guide yourself in a regular fitness regimen.

How can you best use training programs when you have an Ambit?

By planning your training ‘moves’, getting the Ambit to remind you of them and guide you, either in your pace or in your chosen heart rate zone…

16: Planned Moves and Training Programs

The Ambit is enough of an outdoors device to not offer the most complicated of training guidance, but one should know how to set up training programs or plan ‘moves’. Those give quite a bit more guidance than a sports mode by itself would…

17: Planning Moves for Pace/HR Guidance

Just a quick video here showing the set-up for planned moves (or moves in a training program, those work in the same way), with or without distance. This, as we’ll see in videos #20 and #21, showing the planned moves in practice, gives two different kinds of guidance.

18: Setting Up HR Zones for Planned Moves

If you’ve wanted to set up planned moves or training programs before, maybe you’ve wondered what the “intensity” is actually supposed to mean.

It’s all there in the HR zones under “Profile” -> “Body Metrics”: The zones there are the HR limits that will be used in planned moves (as long as you don’t set up a distance).
The next videos will show how it all works in practice…

(Sorry about the focusing / exposure problems. The black background of the Movescount website is hell for a camera…)

19: Putting Planned ‘Move’ into Practice

It’s a training day as per the planned moves (or training program), and this here is what the Ambit then shows as a reminder, and how to get started using that plan the right way.

You can also see how to calibrate the compass, which should be done before going out on a ‘move’ that will be recorded by GPS or (even more so) before using navigation.

The reminder for planned moves that is very necessary, to also put it in writing: Start a planned move by going into exercise mode (hitting “start/stop”) while in the training plan display (in time mode), NOT any other display (such as that of time and date, where you’d probably, usually, start a ‘move’)!

20: Planned ‘Move’ in Practice – Pace Guidance

The first of the two moves set up in video #17, for 4 km in 30 minutes, in practice.

Having planned for a distance makes the planned move give guidance on pace, and it means that the “50% complete” and “100% complete” displays will come at 2 and 4 km, respectively.
Pace guidance is by visual markers on the pace display, in real time, and by acoustic alarm, after 2 minutes outside of the proper range.

21: Planned ‘Move’ in Practice – HR Zone Guidance

Here’s the second of the two moves set up in video #17, the one for 30 minutes of running at a “moderate” intensity, used in practice.

Not having planned this ‘move’ to be for a certain distance, but rather for time and intensity, i.e. heart rate zone, guidance here is (only) for the heart rate to be in the selected zone.

(Unsure how/where to set up these heart rate zones? See video #18.)

The “50% complete” and “100% complete,” therefore, come at 15 minutes and 30 minutes, respectively.
Again, visual guidance (now on the HR display, of course) is instantaneous; acoustic alarms for having fallen outside of the selected zone, here too, only come after 2 minutes outside the proper range.

The Problem with Planned ‘Moves’

What the planned ‘moves’ of/or training programs do not give you are warm-up times.

You can simply add a cool-down, the ‘move’ continues recording after it is “100% complete,” after all, but the guidance starts just as soon as you start the planned ‘move’.

So, if you have to have a more-detailed plan, also and especially with intervals, then you need another approach: You will need to use Ambit apps. And if you also want heart rate zones, you will also want an app for that.

But, all of that is a different theme from the training plans and planned moves… Something for next time.

16 responses

  1. Silgit Avatar

    Nice work, unfortunately video 16 is a bit bugged

    1. Thanks for letting me know. As I mentioned with one of them (another one 😉 ), the black background of the Movescount website is darn difficult for the camera to get a handle (read: focus and exposure) on…

  2. Silgit Avatar

    Hello Gerald, what i meant is the video loops after 1 min 03. Maybe you could reupload it 🙂

    Those videos teached me a few tricks and are very appreciated, thanks for your time

    1. Oh wow, thank you so much for letting me know. I re-uploaded and re-linked it now – and I still can’t check if everything’s working now because my VPN gives out on me (and without VPN, given that I’m still in China, I can’t see Youtube videos – that’s why it’s so great to have someone like you letting me know about problems!).

