If you have one of the latest fitness watches out there on there on the market such as a Garmin Forerunner or Fenix, you will know that they can amass a huge amount of data and technical information about your activities, the question is, what to do with all of this data?
If you are a professional athlete, data geek or professional training coach then the above table will mean something to you and you will be able to analyse your activity. But what if you want a simple way to just see how your latest run compares to the last time or where you need to improve to beat you fastest 5K time, Garmin Connect is the platform to use.
Garmin Connect is a free website/app for users of Garmin products to be able to view and analyse their data in a simple way. You can connect your device via cable, Bluetooth, or WiFI depending on your fitness device and whether you use phone/tablet or computer.
Once home from your activity you sync your device to the app or software which takes 30-60 seconds and your data is then ready to go.
When you open up Garmin Connect after you have synced, lots of information about your activity is ready to view, some of these are described below.
The first thing Garmin Connect does when you upload your activity, is map this out. There is a selection of maps available to view the route – satellite view as shown here, or Bing/Google or Open Street Maps. You can zoom in to see more detail of the route as well.
Also available is the splits of your activity. The splits are where the watch has automatically lapped after a certain distance. The view here is set to split every 1 mile, but this can be changed via the watch to KM or 5 miles/KMs, depending on your activity.
The table is trying to give you a simple view of each mile and how long it has taken you. You can see if you have slowed down due to being tired or if there was a climb involved.
Connect will now show you a series of graphs from your activity. The first being an elevation profile. If you have a watch such as a Fenix 5, which has a built-in barometric altimeter as well as GPS, this will be an accurate portrayal of your activity. If you have a device without, the Garmin Connect software will try and correct any errors, but this may not be 100% accurate.
The next graph is pace – depending on the activity this can look very different. The top graph is a rough trail run, which was steep and had technical sections which needed to be walked. The second graph is of Silverstone Half Marathon which was flat and clearly shows pace changes/drops. This is a graph of time per mile pace, as it drops you have gone slower and thus can see where you have got tired.
The final graph shown here is your heart rate over time, this is a great way of seeing how much effort you have put into the activity. Heart rate for a runner is one of the best ways of measuring how well you are performing and where you need to improve. This is probably best covered in its own article though. Garmin Connect has a quick way of telling you how you have performed or how much effect that activity had one your training – Garmin watches Forerunner 35/Fenix 5 Series now work out your HR zones for you and then show you how long you have been in that zone during the activity. This is a simple way of tailoring your training to your body and to improve. Garmin Connect shows you this time as a bar chart shown below.
To give you an idea of what training in different zones does, please see below chart.
Zone Training Effect
Zone 1 – Low Intensity Long, slow runs, easy or recovery runs.
Zone 2 - Aerobic Zone, most effective for cardio fitness.
Zone 3 - Max aerobic training.
Zone 4 - Anaerobic Zone, training on your lactate threshold
Zone 5 – High Intensity Max effort in short bursts
You Garmin Forerunner or Fenix watch will always tell you at the end of an activity if you have beaten a personal record, on Connect you can review this and look at that activity in more detail. You can see records for Running, Cycling/Swimming and Steps. These can also be sent to a watch if you change watch so your records always stay with you.
VO2 is a fairly new feature to the Fenix range. This is a measure of how you perform. To get an accurate measure of your VO2 you need a compatible watch – Fenix 5s/Fenix 5/Fenix 5x and to run outdoors for at least 10 minutes twice. Your VO2 is then recorded and this tracks over time. This is a great way to track how you perform for your age and you can see how you improve over time.
Most Garmin Foreurnners and Fenix products also now track your steps throughout the whole day. This is a great way of seeing how active you are on a daily basis. Each watch auto calculates you a new goal depending on how active you have been the day before. You can enter step challenges and leaderboards via Garmin Connect to help keep you active on the down days. Forerunners/Fenix watches also track your resting HR, sleep and floors climbed throughout the day which can all be viewed through Connect.
This was all just a small insight into what you can do with your data – this can be as a walker/running/cyclist/trail runner whatever you do. For each type of activity you may have specific bits of information you want to know. Garmin Connect has links to other platforms as well, you can send your data across to Strava Runkeeper and others you may use.
Garmin Connect can do all of this and more and if you would like to see this, please drop into the store and speak to the staff who will be happy to show you.
15 September 2017 by GarminUK
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