Race Day Garmin Data Field Settings?

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07/02/2013 at 23:38

On race days and/or training what data fields do you find the most useful on your Garmin watch?

I currently have two screens enabled with the first showing:

  • Current Heart Rate
  • Time
  • Distance
and the second speed just showing
  • Average Pace
Do you think this is all the useful information I need to know while I'm running?   It's my first actual race at the weekend so I'm hoping to use the information to make sure I don't run too fast or too slow, kind of worried about going too fast and shattering myself in the first 20 minutes or going to slow and finishing in an hour ... it's only a 5 mile so it shouldn't be too intense? (reasure me please )   I'm pretty sure this race allows both running gps and heart monitors, do most none professional ones?
08/02/2013 at 00:00
Do you think it's important? That's all that matters.
08/02/2013 at 00:08
Intermanaut wrote (see)
Do you think it's important? That's all that matters.

I guess so, I've not run enough 5 miles to know what pace I can cope with, I'm hoping if I can see my heart rate, distance, time and average pace then I can judge how I'm coping as I go and adjust accordingly?

08/02/2013 at 01:18

I never look at heart rate, just one more thing to worry about and therefore increase your heart rate!

Time/ distance/ lap (mile) pace and average pace for me.


Most (all?) races allow GPS and heart rate monitors BTW. Enjoy your first run.

08/02/2013 at 09:18

I set mine to time and distance on one screen and average pace for current lap and average pace for run so far on the other screen.

I don't bother with the heart rate.

I find it very helpful in keeping me from starting out too fast.

PS - I think that technically heart rate monitors are NOT allowed for races of 10k or less, but unless you're likely to win something, I wouldn't worry about it.

Edited: 08/02/2013 at 09:19
08/02/2013 at 09:25

Garmin 305 so 4 data Fields showing, Overall Avg Pace, Lap Pace, Overall time, Overall Miles. I leave mine set to autolap every .5 mile & find that helps with the pacing. Have heart rate & other stuff on the other screens but never use it in a race.

Sometimes better to run a short distance like that on feel, look at the data afterwards.

08/02/2013 at 09:27

I don't use heart rate at all, just pace.

08/02/2013 at 09:41

What do you normally have displayed on the screen during training?

I'm trying to setup a specific racing screen, and tested it in my last HM but found it slightly confusing as it wasn't what I was accustomed to.  So it may be worth sticking with what you know.  

What I've got on the racing screen is Avg Pace for current lap, Avg time per lap and I've also added the lap counter.  The idea being you press the lap button when you pass a mile marker, and you can see whether your current lap pace is on target, and the avg time per lap shows whether your ahead/behind schedule for the whole distance. I added the lap counter as at my last race I missed a few mile markers, and couldn't remember if I had to press the lap button once or twice when I found the next visible mile marker.

For your setup, I'd be tempted to put HR on the second screen as it can vary under race conditions (adrenaline etc) and replace it with Avg Lap Pace (maybe set auto-lap to 1 mile, or 0.5 mile as KingKenny suggested).

Also just be aware that "garmin" distance is normally slightly more than "race" distance (i.e. 1mile on the Garmin is 0.97 miles in the race), so you'll end up running more than 5 miles according to the Garmin.   



08/02/2013 at 13:06

Stutyr, if you set your Garmin to autolap ever mile, you don't need to press the lap button each mile.

08/02/2013 at 13:16

Hi Wilkie, my watch is set to autolap every mile during training - but in a race, doing it manually means the pace reflects the race-measured distance rather than the Garmin distance.  

Having completed a 5k in what I thought was perfect sub-20 pace to find it was really 20:14 as the Garmin recorded a distance of 3.17 miles, I thought I'd give this new approach a try.   

08/02/2013 at 13:25

I have autolap switched on for races, to save the effort of having to press buttons.  For a half or full marathon I'll (probably) have a pace band with my target/predicted splits and check these against the markers on the course.  The lap splits are still useful for gauging whether you're working at an even pace, even if they fall a little out of sync with the markers.  Also useful for the post-race stat attack.

So: HR; distance; time - with regular alert for splits.  Although for VLM, I may opt for lap pace rather than distance.  They've got a flipping great inflatable wotsit every mile showing you how far you've gone.

08/02/2013 at 16:22

I used to do the lap button thing every mile, then I cottoned on to the fact that mile markers can sometimes be a bit out of place as well, so now take a 'life is too short approach' and let garmin earn its keep. I ran a marathon last year and the miles markers got a bit mixed up at one point. We all looked at each other in confsion and ran on (as runners do).

One screen: Lap Pace and Average Pace
Second Screen: Time, Distance

For a marathon I include some HR info to try and keep things under control early on.


08/02/2013 at 16:39

I just use elapsed time, elapsed distance and lap pace, with auto lap on always set to miles as I tend to run better in miles than km's

08/02/2013 at 16:45

then you started a thread afterwards saying the course was long

08/02/2013 at 17:29

I hadn't heard of a rule about hrms as Wilkie suggested but there it is in the British Athletics rules of competition ...you learn something every day!

(1) The following shall be interpreted as assistance
(a) Pacing by persons not participating in a race, unless assisting a blind
or partially sighted runner.
(b) Receiving advice or similar assistance during an event from an
individual located within the competition area.
(c) The use of any technical device. Athletes receiving assistance as
defined above are liable to be disqualified.
(2) The following shall not be interpreted as assistance:
(a) Communication during an event between athletes, and other persons
not within the competition area.
(b) A medical examination during the progress of an event by medical
personnel solely to determine whether an athlete is fit enough to
continue in the competition.
(c) The use of heart monitors in races in excess of 10000m."

Is this implying that it has medical benefit so is allowed? Unfortunately I never race more than 10k anymore anyway...

08/02/2013 at 18:40
3 data fields on my garmin: elapsed time, lap distance and lap pace. Only the latter two are really helpful though.
08/02/2013 at 20:38

Three on mine too for races: total distance, lap pace and overall pace. I can figure out how far through a lap I am by looking at the total distance field. Autolap set to one mile.

09/02/2013 at 23:19
Time, average pace and distance for me, with auto lap set to miles.
13/02/2013 at 02:11
if you know your target time & therefore target pace the virtual partner function is excellent. It displays in grey if ahead of target or in black if behind, displays seconds ahead /behind. I use it on my intervals, tempo runs & races to check I'm on schedule. However be careful not to start to quick, if ahead by 5 seconds after 200m then you are running 25 seconds faster a km than target pace. I also use & recommend setting auto split every 500m. It beeps displays time so you can adjust before you screw your race. If.run first mile to fast it can ruin your race. Final tip, don't waste energy, break rhythm by speeding up & slowing down to adjust your pace all the time.try to run steady consistent pace. Good luck & enjoy!
13/02/2013 at 08:44

just 2 for race day


if i want my averages etc i can look at one of the 2 other screens i use for training, its no bother to check them, only 1 button. i dont care about distance on that since i'll be running the course distance regardless, i just use mile markers on race day, dont like to "clock watch" the miles.

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