GPS Running Watch: Inside the Garmin Forerunner – Workout Types

This article describes a particular feature of one of Garmin’s GPS watches.

Click on GPS Watches to view our GPS Watch Information Page, which has much more information on GPS running watches.

Athletes are growing to recognize the advantages of the GPS Running Watch as a serious tool for accurately measuring and analyzing their training.

Once, a figment of science fiction, GPS watches are now becoming a hit among the endurance community, who are starting to realize the many benefits that accurate tracking of distance, speed, altitude and location can offer to a performance athlete in training.

Garmin, a main player in the mainstream GPS market has cornered the GPS sports watch market with their Forerunner watches.

Garmin stormed the GPS sports watch market with their early model Forerunner 101, 201 and 301 watches and soon after introduced the 205 and 305 watches which were bulky, but highly functional and utilized the SirFstarIII chipset. The new watches featured much more reliable GPS tracking.

The Forerunner 405 was introduced soon after, and featured a much sleeker, more stylish form factor, a touch sensitive bezel, wireless data transfer to PC and even unit-to-unit data transfer.

Garmin have just released two new GPS watches, the Forerunner 405CX which is an upgrade to the 405. The 405CX features superior calorie measurement, better GPS tracking and a replaceable watch band, making it suitable for more petite sized wrists. The other watch, the 310XT is an upgrade to the Forerunner 305. It features a big increase in battery life (around 20 hours from 10), wireless PC transfer and unlike the other Forerunner GPS watches, is waterproof.

The Forerunner watches have been designed to cater to the needs of runners and athletes. One of the benefits to runners is the concept of workout types.

There are four different workout modes supported in the Forerunners: Interval Workouts, Simple Workouts, Advanced Workouts and Heart Rate Workouts. We look at each in turn…

Interval Workouts

These are efforts run over a specified time, or a specified distance and then repeated a number of times with a rest component in between efforts. Interval workouts also allow you to perform an optional Warm-up and Cool-Down.

For example an interval workout might be structured like this:

Rep 1. 800m (Hard), 2 minutes (Rest)
Rep 2. 800m (Hard), 2 minutes (Rest)
Rep 3. 800m (Hard), 2 minutes (Rest)
Rep 4. 800m (Hard)

Simple Workouts

Simple workouts can be based on time, distance or calories. Simply set the type of simple workout, enter the duration, distance or number of calories you wish to target and then select DO WORKOUT. The watch will display the message WORKOUT FINISHED when you have completed your goal.

Simple workouts have been omitted in the new Forerunner 310XT, but is present in all other GPS Forerunner watches.

Advanced Workouts

Advanced workouts are complex workouts with workout “steps”. For each progression in a workout, goals can be set in advanced workouts as well as varied distances, times and calories. Advanced workouts must be set using the Garmin Training Center software that is included with the watch, or the online Garmin Connect service. Advanced workouts can also be scheduled ahead of time.

Heart Rate Workouts

Similar to a Simple Workout, Heart Rate Workouts are run against a heart rate training zone based on beats per minute (BPM). An alert will sound if your heart rate slips outsize a lower and upper heart rate limit. This feature is only present in Forerunner watches that support a heart rate monitor chest strap.

Learn more about the GPS RUNNING WATCH



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