Many people have a fancy Garmin device for training (often costing £500) but are only using 1 or 2 features and so are missing out on a lot of useful functions that will help your training be more effective.

Here are the key features that we encourage all our athletes to use EVERY training session, as well as some bonus features that add some fun to training.

Essentials

Data Fields: Choose what data fields to see on your screen.  Fields that I use are heart rate, power (if you have a power meter for cycling), total time, distance, speed or pace, lap time, time of day. I don’t have them all on one screen.

Multiple Screens: Set up multiple screens with different fields on it. This helps to make the number big enough to see but also means I’m not distracted by other things I don’t need. On my turbo I have a 1 screen with power, heart rate, lap time and cadence. But I have other screens set up with other information on it so I can scroll through in case I need something else.

Profiles: Different profiles with settings for different training activities.  On my Garmin 1000 I have different settings for training indoors (no GPS), training outdoors, racing and commuting. On my Garmin 920XT I have different settings for swimming/cycling/running and racing. You can also set them up for swimming indoors/outdoors and different bikes.

Auto pause when stopped or when at a certain speed. This means that if you stop to tie your shoe laces your Garmin will stop automatically and means you don’t have to forget to press start again. (How many of you have pressed stopped and then forgotten to press start again?). Also useful for cycling as it will automatically stop for you at traffic lights/junctions and puncture stops.

Auto Lap:  Typically I mostly use this for long runs and set it for 1mile laps. This means I then get 1mile splits so I can see how well I paced my run. But learn how to switch it on and off so you can use manual lap too.

Manual Lap: This is useful for sessions where you use reps especially at set distance/heart rate or power targets and means you can see how well you managed your repeats afterwards. If you have a coach it also makes it easier for your coach to see how well you completed the session.

Auto Upload Training Data: In the old days I used to have to manually transfer data off my device onto an Xcel spreadsheet. These days it’s all Wi-Fi and Bluetooth and I love the fact my devices upload data straight to Training Peaks for me to analyse and for my coach to see.

Upload a Route: Plan a route online with a tool such as www.ridewithgps.co.uk  or www.mapmyride.co.uk  and download it straight to your Garmin to help you navigate while out training. I use this mostly with cycling with my Garmin Edge 1000 as it gives me turn by turn directions and a map. However, you can also do this with the 920XT and Fenix but without the directions and details road map.

Bonus Features

Heart Rate/Power Alerts: You can ask the device to make a noise if you go under or over certain training zones.

Time/Distance Alerts. I use this function in long distance races to beep every 15minutes to remind me to eat or drink to my schedule.

Save Location of your home. This makes it easy to navigate home if you get lost, change your plans or if you peel off from a group ride early.

Race your pacer or Virtual Partner: This is a training tool you can use to help you hit certain time/speed or distance goals. You tell the Garmin how fast you want the pacer to be and then it gives you information and alerts throughout your session as to how far in front or behind you are.

Upload a workout: You can create a workout with a series of reps based on time and distance and with set heart rate or power targets. You can download these direct from Training Peaks or Garmin Connect and is a useful feature if you can’t remember all the reps in a complicated workout, or as a motivation tool to keep you on target.

Create a Route or Mystery Tour (Edge devices): All you need to do is put in the length of ride you want to do and your starting location and your Garmin will give you three different routes to choose from.

Personal Records: Your Garmin will keep track of and display your personal records for different speeds, distances, heart rate and power.

Strava Segments (Edge devices): You’ll just be cruising along enjoying the sunshine, when your Garmin lets off a little beep, and begins counting down as the start of a Strava segment is approaching.  With that in front of you it’s hard not to put the hammer down

Live Track: Let your friends and family know exactly where you are while you’re out training. This is done by pairing your device to a mobile phone and using the Garmin Connect mobile app. More information here

Group Track: If you ride in a group it can sometimes be hard to stay together as a group. This function lets you track where everyone else is in the group. As above it uses a mobile phone and the Garmin Connect App.

Get in touch to let us know how many of these features you use, or if there’s another useful feature that I haven’t mentioned.