How to set up Interval Training on your Garmin

I’ve had my Garmin Forerunner 230 for almost 2 years now, and only recently decided to give Interval Training a go. I knew the watch had an Interval Training function, but I’d never used it.

For those unfamiliar with the term, “Interval Training” is a exercise routine that is made up of sections of intense effort, separated by short periods of rest (or recovery). The “recipe” is entirely up to you (or whatever your training plan dictates).

The idea behind Interval Training is to increase your running speed — in fact, some people refer to it as “Speed Training”, but it also helps to improve muscular endurance.

Plans can use either distance (usually meters) or time — or a mixture of both. A fairly common plan looks something like the following:

  • 1-2 mile warm-up run
  • 400 meters x6 / 1 minute rest
  • 1-2 mile cool-down

To follow this, you’d start with a short easy warm-up, run hard for 400 meters, followed by a 1 minutes recovery period. Repeat 6 times before finally cooling down with another easy run.

400 meters (approximately 1/4 mile) happens to be the standard length of a running track. This means you can leave a supply of water and/fuel by the side of the track to use during your training session.

With Garmin, you can set-up Intervals via the Garmin Connect website, or directly on your watch (see images below). The watch then prompts you when to run and when to rest based on the settings you select.

 

If you don’t have a watch with this functionality, you can use an app on your phone. The Nike+ app allows you to set up Intervals — check out the “Speed Run” option. The Runkeeper app also has a custom workout option that will support Intervals.

Strava at this time does not support Intervals. I sync my runs with Strava and noticed that it doesn’t even support the splits properly, so I have to refer to Garmin Connect to see my splits for Interval sessions.

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Is Interval Training a regular part of your training schedule? What benefits have you seen from it?