Getting the most out of your Garmin!

Without doubt one of the questions I get asked the most is how can I get more out of my Garmin. Of course we all know how to record a run, track distance, time and pace.. but there is so much more these devices can do. So I thought I’d put together a few tips and tricks I use with my Garmin, that might help you get more value from yours. So in no particular order..

  • By default all watches have ‘current pace’ set on the main screen. This is fairly pointless, as GPS will fluctuate quite a lot during your run. Instead add ‘lap pace’.. that will show you the pace for the KM or Mile you’re currently running. So you can focus on keeping your ‘lap pace’ stable. This is my current watch screen set up.
    So it shows the distance I’ve ran at the top, the pace for my current KM that I’m running, the average KM pace for the whole run and the elapsed time at the bottom.

  • Create your workouts on Garmin Connect, either on your PC or in the App. In this video I’ve made a 6x 1k workout with a 3 minute rest in-between the fast K’s. Once you've made and saved it you can then sync these over to your watch and follow each step through as you go on your run. This works on every watch apart from the 30/35 where you have to manually create interval workouts on the watch itself.

  • When you are running ‘Easy’ intensity runs, just have your heart rate on the screen. You can then set up an alert if it goes above a certain level. Say 150bpm. It will then keep beeping until you slow down. If you go to Run settings -> Alerts -> Heart Rate -> Then select your Zone 2 heart rate zone. It will keep you in this zone as you run.

  • On the Fenix 5+ models and the 645 Music, you can now sync your Spotify playlists with your watch. Then connect the watch to your bluetooth headphones. So now you can listen to podcast / music without the need to carry your phone with you as you run. You just need to install Spotify from the Garmin App Store.

  • It’s very quick and easy to build routes on Garmin Connect, then sync them over to your watch to follow when your running. I do this all the time when running trails, as I always know where I’m going…and hopefully won’t get lost! Garmin Connect also has a feature where it shows you the most popular routes, so you know those routes are likely to be good. You will need a 735 / 935 / fenix 3, 5 or 5+ to use this.

If you have a Garmin 230 / 235 and want to navigate you can download an app from the store called dwMap. I haven’t personally used it, but am told it’s really good.

  • Also on Garmin Connect it can automatically plot a route for you. This is super useful if you’re in a new area or just fancy going a different way. Just tell it how far you want to run and in which direction and it will plot something for you using popular nearby roads or trails.

    You can then sync these routes to your watch and then use them to navigate with.

    This video shows you how to get a route plotted for you using the app.

  • All new Garmins will charge up as you run, simply by plugging them into a portable USB charging battery. This is perfect for anyone running a very long ultra, as you can keep topping up the battery as you need to.

  • When doing hill repeats press the ‘lap’ button at the bottom and top of each climb, then compare all your lap times at the end.. try to get them all roughly the same!

  • You can download an array of watch faces from the Garmin store, which will show far more information at rest than default Garmin ones.

  • This is my current watch face that shows me the time, altitude, date, step count, distance travelled that day, battery percentage and if I have some unread notifications. There are hundreds to chose from so have a browse!


I hope that helps you get some more use out of your Garmin. If you have any questions please just ask below and I’ll do my best to answer them! I will post another post with some more Garmin tips in a couple of weeks!

Ben Parkes2 Comments