Race Day Garmin Data Field Settings?

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 image )   I'm pretty sure this race allows both running gps and heart monitors, do most none professional ones?


  • Do you think it's important? That's all that matters.
  • 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?

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

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


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

  • 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.

  • 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.

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

  • stutyrstutyr ✭✭✭

    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.   



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

  • stutyrstutyr ✭✭✭

    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.   

  • 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.

  • 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.


  • 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

  • DeanR7DeanR7 ✭✭✭

    then you started a thread afterwards saying the course was long

  • 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...

  • 3 data fields on my garmin: elapsed time, lap distance and lap pace. Only the latter two are really helpful though.
  • 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.

  • Time, average pace and distance for me, with auto lap set to miles.
  • 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!
  • 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.

  • I reckon the garmin on auto lap is going to be pretty similar in accuracy to any course markers. Although the actual finish line is going to be in pretty much the correct place, mile/km markers are quite often a way off - usually bunged on the nearest bit of street furniture. Just treat either of them as a rough guide.

    Regarding screens, I have 3 - Average pace, distance and large time.

    In a five miler it is going to be pretty intense and you are going to be pushing it pretty hard more or less from the off, so I wouldn't bother too much - just a quick check at the first mile marker that you haven't gone off at a bonkers pace! The only time I would possibly look at my heart rate in a race is possibly in a marathon or longer to help me run the first miles slowly enough, but I think even then I'd just use pace.

    I use average pace as current pace is all over the place, and not much use at all. I do have lap pace showing on one of my other screens, but have never looked at it in a race. Average pace, does mean I have a really good bit of info for predicting finish time - I have my A-goal, B-goal and C-goal pace firmly stuck in my head when I set off.

  • Same for race and training:

    HR, current pace, HR%.

    Time, Distance, av Pace.
  • I have four fields for training,

    Elapsed time, distance, average pace for lap (with autolap for miles) and time of day.

    For races under 1 hour I stick with this, but for longer races I have the same set up but without time of day as with four fields on garmin 305 it does mm: ss up to one hour, then hh:mm over an hour.

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