Garmin Basics: Intervals

I have been using the interval mode on my Garmin quite a bit recently since I haven’t been doing traditional speed work on the track.

On the track I find it easiest to just hit lap after I have gone a certain distance and typically don’t set my watch up for interval mode. 

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Lately though, I have been doing intervals based on time, which can be tricky if you don’t have your watch set up right.  I would rather not be looking at my watch every 2 seconds during a timed interval, so instead I have the watch do the work for me!

Tuesday morning’s workout was a perfect example:

15 x 1 min @ 5k pace, 1 min easy

In other words: run at 5k pace for 1 minute, run easy for 1 minute, do that 15 times.

How I set up my Garmin:

**This is for a Garmin Forerunner 205 and also will work with a 305.  I don’t know how to do this for the other Garmins!

From the Home Screen
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Mode – then scroll onto Training – Enter

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Scroll to Workouts – Enter

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Scroll to Interval – Enter

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The choose which method you want to use based on your workout and hit Enter.

Dist/Rest Time .5 miles @ 5k pace, 2 minutes easy/rest
Dist/Rest Dist .5 miles @ 5k pace, .25 miles easy/rest
Time/Rest Time 1 minute @ 5k pace, 1 minute easy/rest
Time/Rest Dist 1 minute @ 5k pace, .1 mile easy/rest

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Then scroll through and set the options for your workout by hitting enter on each field and choosing your options.

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If you want to include your warm up/cool down into one workout with the intervals, then when you scroll down and are over warmup & cooldown, press enter to select it.  Once you are done with your warm up, you just hit lap to go into interval mode.  I typically just do my warm up on its own and set the watch up for my intervals.

When you are ready, scroll down until Done is highlighted and hit Enter and the interval screen will come up.

Interval Screen
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This tells you how much time or distance you have left in your current interval and how many intervals you have left.

I typically change my screen over to “current lap” (how I have my Garmin set up) by scrolling through with the arrows, in order to see what pace I am running each interval at.

Current Lap Screen
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While running your intervals the watch will start to beep at you as you are getting close to the end.  This does not mean stop!  Make sure to wait until the big beep at the end that sounds different from the rest.  It will beep at you 5 times before the last one saying the interval is over.  This is the case for both the hard and rest sections.

Previous Garmin posts:
Garmin Basics (auto lap)
Garmin and the Pace Band

Do you ever use interval mode on your Garmin or do you just wing it and hit lap?

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22 Responses to Garmin Basics: Intervals

  1. Audrey July 7, 2011 at 12:46 pm #

    Aron, your blog is now a daily habit for me :) Thanks for this post – I am totally guilty of just hitting “lap” during the off periods in a track workout. Our club workouts have been by distance with a timed rest in between, but this is helpful if I ever need to do a workout based on time. I also have never really read my Garmin manual, except to set each “lap” at one mile.

  2. marlene July 7, 2011 at 12:47 pm #

    I have never actually used this function! I’ve also never done timed intervals, so I just lap it myself at the distance. I should really give it a try though!

  3. Audrey July 7, 2011 at 12:48 pm #

    Super helpful info, Aron! I’ve been meaning to figure this out now that I’m actually attempting speed workouts now :D

  4. Megan July 7, 2011 at 12:48 pm #

    Thanks for posting this! I have a bad habit of not reading my owner’s manual for my Garmin. You made it a lot easier.

  5. Kamaile July 7, 2011 at 1:15 pm #

    I use the interval function too. It’s hard sometimes to wait for the final beep! Thanks for these garmin post! Could you do a post sometime about training for races with hills? I’m getting ready to start training for the Nike Womens half marathon and would love your insight on that subject. Thanks Aron!

  6. Wendi @ A Southern Yogi July 7, 2011 at 1:24 pm #

    I use mine all the time including my half marathons!!! I run a 4/1 ratio for my half marathons and love using my garmin for this! I have the 305 & it’s set up the same way

  7. Corey @ the runner's cookie July 7, 2011 at 2:06 pm #

    This is really helpful! Thank you for posting it! I’m a little embarrassed to say I’ve never even tried to use the interval feature. I think I will now! Seems like a much easier way to keep track of complex workouts.

  8. Nelly July 7, 2011 at 2:37 pm #

    I’ve never done speedwork with a garmin before, I will definitely be going back to this post when I try it again!

  9. Sima July 7, 2011 at 2:38 pm #

    Inspired! This post is pushing me to finally explore my garmin’s many other features! Thx :)

  10. Joanne July 7, 2011 at 4:22 pm #

    I used the interval mode on my 305 one time last year. I tried to use it a few weeks ago, setting up for warmup/cooldown mode. BUT…didn’t realize I had to hit “lap” to start the
    interval. I kept running thinking…”Geesh! How long did I set my warmup for anyway?!!!” DAH! It was a hot afternoon – guess it affected my brain.

  11. the dawn July 7, 2011 at 5:29 pm #

    i need to try just doing the lap button…because i don’t like that the garmin distance is ever so slightly off the track.

    great tutorial!!!

  12. Kat July 7, 2011 at 11:31 pm #

    Awesome, thanks Aron! I tried to figure out how to make this work last week and gave up when I couldn’t find my manual!

  13. Megan (The Runner's Kitchen) July 8, 2011 at 5:37 am #

    Very helpful! Thanks for the tutorial – I’m still figuring out how to use all of my Garmin features and I think the interval function will be a great asset when I do solo workouts.

  14. Lisa July 8, 2011 at 7:39 am #

    i wish i had read this BEFORE my intervals last night

  15. kristen July 8, 2011 at 8:37 am #

    The 405 must be able to do this as well. I’ve never used my garmin to do intervals without hitting lap. This is a thousand times easier, especially if you have so many intevals to do. No way i could keep track of all those. I can’t do math very well when i’m tired out. THanks for the tips!

  16. Jenn July 8, 2011 at 5:17 pm #

    Man, this was SO helpful. I’m like a Garmin IDIOT. For the ridiculous amount of money I spent on mine, I use it pretty much as a watch. I’m bookmarking this so I can come back to it! THANKYOU!!

  17. Susan - Nurse on the Run July 8, 2011 at 6:44 pm #

    I’ve never ever touched the interval feature on my garmin…I just use the lap button! I’ve thought about it, but never actually put it into use…

  18. kathy July 8, 2011 at 11:39 pm #

    Wow – thanks for this post – great info. I seriously have to figure out how to use all the features on my garmin….

  19. RoseRunner July 9, 2011 at 6:49 pm #

    uhhhhh, BOOKMARKING THIS page. might change my life. gawd, why didn’t I ever read the Garmin manual….?

  20. Heather July 10, 2011 at 4:33 am #

    Thank you for posting this – I’ve had my garmin for 2 years now but use it VERY basically. I have never done anything like this!

  21. Melissa October 5, 2014 at 6:26 pm #

    Joanne, I thought the same thing. I was like when if this warm-up ever going to end?! Now I know to hip lap when I ready.


  1. July | runner's rambles - August 1, 2011

    [...] I wrote my second Garmin Basics post about the interval mode. [...]

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