Thursday, May 18, 2006

Ladder Workout

Since I'm starting to feel better, I decided to test out the advanced workout feature on my Garmin Forerunner 205.

First, I launched the Garmin Training Center software to see which workouts were available. Training Center and the Forerunner 205/305 already come pre-loaded with a number of workout templates, and at first glance most seem geared to training within certain heart rate zones thus requiring a Forerunner 305 with HRM.

Fortunately, the workouts are customizable so you can set them up for training within target pace zones as well. Since the Forerunner 205/305 comes pre-set with 10 different pace zones, I customized them into the following categories with my goal paces for each distance: Easy, Aerobic, Steady, MP (Marathon Pace), HM (Half-Marathon), 10 Mile, 10K, 5K, 3K and Mile.

Next, I decided I would edit the ladder workout for running. The Forerunner 205/305 seems perfect for ladder workouts because you can set up multiples steps with different amounts of reps, durations (time, distance or zone based), target zones and rest periods, and then the device handles everything for you. Here is the workout I ended up creating:

  • Warmup at unspecified target pace until hitting the Lap button
  • 4 x 0.1 mile @ marathon pace followed by 0.1 mile @ steady pace
  • 4 x 0.2 mile @ marathon pace followed by 0.1 mile @ steady pace
  • 4 x 0.1 mile @ marathon pace followed by 0.1 mile @ steady pace
  • 4 x 0.1 mile @ HM pace followed by 0.1 mile @ steady pace
  • 4 x 0.2 mile @ HM pace followed by 0.1 mile @ steady pace
  • 4 x 0.1 mile @ HM pace followed by 0.1 mile @ steady pace
  • Cooldown at unspecified target pace until hitting the Stop button
The total distance for the ladder was 5.6 miles, and I easily could have substituted the distance for each step with a certain amount of time, such as 1 minute @ MP followed by 1 minute at steady pace.

After I saved the workout, I then scheduled it for today's date by dragging it to the Training Center calendar. Next I docked my 205 in the usb cradle, and exported the workout to the device by hitting the button that "Sends Workouts and Courses"

To run the workout on a Forerunner 205/305, you need to:
  • Once you have a good GPS signal, hit the mode button
  • Select Training
  • Select Workouts
  • Select Advanced
  • If the workout is scheduled then you can find by date or view all. Select whichever is applicable.
  • Find the workout and Selec
  • Select Do Workout
  • Press start
When running a workout, you get 2 extra display screens. The first describes which step you are on, info on the previous step, and what is next. The second screen shows how much is remaining of the step (i.e. distance, time) and what zone you are in (i.e. heart rate, pace, etc).

This morning I warmed up for about 1.7 miles and then hit the Lap button to start the ladder workout. Probably due to a combination of coming off an illness and the fact that the Forerunner 205/305's "real-time" pace fluctuates, my pacing during the run was all over the map. The 205 was either buzzing me to speed up or slow down. It was almost like having a coach next to me telling me what to do.

Overall the run wasn't too bad, and at least I can see a light at the end of the tunnel from my recent ailments. To the left is a pace versus distance graph of the ladder workout + cooldown taken from SportTracks. The blue line represents elevation.

I definitely plan to play around and create some more advanced workouts to run in the future. It's another cool feature for us training-obsessive types to latch on to. Now I just need to find someone to actually run the workouts for me....

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