Thursday, September 8, 2011

How-To: Custom Workouts With Your Garmin

Eric, being a wicked awesome boyfriend, got me me a Garmin 405 CX for my 26th birthday earlier this year.
My Garmin (let's call him Beepy, completely original, I know) and I have become fast friends since then. Though sometimes Beepy sometimes has off days, as he seems to like to randomly brick on me. I just take that to mean he needs a rest period and go out completely tech-less.

It wasn't until last week, however, that I realized I am completely under utilizing Beepy. Garmin has some standalone software that you can download (Training Center and ANT agent software is here) to make use of these custom programmed workouts. I've had the software downloaded for some time now, but I finally figured out how to use it last Friday evening. So being the helpful individual that I am, I'm sharing!

Step 1:
Install the Garmin software -- both the training center and ANT agent. You'll need to have your ANT USB stick plugged into the computer and your Garmin nearby to do this all.

Step 2:
Create a user profile.
Once you've gotten your device all synced up, click OK.

Step 3:
Select User from the list of menu items, and then select "Profile for Username...". Alternatively, if you like keyboard shortcuts like me you can just press Ctrl+U. Enter your basic information and then under the Running tab select Speed from the Zones drop down menu.You should see this screen:

Step 4:
Name your zones based upon your training plan and enter the paces ranges. I'm currently using a training plan from my Brain Training For Runners by Matt Fitzgerald book, so I set mine up like this:
The easiest thing to do is name the paces first, and then work from your slowest zone to your fastest. As you're setting them, make sure they don't overlap because you won't be able to set a range while it overlaps another. Once you're done, if you're a happymill (thanks Katie!) runner like me, you can click the little mph radio button to get a convenient chart of what your paces look like in mph.
It's much easier to set the speed on the happymill with these numbers. Once we're all done here, select OK to exit and return to the main screen.

Step 5:
Now that we've got our paces all set up, we can get to the good stuff! Click on the new workout button, indicated by the big red arrow in the following screenshot:
This screen should pop up:
Give your custom workout a name, some notes and a custom step name if you want to. As you can see, I set up my first step to be my mile warm up in my recovery pace zone.

Step 6:
Add more steps to your workout.

If you want to add a repeating step, click on the two plus signs button. The resulting step should look like this:
Customize the substep to your specifics using the drop downs in the bottom half of the screen. As you can see, I set mine up to be 1 minute at a 5K pace. Now if you want to add a rest step, you'll have to click the + button and then click the Move Up arrow to the left of your steps to make it a substep of 2.
Once your second substep has been created and place in the proper spot, you can set it up to be a rest step. In my case, I made it 1 minute at recovery and marked it as a rest step. Once your repeating substeps are complete, you can click on the main step for the repetition set and configure it to how ever many times you want to do those set of steps. In my case, I want to do it 6 times, so I've set it to 6.

Step 7:
Now to add the cooldown step! Simply add a new step by pressing the + button and then configure it to your cooldown preferences.  My training plans say to cool down for one mile at recovery:
All done! Now select OK to return to the main window.

Step 8:
Make sure your Garmin is nearby and that your ANT USB stick is plugged into the computer you're working on for this step. Click on the Send to Device button to send your newly created custom workout to your Garmin.

Your Garmin should make some beeping noises and then indicate the transfer was successful and complete. Your new workout can be found under the Advanced Workouts under the Workout section in your Garmin when you're ready to use it.

Questions? Comments? Let me know in a comment down below! :)