      Glad you’re getting something good from the videos (and happy you’re letting me know about that, too 🙂 ).

  3. Silgit Avatar

    Nice it works perfectly now. Thanks for your work 🙂

  4. Jon Avatar

    Hello, i like your manual videos, great work. If you set up a move with only time and distance for pace guidance, do you know how much it tolerates your pace to drift before the alarm sets of?

    I.e. You plan 5km in 25 minutes, how much below and above 5min/km can you go before the alarm goes? In the video you just say it takes approximately 2 minutes before the alarm, but you doesn’t say the limits in percentage or actual pace.

    Hope you can answer this.


    1. I remember thinking that I should check what the limits were, but then I didn’t bother…
      Need to get to (sports mode) customization, finally, and will see if I can’t check those values. Thanks for the reminder – and the kind words 🙂

    2. I keep forgetting. For pace: If you set a pace of 6’00 min/km, the guidance will say that you are too slow at 6’05 min/km, too fast at 5’10 min/km.
      So, at least with pace, it doesn’t seem to be a percentage around the planned pace so much as a fast reaction to being slower than planned and quite some leeway (50 sec/km) when faster.

      HR limits were more neutrally/equally spread around the planned limit, I feel – but I’d have to also check that to really be sure.

  5. Hi, very clear and interesting! What does it look like when you sync back the completed move? Do you get any statistics of what you did vs. what you should have done in Movescount?

    Many thanks! 🙂


    1. At the moment, you can tell Movescount to “Show planned Moves in the past” (in the “Tools” dropdown on the right, below the calendar display of moves), but it will only show you that you had something planned for that day, without even giving any details on what the plan was (let alone a comparison).

      That’s interesting as a suggestion, though.

      1. Ok, thanks for the reply. It’s not that useful then 🙂


  6. […] can let the watch display your training plan (set up on the Movescount website) and get guidance for it, and you can use interval workouts […]

  7. Mies Mos Avatar
    Mies Mos

    Sorry to dig up this old thread, but does anybody agree that the 2 minute delay for audio pace alerts is ridiculous? If I do 1km intervals at different paces for instance, I have no clue what pace I run for at least the first half of my interval. Only after 2 minutes the watch lets me know if I’m at the right pace. And no, I don’t want to look constantly on my watch while running, I like to be concentrated. I think one of the most important things for a runner to learn is to run at a steady pace. Suunto’s watches (and I think all of them have the 2 minute delay) seem to be useless for that.

    Suunto suggested programming an app, but as a programmer I can already see that will never work, because some variables are missing. I think they should simply make the delay a user setting.

    1. It has been discussed a LOT. The Quest was the one watch that had an immediate alarm, and that was tremendously annoying. At least to me, as I constantly managed to run right on the limit, so that the alarms for being over or back in limits were just constantly beeping. Compared to that, I much prefer the 2 minute delay…
      Customizability somehow isn’t the Suunto way, unfortunately, good as that would be.

      1. Mies Mos Avatar
        Mies Mos

        Thanks for your answer. I agree that immediate alarms are annoying, but that can be easily countered by not setting the pace limits the same. I always set my pace limits +/- 7 seconds. Works perfectly for me. With the workout app everybody can set their own limits. If you want some more slack, set them +/- 15 seconds. Suunto have solved this in a stupid way. It even makes me wonder if anybody at Suunto even runs.

        Hopefully I manage to convince them that the delay should be a user setting. If not, my €400 watch goes back to the store for not being able to perform a basic training function that even my prehistoric Polar RS300 gets right.

        1. That’s not been changed in such a long time, it won’t be changed now anymore. I’ll get back to talking about the Spartan and what it does now… and there I’m hoping they’ll finally give it HR limits before I seriously start doing that (and just want to rip ’em new ones for needing forever for such a basic training function).

          Guess it’s a return for you if that’s the essential feature. Lots of other things it does well, though. Just run more consistently 😉

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