We’ve had some questions on how to use a GPS watch. This is a repost of directions Kim Sutton created last year. There is a newer Garmin 910XT model, that Jenny Kalmbach reviews here on the Garmin Blog.
Whether you are training for a big event, trying to be one of the world’s best, or trying to be your best, having data can help. A Garmin is one easy way to quantitatively analyze your workout, or simply compare this month to last month or last year. This article will cover the initial set up of a Garmin 310XT and Garmin Connect online, plus a few extra tips.
Initial Setup of your Watch
If you are turning on your watch for the first time, there are a few steps you need to go through for initial set up. These steps customize the watch to you.
After you press the power button, the Garmin intro screen will appear, and then the initial setup will start. The first screen asks you to select a language. You can scroll through the options using the arrow buttons on the right side of the watch. After you have made your selection, press the enter button. The next question will appear. Continue this process through all of the questions:
- Time – 12hr or 24hr
- Units – statute or metric
- HR monitor – If you own a HR monitor strap, and plan to use it, say yes
- Male or female
- Activity class – check ur manual for a chart
- Lifetime athlete – according to the manual, say yes if you have you been training intensely for years and have a resting HR below 60 beats per minute.
Now you should be at the default data display screen, and the watch is ready to be used.
Setting up your Garmin Connect Account Online
To set up your Garmin account online go to: http://www.connect.garmin.com
- Click “get started with Garmin Connect” and then, “create a free account”
- Fill out all the info, click continue.
- Now choose your device – 310XT
- Follow steps 1 and 2 listed on the screen.
- Click the download for your operating system, and follow all the instructions.
Do not plug in the ANT stick until you are told to so. Download and install the Garmin ANT agent setup. When it’s all finished Garmin will ask you to connect your ANT stick.
FIRST, make sure your watch is set up to pair:
- Turn the watch on
- Press the mode button, scroll to settings and press enter
- Scroll to system, press enter
- Scroll to data transfer, press enter
- Make sure that in the box under “Enabled”, yes is selected, and that under “Pairing”, on is selected
- Press the mode button until you are back to data field display screen
- NOW plug in ANT stick to USB port.
- Open the ANT agent program, and make sure your watch is turned on. When the ANT stick detects your watch a window will appear on your computer screen asking if you would like to pair the device, click yes. Your watch will then ask if you want to pair, select yes and press enter
- Now the ANT program will need to download some info from your watch, it will ask for permission. Say yes and the transfer will begin.
- When it is complete a pop up window will tell you, click on the ANT agent icon and Garmin Connect will open in your browser window. After you sign in with your user name and password, your activity screen will be displayed. If you have used the watch before, all the previous workouts that have been saved on the watch, will be listed. If not, it will be blank.
You are now ready to use your watch…Go paddle!!
After a Paddle with your Garmin
When you have finished your paddle, press the stop button. Then press and hold the lap button for 3 seconds to reset the screen and save your workout.
When you get home, turn on your computer and your watch, within seconds the ANT stick will detect your watch, download your workout and a pop up window will tell you that you can view your workout on Garmin Connect. You will even see a map of your paddle!
Other Useful Tips
Changing “modes” for different sports
Changing “modes” is helpful because it allows you to set up custom data screens for different activities. Garmin doesn’t have a mode for Stand Up Paddling, so I use “other”. This way, when I select “other” it shows me all the data fields that I like for paddling, and when I switch to “run” or “bike” it shows me the fields I prefer for those activities.
To change modes:
- Press and hold the mode button, until you see the screen in the photo
- Scroll down to “other” and press enter
- Now you can consider “other” your SUP screen, and if you run or bike you can choose that mode for those workouts.
(Customizing data screens will be covered in the next article)
Using Auto Lap
Your watch can be set to “lap” or take a reading of your elapsed distance, time, and average speed at certain intervals. This will break down your paddle into smaller increments so that you can see where you were faster, or slower, working harder or not hard enough.
To set up Auto Lap:
- Press the mode button and scroll to settings and press enter
- If you are in the “other” mode, select “other settings” (if not it may say “bike settings”, or “run settings”), press enter
- Scroll to Auto Lap, press enter
- Here, I use “by distance”, and set the distance at 1 mile. This way, my watch beeps at the end of every mile during my paddle and shows a quick screen with the mile time on it. Also, when you open Garmin Connect, you will see a chart listing each mile, the time and your average speed. (Similar to the one in the photo)
Getting to the Initial Set up if your watch isn’t new but you want to make sure you set it up correctly
- Turn the watch on and press mode
- Scroll down to settings, press enter
- Scroll to system, press enter
- Scroll all the way down to “initial set up”, and press enter
- You will be asked: Run wizard next start up? Say yes.
- Turn your watch off and then on again. Initial Setup will start.
Setting up your watch to use a heart rate (HR) monitor:
- Turn your watch on and press mode
- Select other settings
- Scroll to Heart Rate, press enter
- Scroll to ANT+ HR, press enter
- You will be asked: HR monitor present? (you must be wearing it), select yes and press enter
- The watch will start scanning for your HR monitor
- When it is found, a window will pop up saying “HR monitor detected”
- Press the mode button until you get back to your data screens
After this initial set up, each time you turn on your watch if you have the HR monitor on, it will beep, letting you know it has detected your monitor.
Having a ton of data can be fun and informative and can definitely help you to become a healthier, fitter athlete. Try not to get too wrapped up in the numbers though. The read-out of a Garmin or any other “training device” is a tool to measure progress and set baselines and goals. It is just as important to forget the watch at home sometimes and go paddle for the fun of it.
What good is a watch if you don’t know how to use it?