A couple weeks ago I made an attempt on Periscope to explain my Garmin settings and it was pretty desperate (lots of distractions and I wasn’t completely prepared.) I’m not sure that I made sense or explained it in the best way so hopefully this post will come across in a better way.
As Tokyo Marathon was approaching, I had done my research and discovered that it was a long course- meaning everyone’s GPS watches measured longer than 26.2. One guy said his watch measured 26.9. Yikes. It is only a bit more than 26.2, but when you have a time goal, a half mile can mean a 3 to 5 more minutes and that’s a lot. Sooooo, I talked with my coach and he helped me come up with a plan. I changed the settings on my Garmin for race day and loved it so much that I plan on racing that way from now on.
My Garmin 220 (side note: I really really really love my 220. It’s user-friendly, tells me just what I need it to without getting complicated) has three data fields. Data fields meaning that there are three things being displayed while you run (for example: pace, time and distance.) It also has two screens. So, if the second screen is turned on, you can use the up/down arrows when running and move between the two screens so you can potentially be told six things while running. I almost always have the second screen turned off.
When I’m training, I typically have these three data screens on Screen 1: Top field- pace, Middle field- distance, Bottom field- lap pace.
Pace is important because it tells you the pace that your legs are moving at that moment.
Distance I like to see for several reasons- lots of times I run out and backs (meaning I run half the distance than turn around and run back) so I need to know when to turn around. Another reason is that I like to know how far into my lap I am (my auto-lap is set to a mile- more on this later) so I can keep an eye on making sure that my mile isn’t too fast or too slow.
Lap Pace can be tricky if you know nothing about it, but once you become comfortable with it, it’s a huge game changer! First let me explain what a lap is- a lap is any amount of distance within your run. You can be in charge of the distance of your laps by pressing the lap key (the button on the bottom right) OR you can tell your watch to auto-lap. For any non-interval training run I have my auto lap set to a mile. So in the lap pace data field, it will tell you your average pace for the lap, this is your average pace since you last pressed the lap key, or since your watch automatically started a new lap. When my watch is set to auto lap every mile, this field will help make sure each mile is consistent during long runs, easy runs, and tempo runs. In addition, if my coach tells me to run a 4 mile progression run with miles that go from 8:20 to 8:05, watching my lap pace makes it very easy to make sure that I’m keeping my paces right where they should be. So, going back to the part where I said that I keep my eye on the current pace, distance, and lap pace… If I keep my eye on the lap pace AND the distance, it helps me gauge whether I need to speed up my current pace or slow it down to make sure that my lap pace is correct before the lap is over.
For Tokyo and London…
I turned the middle data field to Timer (this is just the time that has gone by since you started your run.) I kept the top field as Pace and the bottom field as Lap Pace.
I turned auto-lap OFF. This is important because a Garmin mile does not equal a mile on the race course. It is possible to run more than a mile within two mile markers on a race course (If you’ve ever run a race, you’ve probably heard hundreds of Garmins around you beeping and buzzing long before a mile marker is in sight.) And since the distance on your Garmin is insignificant, turn it off and only pay attention to the markers on the race course. This avoids you from getting frustrated (I can’t believe I’ve only run .4 miles, that definitely felt like a full mile) and it makes sure that your pace is related to the mile markers on the course.
I pressed the lap key every 5 kilometer marker. If it was a U.S. race, I would have done it every third mile marker (the last couple or so kilometers and miles will be their own lap.) I watched my current pace, and lap pace to make sure that I wasn’t going too fast or two slow.
In the past, I have had a data field reading the average pace of the entire run, but towards the last half of a marathon, it’s pretty impossible to move it up. One water stop and that average pace will hop down so fast, and it can be so frustrating trying to get it go back down, but it’s nearly impossible. Using the lap pace, and keeping your laps short means that you can easily move it up or down.
Here’s how to change these settings on a 220:
To Customize Screen 1:
Menu>>Settings>>Activity Settings>>Data Screens>>Screen 1>> (use arrows and enter button to change preferences)
To turn screen 2 on or off:
Menu>>Settings>>Activity Settings>>Data Screens>>Screen 2>>Select On or Off>>Enter
To turn Auto Lap on or off or change the distance of Auto Lap:
Menu>>Settings>>Activity Setttings>>Auto Lap
I hope this helps you in some way… Like I said in the Periscope video, this is what works for me, so that doesn’t necessarily mean it will work for you on race day, but my main goal is to let everyone know that getting comfortable with your watch and what it can do for you is HUGE. It can be the best tool to helping you improve!