Training with Garmin Coach

If you’re anything like me, you might find it difficult to push yourself unless you are training for something specific. I find signing up to a race a great way to get myself motivated and challenge my running, rather than sticking to the same old routine. And with that in mind, I entered the Aviemore Half Marathon which takes place every year mid October, along with the Aviemore 10K,

The first challenge when training for a race, is choosing or creating the right training plan (and sticking to it). So I decided to use Garmin Coach.

Using Garmin Coach to help me reach my goal

For me, I mainly run as a way to keep me fit for sailing and as an escape to stop me from going stir crazy in the house. Therefore, I tend to do runs ranging from 5k-12k as I find them the easiest to fit in around my day to day commitments. However, I was looking for a challenge and so I thought why not try my hand at a longer distance, say a half marathon (21k)?

Garmin offer a training feature in the Garmin Connect app called Garmin Coach which sends adaptive training plans to your Garmin device.

The Aviemore 10K was my first official race and holds a special place in my heart, so I thought it would be fitting for Aviemore to be my first half marathon.

Garmin offer a training feature in the Garmin Connect app called Garmin Coach which sends adaptive training plans to your Garmin device. And have created training plans for three running distances: 5k, 10k and half marathon. Garmin Coach is designed to help take the guesswork out of training for your next race or goal, offering custom training plans that adapt to help you meet your 5K, 10k or half marathon target. Garmin Coach plans can be synced to compatible watches through Garmin Connect and the Garmin Connect App. This meant I really had no excuse not to miss a workout (no matter how hard I may try).

A real coach on your wrist

With Garmin Coach, Garmin has selected three coaches for you to choose from, each with their own unique view of training for a certain distance. There is an introductory video from each coach explaining who they are and how their training plans are different. This allows you to choose the coach most suited to you, based on personality, the amount of workouts you’re able to do per week and how long you want your training plan to be.

Garmin Coach is designed to help take the guesswork out of training for your next race or goal, offering custom training plans that adapt to help you meet your 5K, 10k or half marathon target.

That said, for the half marathon distance there was only a choice of two coaches, both were American and had very similar training plans. I went for Coach Greg!

A truly flexible training plan

Unlike other training plans that I have followed in the past this one adapts and changes as you progress through, using the selections you make at the end of each workout on how you found the that specific run went. So for example, if you found a workout difficult or the program felt that the data your watch collected from your run indicated that you were struggling, Coach Greg would change or alter the next run to be more suited to you. 

Of course, this also meant that if you found a workout too easy Coach Greg would make the next one harder! I really enjoyed the adaptive nature of the plan, which ensures runs feel tailored and specific to you and the plan fluid, rather than rigid and restrictive.

Unlike other training plans that I have followed in the past this one adapts and changes as you progress.

Garmin Coach shows the runs planned for the coming week. Being someone who likes to plan ahead, I would have liked to see two weeks’ worth of training to make it easier to factor runs into my schedule. But that’s my only criticism. Garmin Coach does allow you to choose and flex the days that you want to complete your sessions on very easily.

A real love/hate relationship!  

At the end of a workout Coach Greg tells me how he thought I did. If he felt that I did subpar job he would tell me, which helped as he didn’t just permanently tell you ‘good job’. However, it also meant at times, I wanted to throw my watch at the wall!

Throughout the training plan you go through a love/hate relationship with your coach and watch. For me, I loved the detail of the different workouts, but it was the beeping sound it would make at the end/start of sets on stride repeat runs (multiple short intervals at a set pace) that I dreaded. Not because I hated the noise, but because it meant I had to work harder!

Following this training plan, I have seen a big improvement in my running ability and general fitness, which shows that it is doing exactly what it is supposed to.

A bit of trial and error

At the beginning, as is the case with any training plan, there was a bit of trial and error. I found that examining the workouts planned for the week in some detail, ahead of each run, benefited me greatly. I would review each workout overview step by step. Then often do a dry run – allowing the watch to go through the stages of each workout on its own, while I was making dinner or walking the dogs. This meant I could see what was required and what buttons I’d have to press when out running. Any dry or trial runs can be discarded so Garmin Coach doesn’t log or count them.

Following this training plan, I have seen a big improvement in my running ability and general fitness, which shows that it is doing exactly what it is supposed to. I’m really looking forward to seeing what I can achieve in Aviemore!

At Run4It we stock a range of Garmin GPS running watches, including the Forerunner and Fenix models, packed with different features to help you reach your goals.

Shop Garmin.

  1. Good article. I also do check the daily program thoroughly to make sure I know what’s going on with the beeping… Especially since I am farsighted and reading the dial while running is awkward. But it is all very well done. It is motivating and I find myself running a lot harder than I would otherwise. 🙂
    If you know how to change the screen settings of a training session, please let me know.
    Thanks

    1. Thanks for your comments. It’s great to hear you are getting a lot out of Garmin Coach Fabrice! In response to your question around changing the screen settings, you can download the ‘Race Screen’ app free on Garmin Connect IQ. This is a data field that displays the most relevant information for running a race or training that may make reading easier: https://apps.garmin.com/en-RO/apps/6a30651b-ca67-41a5-96dc-60634983fc93#0. Hope that helps! Thanks

  2. Hello, thank you for this helpful article. I signed up to a 10k training plan last night and am off on my first run later with my Garmin vivoactive4. I wonder if the coach “joins” on the run, for instance does the coach tell you when to walk and when to run and give durations? If so, on previous runs Garmin Connect hasn’t given me milestones such as km/pace, so is there a way to set this up?

    Many thanks

    1. Hi Oliver, Thanks for your comments. The coach won’t join you as such (i.e. give you verbal instructions), but in setting up Garmin Coach you’ll get a free training plan that includes dynamic workouts selected for you. These workouts sync to your watch, so when you start a workout on your watch, the session is broken down into parts and displayed on the watch so you can follow it. As you progress through the training plan, you get feedback in the form of a ‘confidence score’, which indicates confidence in your ability to hit your target pace or distance. This Garmin Support article provides instructions on how to load a plan to your watch: https://support.garmin.com/en-GB/?faq=IkvWNeIoSd48GIYCjkhlo7&productID=73207&tab=topics. This Wareable article provides more in-depth guidance on getting set up and started with Garmin coach, which you may also find useful: https://www.wareable.com/garmin/garmin-coach-guide-6595. Hope this helps. Thanks

    1. Your Garmin device will track your elevation in real time. But the coach (trainer) won’t take into account your terrain or elevation when creating your training plan – it’s up to you to choose an appropriate route for upcoming workouts in your plan. That said the plan is ‘adaptive’ so if the data your watch collected from a particular workout or run indicated that you were struggling (due to elevation for instance), the coach would change or alter the next run to be more suited to you. During the set up you’ll be asked questions relating to your fitness level (running frequency, average running pace etc.) and goals (to run/walk vs run with a specific time goal) to help customise the best plan for you. Hope that helps.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.