Running is the best sport but it can get pretty boring sometimes, especially if you do the same run at the same pace over and over again. This not only makes you less passionate about your sessions but is also detrimental to leg health as you use your muscles the same way time and time again. Using your Garmin smartwatch can help you with this.
I was in this situation when I received the new Garmin Forerunner 255S for testing a few weeks ago. I tried many Garmin watches before but I never really paid much attention to the daily workout suggestions they offer, so I thought I might as well give them a try now that I have a smartwatch that takes HRV into account. Best decision I ever made!
The Daily Workout Suggestions feature was first introduced (opens in new tab) (links to Garmin) on the Garmin Forerunner 745, around a year and a half ago, and – like many other Garmin features – is powered by the Firstbeat Analytics algorithm. This algorithm is responsible for powering a bunch of features, including Body Battery and even heart rate and pacing corresponding to the lactate threshold.
Garmin Workout Suggestions vs Garmin Coach – What's the difference?
The Daily Workout Suggestions (DWS) are not to be confused with the Garmin Coach (opens in new tab) (links to Garmin), an adaptive running coach that can help you train for a particular event.
Let's say you have a half marathon coming up in four months; you can set the date and the desired pace in Garmin Coach (GC), along with the days of the week you're planning on training, and it'll assemble a plan for you to achieve that target pace on race day. You can't set completely unrealistic goals (probably for the best), and if you miss a GC session, it won't offer you the same workout the day after.
On the other hand, you'll always have a recommended DWS for the day. This can be anything from recovery to sprints; the algorithm will shuffle these around based on your training load, workout history, etc. And just like in GC, you can see a fair few suggestions for the coming days if you go into your run settings, then Training, then Workouts.
DWS is not based on any events; it's purely to keep your body in check and to improve your stats – there is no endpoint. You'll always get a suggestion, no matter what. Interestingly, DWS never suggested I had a day off, which is something GC will always do. You don't have to take DWS on board every day, though.
A week with Garmin's Daily Workout Suggestion feature
After I finished running a 10k every day for a week, the time was ripe to switch things up. Thanks to the new Morning Report feature on the latest Forerunners, I was confronted with the Daily Workout Suggestions (DWS), and they looked enticing – even if I had the mental capacity and patience to assemble a training plan for myself, I wouldn't know how to go about devising a tempo run, for example.
Thanks to DWS, tempo and all sorts of other runs were readily available for me to choose from each morning. Better still, they were tailored to my current workload, VO2 max, lactate threshold etc. And indeed, no matter which workout I went with, I constantly challenged just the right amount – enough to feel slightly exhausted but not to a level where I would risk injury.
I found the tempo runs to be the most exhausting; the sustained moderate effort pace was hard to keep until the end of the run, especially in hot weather. Speaking of the weather: the DWS doesn't take it into account, nor does it care about elevation or traffic – it only cares about pace and time. If you have to wait at traffic lights because you run in an urban environment, achieving a good score at the end of the workout might be challenging.
I did enjoy trying to get a good score, even though it meant I had to look at the running watch more often than I like to ensure I was in the correct zone. I also enjoyed checking upcoming sessions; when I saw a sprint session coming up, I put on the ASICS METASPEED EDGE+. For base sessions, I used the New Balance X 880v12. For tempo sessions, I opted-in for the Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 39.
Another good thing about the DWS was that it always factored in warm-up and cool-down, something I often skip on my daily runs (I know, terrible). My Garmin always made sure I was ready for the sprint sessions – and not surprisingly, my legs were more prepared for the challenge after a 10-15 minute warm-up!
Now, a week later, despite running every day and doing some harder workouts, my legs never felt stronger. Of course, I always made sure I recovered properly using foam rollers and my trusty Therabody RecoveryAir JetBoots and slept well. Still, adding variety to my training helped me keep my legs (and body) in shipshape.
Will I keep on using the Daily Workout Suggestions feature? You bet I will, especially as I've got a 10k race coming up in July so I can mix things up by using the new Race Day Widget on the watch. So many things to look forward to!
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