Swim workouts on Garmin devices work very similarly to other scheduled workouts but there are some distinct user experience differences because of the expectation you will not be looking at your watch in the middle of sets.
To do a custom workout first you have to create it in Garmin Connect. Log in to your Garmin Connect account, in the menu select workouts. Select “Pool Swim” and then click the “Create A Workout” button. Your new pool workout comes pre-loaded with a warm up, repeated interval, rest, and a cool down to get you started.
For each step in your work out you can label it as warm up, swim, cool down, or rest. You always set a duration for all types except rest (more on that later). Next you can choose the stroke type; by default “Any stroke” is selected which means your watch will identify which stroke was used. It’s important to switch the stroke type to “drill” if you will be using a kick board or any other drills that will make your stroke abnormal. By setting drill mode you will ensure your over all yards are correct and you will have the correct time for your drill set. If your warm up contains a mixture of drills and freestyle consider splitting it up into more than one step. You can optionally add equipment such as fins, kickboard, paddles, pull buoy, or snorkel. The rest step type is a little different. You can pre-program a time to stop at the wall or manually press the lap button. Both are extremely useful at different times. After you finish creating your workout don’t forget to name it; meaningful names will become very important as you build up your workout library. After saving your workout you are ready to send it to your device. My preference is to use my phone app but you can alternatively plug your device into your computer and launch express. In the mobile app select “More” in the bottom right corner, select workouts. Your workout list will include all workout types (runs, swims ect.). After you click on a workout it will show all the steps you created. Note your workout can not be edited in the mobile app, only on the Garmin connect website. Click on the cell phone icon in the top right hand corner to send to your device.
Getting In The Water
To swim with your workout navigate to the swim activity mode then click the down arrow to access the menu-> select training-> my workouts-> pool swimming-> now choose your workout for the session-> Do workout (At this step you can also view all of the steps in the workout.) Now you are ready to start your workout! The screen will show the first set you scheduled. Once you press the select/start button the timer will start. There are basically three modes when using swim workouts: swim, drill and rest. During swim mode your watch will keep track of your distance and buzz/vibrate once you have completed your last turn and are about 1/4 way through your last length. In pool mode your watch doesn’t know when you finish a lap, it only knows when you turn so even though it has told you “Hey, this is your last length!”, you must press the lap button once you have finished the final length. It’s important to note the default is to count down the laps in a swim set, not up. In drill mode your watch will not keep track of distance and assumes you completed the programmed distance. This mode is ideal for kicking or other drills where your stroke will be abnormal. Finally there is rest mode with two option. When setting up your swim set you choose to have a set rest time or to rest until you hit the lap button. If you set a specific rest time your watch will count down then automatically chirp and start the next set once your rest is finished. In the later case where your rest is until you hit the lap button the screen will display your rest time until you press lap and it transition into the next set. Once you finish your last set and press the lap button your watch will tell you “workout completed” and give you a little victory music. Now you can give yourself a high five for a job well done! It’s pretty simple to use once you try. Just remember after starting your swim you will only be using the lap button, you won’t be using the start/pause button anymore. At each stage you watch will prompt you what to do whether it’s resting for a predetermined time, 200 meter with paddles, etc.
Are there any helpful tips you’ve come up with or do you have a questions? Drop them in a comment below. I’d love to hear what you like about using Garmin swim workouts.