Smart Training Hacks: Take 30 minutes to customize your screens

author : alicefoeller
comments : 1

Most of us are using some sort of electronic devices for triathlon training, whether it's a running app on your smartphone or a pricey GPS watch, foot pod and smart bike trainer hooked up to a virtual reality road experience.

Here's some advice: You don't need to read the entire user manual, but do remain aware of when something is annoying during your first week of using a new app, watch or other device. 

Set a reminder to yourself for one week after you purchased your new toy, and make an appointment with yourself to go through the settings. Often the default settings are pretty good, but they are rarely perfect for your individual training habits. For example, you may want your phone app to announce your pace every quarter mile instead of every mile during a run. You may want the primary screen on your watch to show your heart rate, pace and distance, while blocking notifications from your phone until your workout is complete.

Most of these customizations are easy, but after a few weeks of using our devices, we forget what annoys us and we become accustomed to it. Especially if you train alone, you may not realize things could be different. Better.

Here are five device customizations to consider:

  1. Maximize battery life by choosing settings that use less energy, less frequent GPS checks, and more efficient operation. Many devices have settings specifically created to make sure your device isn't sucking down battery on your long run, or conking out midway through an epic bike ride or triathlon. Garmin's Ultra Trac mode is a good example. No matter your device, Google the device name and "battery saving mode" to find the correct settings.

  2. Customize your data screens. Many devices collect data on distance, pace, air temperature, running efficiency, heart rate, elevation gain and loss, lap time, and more. It's impossible to display all of these at once on a watch face or even a cell phone screen. When you are running and glance at your watch or phone, you want to see the metric you want immediately. So take five minutes to customize the data screens ... at least the primary one for each sport.

  3. Set up your preferences for notifications and sounds. Some training watches double as smart watches, and are happy to pass along all of the beeps and chimes from your smartphone. This can be handy, but no one wants to be interrupted in the middle of hard intervals with a buzz that doesn't mean your sprint segment is finished, but instead is informing you of the latest political quagmire in the news. 

  4. Input your personal body stats. If you take the time to enter your height, weight and age, you'll receive more useful information about heart rate zones, recommended recovery time, and calories burned.

  5. Set up automatic syncing to your favorite software. For example, my Garmin syncs to the Garmin Connect app via bluetooth or WiFi, which uploads my workout data to Garmin Connect and passes it through to BeginnerTriathlete, so I can see my progress compared to my training plan without any manual data entry. This will improve your overall experience with your device.

It might take a few minutes and a few too many Google searches, but the time you spend setting up your technology to your liking will pay off in happier workouts and more accurate stats. 


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date: April 1, 2018


Owner at Beginner Triathlete, web marketing consultant at SiteInSight, writer, entrepreneur, advocate for unstructured nature play for kids.


Owner at Beginner Triathlete, web marketing consultant at SiteInSight, writer, entrepreneur, advocate for unstructured nature play for kids.

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