Tuesday, November 18, 2008

What you see is what you get; how to customize you Forerunner screens

And so in light of Alice’s and Bob’s recent observations that the Garmin Forerunner 305 is now on sale at Costco for $160 (guess what my wife is getting for Christmas!) I thought I would share some of the features and things you can do with yours, this will I think also apply to a 205 with the exception of anything to do with HR.

When I first got my Garmin Forerunner 305, one of the annoyances was the need to dig into the settings menu to look at the time, it wasn’t until somebody told me you can customize your screens that I realized what other info I could look at. So this quick post will tell you how you can set up the three screens to see the data you want to see rather than the default.

There are three screens that rotate available for customization: Main 1, Main 2 and Running, this is the same for “Biking” which I use and for “Other” which I haven’t, I assume swimming, skiing and snowboarding, or indeed anything else that begins with "S"...you know skating, stamp collecting and Scrabble etc, could be used here. A couple of other points to note; in case you wondering what the little white square is just below the word Garmin, it's a reminder to me to switch between Bike and Run and the "flecking" below the Start/stop and Lap Buttons is delamination of the surface due to insect repellent during the summer; water resistant; yes, insect repellent resistant; no!

Anyway to get back on topic. To set up the screens to show some really interesting data follow these instructions:

Press Mode to enter the Settings menu
Use Up/Down to scroll down to Settings, press Enter
Press Enter to select General
Scroll down to Data Fields press Enter
Select Main 1 Press Enter

Here you will be prompted to select the number of quadrants you want and will see the screen divided into four quarters, in the middle is the quadrant tally scroll up or down to select the number of quadrants you want (1 is minimum, 4 is maximum). Using the Up/Down to scroll to the number of quadrants you want, press Enter. You will then be prompted to use the Up/Down and Enter buttons to select the field you want to view.

You then repeat that for all for quadrants. Press Mode to exit back to the Main 1/Main2/Running menu and repeat for Main 2 and Running.

My preferences are:
Running: Pace / Lap Pace / Calories
Main 1: Pace / Average Pace / Distance / Lap Distance (a lap for me is 1 mile)
Main 2: Distance / Heart Rate / Average Cadence / Time, this is moving time

For Biking I have the following:
Biking: Time / Current Lap / Average Cadence / Lap Cadence
Main 1: Speed / Average Speed / Distance / Lap Distance
Main 2: Distance / Heart Rate / Average Cadence / Time, this is moving time

As you can see there are some repeats, to be honest after playing with it these are the ones that I come back to more often that not.

For both running and biking for the cadence to work you will need a Footpod and Cadence Monitor. The Footpod also allows you to use a Forerunner on a Treadmill and the Cadence Monitor can be used on a bike trainer, both of which are important to those of you in more winter climates.

Finally you can vary the speed of screen rotation. From the same menu as Data Fields select Display, select Auto Scroll Timer; I suggest Fast to minimize the risk of running into a lamp post while gazing at all this newly discovered data.

PS the layout of text to photos looked ok to me on a 19"monitor at 1280 x 1024


  1. lol @ running into the post. totally something i'd do! Great info! Wasn't sure about swimming with the 305... but not sure i'd try it either. :)

  2. hmmm. cadence - i know what it is, but is it the same as measuring power output? my husbands' coach (and now mine to!) wants him to get a power meter. those are way spendy - does the garmin measure those same things?

    i am always enourmously impressed by your public service announcements & reviews!

  3. Words I hope to hear from MY husband's mouth soon: "Guess what my wife is getting for Christmas!"

    This post is getting printed out and stored for that moment.

  4. I really like my Garmin. They did a great job with the 305. Woot.com had the 50 with a foot pod on sale this weekend for $49. It was really tempting, but I like the screen on the 305 and it's GPS. Thanks for sharing your impressions of it.

  5. Oooooohhh look at this post! Very nice with pic too! WHoot! You're the man!

    It's funny, I've had my 205 for about a year now and the only functions I know are the on and off button :-/ So sad not to take full use of the thing, eh? Although I will say I did use the custom workout dealy once for speedwork LOL

  6. Nope, I did mean 4:32. Just think how much faster I could have been!

  7. Cool I learned a couple of things about the Garmin. I still need lessons on setting up fancy interval workouts like time with distance alerts and all that jazz. I do love how you added the quadrant here and you will see a quadrant here..hahaha

  8. Indeed, one of my favorite features on the watch.

  9. Hope your wife doesn't read our blog!

    I have the Edge 305 and I love it. It's meant for the bike but can be used for anything else. I have to carry it when I run but it's not a problem for me. I like the screen size better than the forerunner (personal preference). The only downside (to me) is that it doesn't show pace. I have to figure on mph (kmph)instead. I set it to autolap on each km and I get my data when I upload though.

    Love my Garmin!!

  10. Thanks for the review, thinking of getting one at some stage, so very very helpful. ta.


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