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Setting Up Your Garmin

Setting Up Your Garmin
December 16, 2016 Michael Harlow
Most endurance athletes use a Garmin – or other GPS based watch/computer – to record and analyze their data.  I find though that few have their Garmin set up to give them the information they need. This article will tell you how to do just that.
Your Garmin is a powerful tool when cycling and running but only if you can view that information.  Your activity/data screens dictate which information you can view.  There are a ton of viewing items to choose from for these screens, and you need to choose the ones that motivate you and allow you to make decisions mid-training or race best. Each device is slightly different but in general you can modify your screens within your device’s settings under data or activity screens.
On both your cycling computer or running watch, I recommend two primary screens – one that is for steady runs or rides (i.e. recovery runs, endurance rides) and one that is for interval training (anytime your workout will be broken into sections of hard work and recovery).  These two screens will meet your needs for all of your workouts.  In addition, you might want a third screen that has many of the extras like time of day, elevation, technique analysis, etc).  Turn off all screens other than these 2-3 screens for simple viewing.
For running, on the first screen (steady workouts) I suggest you show time, distance, average pace, and current heart rate for running.  On the second screen I would show lap time, current heart rate, current pace, and lap pace.  If your interval is based on distance versus time, swap lap time for lap distance.
If using a multisport watch for cycling, you can select four items per screen.  On the first screen, I suggest including time, distance, current heart rate, and average power for the bike.  If you don’t have a power meter on the bike, replace avg power with cadence.  For your second screen, I choose lap time, heart rate, 3 sec power, and lap power.  If you don’t have a power meter, replace the two power items with cadence and lap speed.  If your interval is based on distance versus time, swap lap time for lap distance.
If you are using a cycling specific Garmin computer, you can have up to seven items on your screen.  For the first screen, I would choose time, distance, average speed, heart rate, cadence, and 3 second power as well as average power [if you have a power meter]. For the second screen, choose lap time, lap distance, lap speed, heart rate, cadence, and 3 second power as well as average power [if you have a power meter].
If you are using a power meter, you can see above that I recommend 3 second power over current power.  If you train with power, you know that it jumps up and down quite sporadically – 3 second power smooths this out giving you more workable data.
When doing intervals and thus using your 2nd screen, all you now need to do is press the lap button before and after each interval so that the data resets for that lap.  This will give you the information you need specific to the interval/lap.  Though there is the option to auto lap (every mile for instance), I recommend you only use this for steady workouts to check your pace every mile and manually hit the lap button on intervals.
I hope this brief overview is helpful in allowing you to get the most out of your Garmin.
Be More. Live Red.
Michael Harlow
EF Founder & Head Coach

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