A Detailed Tutorial on How to Create Advanced Workouts for your Garmin Watch
When I want to go for a run or run a workout, I rely heavily on my Garmin watch to be there for me. I love Garmin products and I’ve been wearing one of their watches since at least 2008 – probably even sooner. I started with the 405, then moved to a step tracker and now I’m deeply in love with the Garmin 235.
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Most of us know how to use the basic GPS function, right? Click, click, go.
But then there are days when I want to run a workout – maybe a tempo run or possibly repeats, like 800’s. I can constantly stare at my watch and hit the lap button, but what if I miss a repeat because I’m in the zone?
I want to take all the thinking out of my workouts and put it in the hands of my watch. Luckily, Garmin is absolutely there for us.
We can schedule “simple” workouts like tempo runs or we can create complex workouts with multiple steps and recoveries, send them to our watch and then our Garmin watch alerts us at each point when we’re out on the run!
So let’s get to planning! What will your first workout be with a programmed Garmin workout?
Here are the exact steps I take to create a simple workout right in my watch. Note, some might find it easier to do it in Garmin Connect. Those steps will be below.
From a Garmin 235, here’s what you should do (it might change depending on your model of watch).
Hit Run. Hit Menu. Hit Training. Hit Intervals. Hit Edit.
On this screen, you can edit your workout depending on what you are doing. Pick your run distance/time, your rest distance/time, and how many repeats you plan on doing. Toggle whether you want your warm-up and cool down run to be included. Once the workout is built, you’ll click out and hit “Do Workout”.
Simple Workouts that work in this setting:
- A tempo run – a run with only 1 extended period that you want to track.
- Repeats – a fixed amount of repetitions, distance, and recovery.
- A race would fit here too. Pick your race distance/time and you’re good to go.
Off you go. No questions asked – the workout will be there with a warm up and cool down built in if you so choose. It’s simple and quite effective.
To create more complex workouts, you will need to use Garmin Connect. It is REALLY easy to use and navigate and I’ll show you the exact steps you’ll need to get this done.
Head to Garmin Connect, tap More (three dots, bottom right), tap Training, tap Workouts. From here you’ll either find a workout or create a workout.
This is where you can have workouts that include different running distances (repeat 800s, then 400s), different paces (tempo pace and sprints), or short and long recoveries. The possibilities are pretty much endless.
To start, we will create a run workout. I include a warm up so that my entire run is within one run. I like hitting the lap button when my warm up is done and my workout starts. Once you hit lap, the workout starts, so be ready.
Here is where you can get creative with your workout.
You will want to add a step or a repeat to begin. Depending on your workout, you might want to add a step first. You can drag the new step to where you want it in your run.
If you are doing a simple workout like 6 x 1k with 1 minute rest after each, click add repeat, decide how many repeats you want, change the run to the distance you’ve chosen and you’ll change the second run to a “recovery”, then choose the time/distance you’d like to recover for. From there you can drag it to fall after the warmup and before the cool down.
When you create a multistep workout, you will use a combination of “add a step” and “add a repeat”. This will allow you to have different layers and complexities in your workout.
Lastly, you’ll want to include your cool down. I like hitting the lap button so I can decide how short or long my cool down is.
After that, save the workout by giving it a name. I use the date and the type of workout so I can find it easily on my watch. Click the workout in Garmin Connect and hit the “send to phone” button. Connect and sync your watch, then locate the workout on your watch.
Hit Run. Menu. Training. My Workouts. Then you’re good to go for your run!
Let me know what you think of if you have any questions. Tweet me @marcpelerin with #garmin and I’ll get back to you!
Marc is a middle school Special Education teacher and the distance track and cross country coach who also works with distance runners seeking personal bests. He blogs at TrainwithMarc.com and writes a Friday newsletter. You can find everything Marc is working on here.
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