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Which screens should I use on my Garmin while training?

If you've never given much thought to your screens on your Garmin—what you're looking at while you are training—this post is for you. When we talk about executing a workout correctly, part of that is helped (or hindered) by the data fields you have set up on your GPS device, aka how you set up your screens on your Garmin devices. If you don't have a GPS device, that's ok! Hopefully, you can still get some good ideas on what to look at while training from the information below.

Screens I use on my Garmin devices, as an athlete

First off, I hope this information can be useful, but I realize there are two very important things about these data screens on my Garmin devices that are unique to me as an athlete (not a coach). Those two factors are:

The devices I own.

I realize that not everyone has a high-quality gps device or separate Garmin bike computer and Garmin watch. I actually got my first cycling computer in 2018 or 2019. I spent the first 10 years of sport using a timex watch and a cadence sensor on my bike (or counting pedal strokes), the next 5 years with a triathlon watch, and finally, after 15+ years, I got separate Garmin devices for each and I will never go back! If you need a Garmin device, come see us in the store or send us your order.

The way I execute a workout is different than many people.

I've talked about this before, but I don't use structured workout exports into my Garmin bike computer or watch. The main reason for this is that I like being in control of a session. I look at a workout and what it entails, then I think about when and where I'll go do it. Sometimes that means my warm-up is 22 minutes instead of 20 minutes, because I'm riding or running to a specific section of road where I'm going to do the session. Sometimes the structured workout on the Garmin doesn't work for me because I like to start slower than the warm-up ranges, and I don't want my Garmin beeping at me the whole time. I spent many years writing my workouts on a notecard I taped to the top tube. I was following a coach's instructions for 20 years before TrainingPeaks invented their workout export feature, and old habits die hard.

Screens to use on a cycling computer

Screen 1

Screen 1 is my lap screen. It has all the data I want to see while I'm doing intervals. I want to know all of the real-time data as well as the average data for that lap. Having a field that shows your lap power and HR is really key to understanding yourself, how you ride, and how good you are at executing a session.

  • 3 Second Power

  • Lap Power

  • Lap Cadence

  • Current Heart Rate

  • Lap Time

  • Lap Normalized Power

  • Lap Heart Rate

What garmin screens to look at while cycling
Bike Screen 1

I do NOT use auto lap on my cycling computer while training, so this screen is always specific to when I last lapped it. Back to being in control, I don't want my Garmin to auto lap at 5 miles if I'm doing a 30-minute bike interval. I want to know my average power for the entire lap and so I never have auto lap enabled for cycling (racing is different). I often auto lap during group rides or at various points so I can "snapshot" a portion of the ride.

A good example of snapshotting is our group ride. I'll ride to the start, then lap it once we get out of the parking lot and start riding steady, then lap again during a race or hard portion, then lap after a stop or roll through town when we get back to riding steady.

Screen 2

Screen 2 shows the overall ride data totals. This has a bunch of information I don't look at while riding but swipe over to see if I want to check something (like how much longer I have in a 4-hour ride after all the times I've lapped it!).

  • Ascent

  • Distance

  • Timer

  • Average Speed

  • Average Heart Rate

  • Average Cadence

  • Average Power

  • Average Left-Right Power Balance

  • Normalized Power

  • Time of Day

What garmin screens to look at while cycling
Bike Screen 2

Screen 3

Screen 3 has more overall data, but think of this as the load data. Work (in kilojoules) is a good proxy for kcal so I can make sure I'm eating enough. W/kg, IF, and TSS are just fun things I like to look at sometimes. Keep in mind that these variables are dependent on your Garmin FTP being set the same as your TrainingPeaks one.

  • Work

  • Average W/Kg

  • IF

  • TSS

What garmin screens to look at while cycling
Bike Screen 3

Bike Screen 3

Screens to use on a watch while running

Screen 1

The lap data. Once again, this is the information I want to know while executing a workout. In running, I do usually have auto lap on for every mile, but I turn it off if I'm doing a workout that crosses a mile and I don't want split lap files. The data field on the bottom you see is power since I started running with a power meter.

  • Lap Time

  • Heart Rate

  • Lap Pace

  • Cadence

  • Lap Distance

  • Run Power

Screens to use on a running watch
Screen 1 for Run Training

Screen 2

In running, my second screen is my overall data.

  • Total Distance

  • Timer

  • Average pace

Screens to use on a running watch
Screen 2 for Run Training

The main takeaway here is not necessarily that you should set up your data screens exactly like Coach Mark, but a reminder that each of you as athletes has autonomy and control over the execution of your training. Using your gps device correctly to help you accomplish those training goals is key.

There are many other features you can utilize and program if you want. Think about what "things" you need to accomplish those training goals, then spend some time setting up and equipping yourself so that you can do the work. While it might take some time initially, I promise you that finding a system and process that works for you, will save you a lot of time in the long run. And more time means more training!

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