Friday, October 26, 2012

Garmin Forerunner 405: How To Have More Than 99 Intervals (for Galloway Training)

As you may have read in a previous post, I was interested in trying out the Jeff Galloway Run/Walk method for increasing my distance. Well, I joined the local Galloway training group and have been run/walking with them for a couple of months.  I have recorded all of my efforts faithfully using my Garmin Forerunner 405 GPS watch, which not only records my distances and courses, but also provides valuable information about my pace, and has a built-in interval timer to tell me when to walk and when to run.

The Garmin 405 GPS watch is really cool.  When running (and walking) with my friends, we use a 2/1 ratio, meaning we run for 2 minutes, then walk for 1 minute.  So, I set my watch's interval timer to signal us to begin each alternating interval.  At this ratio, which we only use for distance running, we can average about 12 min/mile.  The watch has a built-in limit of 99 such intervals, and each interval is a coupled run and walk segment, so there is a limit of just under 300 minutes (99 intervals x 3 min/interval = 297 min), or about 5 hours.

So, never did I think that I could run for more than 5 hours.  However, as our mileage has increased, we are soon approaching the limits of the watch.  Next weekend we will be run/walking 21 miles, and at 12 min/mile, that comes out to be about 250 min.  Okay, but we will continue to increase our mileage  until we reach 27 miles.  At 12 min/mile, this comes to 324 minutes or more, if we stop for a bathroom break.

I didn't want to buy a new watch, so I figured out how to increase the number of intervals far beyond the 99 that are built into the watch.  If you have a Garmin Forerunner (probably any variety) and want to know how to do it, well, here are my instructions.

The approach I used is to set un a new workout from within the Garmin Connect website, then upload the workout to the watch. It was surprisingly easy to do.  Step by step instructions:

1. Log onto your Garmin Connect account and select Plan from the menu tab near the top of the window.
2. Select New Workout from the left side menu.  A graphic pops up in the middle of the page instructing you to title your workout (mine is titled Galloway 2/1), select a workout type (running, in my case), and Add a Step or Repeat.  Click on Add Repeat. You will get a new window that looks like this.

3. Use the pull-down menu named Repeat and select the maximum number, 40.
4.  Beneath this area, two buttons appear. Click on the Add a Step button.
For Step Type, select Interval.  For Duration, select Time if you are doing time intervals, or Distance, if that is what you prefer. I selected Time, then a submenu pops up and I typed in 2:00 minutes, my interval for running. Ignore Target menu.  The bar should be colored red now.  Click Done.
5.  Click Add Repeat and repeat step 5, this time inserting 1 minute for my walking time (or whatever you want). Click Done.
6.  At this point you have one set of 40 intervals for 2/1, totaling 40 x 3 min = 120 minutes.  You can repeat steps 5 and 6 several more times until you have 4 coupled sets for running and walking, totaling 480 minutes. More can be added if this isn't enough. 
7.  Drag each of the bars up and insert them, in alternating order, under the Repeat 40 Times banner. Your instruction set for the workout should look something like the image below.
8.  Click Save.
9.  Click on the Upload button to upload it to your watch. Give it a minute or two to upload.
10.  On your watch, go to the Training --> Workouts --> Advanced menu and you will see your workout.  Select the new workout and select Do Workout.
Check the steps in the same menu. This should work for you. Enjoy.