Monday, June 15, 2015

Creating Workouts for Garmin Forerunner 220

Marine Corps Marathon training has begun, and that means Tuesday night speedwork at the track. When I started doing speedwork, I had trouble timing everything. I would start my Garmin for the warm-up, measure distance by the track (once around = 400 meters or ~ 1/4 mile), and pause my Garmin between intervals for recovery & sort of guess at the time since my watch was paused. Did you know there is a much better way? It's actually very easy to program workouts into your Garmin!

Tomorrow's workout

Here is my workout for tomorrow night: 1600, 2x 800, 4x 400, all with 3 minutes rest. With, of course, a warm-up and cool-down. Here is what it looks like on the Garmin Workout screen:

  • Warm-up, with a press of the lap button to signal the end
  • Run 1 mile
  • Rest 3 minutes
  • 2 repeats:
    • Run 1/2 mile
    • Rest 3 minutes
  • 4 repeats
    • Run 1/4 mile
    • Rest 3 minutes
  • Cool-down, with a press of the lap button to signal the end

When I am doing my workout tomorrow night, my Garmin will signal to me when each interval distance has been completed and when each 3 minute rest period is over. It may look complicated, but it is actually really easy after you've programmed a couple.

Setting up a new workout

Go to the workout screen, select "run" for a run workout, and click "create new workout". This will take you to the workout template.

Workout screen

Use a descriptive name

The workout template includes a warm-up, one run segment, and a cool-down. The default name will be "Run Workout" and you should change it to something that describes your workout. For example, I named Tuesday's workout "1600-2x800-4x400".

Run Workout Template

Setting the duration

From here, you can start filling in the details. For each segment you can select a duration. For example, I like to leave my warm-up time open-ended, so I choose to signal the end with a press of the lap button. Other options include:
  • time (e.g., 10 minutes), 
  • distance (e.g., 1 mile), 
  • calories (e.g., after burning 25 calories), and 
  • heart rate (e.g., after achieving 150 beats per minute heart rate).

Selecting the duration

Setting the intensity

You can also select an (optional) intensity for each segment, and your Garmin will alert you if you are outside of your intensity range. I haven't done this yet, but now that I know my training zones, I may add zone indicators to future workouts. Options include: 
  • pace (e.g., stay between 9:30 min/mile and 10:00 min/mile)
  • speed (e.g., stay between 5.5 mph and 6 mph)
  • cadence (e.g., stay between 170 steps/min and 180 steps/min)
  • zone (e.g., stay in heart rate zone 4)
  • custom zone (i.e., set a heart rate range that doesn't correspond to a zone range)

Selecting the intensity

Selecting segment type

You can specify the type of segment you are adding. Warm-up and cool-down are pre-populated for you, and one run segment. Segment types include:
  • warm-up
  • run
  • rest
  • recover
  • cool-down
  • other
Select segment type

Adding segments

You can add individual steps or repeats of a series of steps. My workout for tomorrow includes both types of segments. You can drag and drop your segments into different places if you need to, as well.

Adding segments

Saving the workout

Saving the workout is as easy as clicking the blue "save workout" button.

Save your workout

Transferring the workout

To transfer the workout to your Garmin, connect the Garmin to the computer via USB and select "send to device". You will also notice options like "edit workout" if you want to make some changes and "copy workout" if you want to create a similar workout and use your existing workout as a template.

Note: the 220 will only hold 10 workouts. If you have 10 workouts on your Garmin already, and want to transfer a new one, you will need to delete one of the old ones. Don't worry, the deleted workout will still be available on your Garmin Connect Dashboard and you can add it back the next time you need it.

Transfer, edit, or copy your workout

Using the workout

To use the workout on your Garmin:
  • Select "Training" from the Garmin main menu. 
  • Select "My Workouts" from the training menu
  • From your workout menu, scroll through and select the one you want - this is where the logical names will come in handy! 
  • Selecting the workout will take you to a screen that says "Do Workout" - push the runner button (upper right) to queue up the workout, and push it a second time to start the workout. 
Have fun, and remember my track mantra: "Run the segment you are in."


  1. Thank you for this layout! I never thought of doing the planning on the website and then transfer to the Garmin :)

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.