Programmed workouts always boost fitness levels, and using this functionality on your Garmin sportswatch or device will take your performance to the next level, guaranteed. However, many athletes sell themselves short simply because they have no idea how to program a workout. Fortunately, we have veteran triathlete and trainer Frank Smuts to explain how it gets done!

Most athletes have both strong and weak points when it comes to their sporting talent. And any experienced coach or athlete knows that nothing escalates athletic performance as efficiently as goal orientated workouts – because, apart from addressing specific weaknesses, they also make your strong points that much stronger. After all, the aim of a workout is to address and strengthen specific elements of an athlete’s performance in a scientific, surgical manner. The military discipline that comes with workouts also does away with any guess work regarding the execution of a training session. Plus it provides great comparative stats, which makes it easy for you to to gauge improvements. Speed, strength and endurance are the main elements that determine athletic performance, and workouts are constructed to address these three critical factors.

Some workouts, especially swim and run workouts, can be very complex and difficult to remember. In this regard a programmed workout is also of great assistance. The thing is, previously this could only be achieved via a computer, but Garmin has now added this great function to their Connect mobile app. This means you can now program your workouts on the fly, and your watch will dutifully guide you through every step to ensure you never miss a beat.

What to include in your programmed workout
If you have a good coach, he or she will know exactly what type of workout is required to up your performance. If it’s a lack of endurance, aerobic workouts would be relevant. If speed is the goal, workouts that push your anaerobic zones would be necessary, while strength would require a different approach altogether. If you have no idea of why, how and when to apply workouts, my advice is speak to a knowledgeable coach, or get some info from fellow athletes. Everyone knows something that others don’t, and soon enough you’ll be armed with enough information to point yourself in the right direction.

That said, there are excellent swim, bike and run workouts that can be pulled off the internet and adapted to suit your needs. So read a lot, share a lot and be prepared to listen a lot. And, as mentioned, if all else fails talk to a good coach.

How to program a workout on your Garmin watch or device
If you know what your workout should consist of, you can literally program it while waiting in a shopping queue – it’s that easy. And, once you save it as a workout, it syncs to your watch in a matter of seconds. The simple steps to get it done are as follows:

1. Tap the three dots (more) of the Garmin Connect app and select WORKOUTS. (Bottom right

2. Press the + button (top right corner) to add a workout and select the sport. (Swim/bike/run etc.)

3. The screen with the steps will open. Add the steps as required by the workout. The step type parameters that can be set are warm up (the main sport: run/swim/bike etc.), recover, cool down, etc. The intensity and duration parameters include time, distance, heart rate, etc.

4. When completed, tap save. You’ll be prompted to give it a name. That’s it. Done.

5. Select the workout you want to sync to your watch, and tap the device icon in the top right corner, and sync it to the preferred device.

How to select a workout for your training session
Selecting your workout for a training session is just as easy. Here’s how you do it:

1. Select the activity you want to do. (Run/swim/ride

2. Press and hold the up-cursor button. The settings tab for the sport will show.

3. Cursor one down to Training and press Enter

4. The Workouts tab will show

5. Press enter and select the workout you want to do.

You’ll be able to view the steps if you just want to familiarise yourself with the content of the workout. Once you’re ready, press Do Workout, and off you go.

What a typical workout looks like
If you are totally unfamiliar with structured workouts, here’s an example to help get you into the groove. This is a rather tough run workout, aimed to improve speed for an endurance event. The workout consists of a warm-up, 4 x 1Km sprints with 1 minute rest, and finishes with a cool down. You program it as follows:

1. Start with a warm up that ends with a lap-button press. A sensible warm-up would be 2 kilometres at 60 percent heart rate, but in this case we selected the warm-up to end with a press of the lap button at your own time.

2. The repeats are 4 x 1 Km with 1 minute recovery in between. This means you set the run section according to distance and the recovery according to time. You can also set an intensity target in terms of heart rate, pace, speed, cadence, heart rate zone, or a custom zone.

3. Finish the workout off with a cool down, which stops by a stop-button press. Once again, the cool down is open ended, meaning it stops when you press the stop button. You can also set the cool down by a pre-determined distance or time, with an intensity target.

The efficiency of structured workouts cannot be overstated. So do yourself a favour and add them to you training regimens, you’ll definitely reap the benefits. Happy training! – (c) 2017 NavWorld

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