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Garmin Coach 5K, 10K and Half Marathon

Today Garmin has introduced the 10K and half marathon distance to the Garmin Coach plans and I am excited! I was really happy with the Garmin Coach 5K Plan as you can read in my review, but I’m looking to increase my distance now and the static training plans Garmin provided were simply not the same. There is very limited adaptability and no accountability (love the Garmin Coach’s confidence levels!). 

With this update the Garmin Coach 5K plan has also received a small make-over. It is now possible to run for a time goal up to 22 minutes, which was 25 minutes earlier. The initial setup of the plan is also slightly different and I’m sure there are more changes done in the background which I’m not able to see (yet?)!

Join the Garmin Coach Community on Facebook! It’s a growing community filled with other runners around the world working through their training plan. Here you can ask and share everything Garmin Coach, setup or coaches, specific workouts, brag about results or confidence levels or simply to connect with other Garmin Coachers!

Setting up the plan

Before you get started, make sure you have a Garmin watch compatible with Garmin Coach. Garmin currently lists the following watches/series as compatible: Fenix 5 Series, Fenix 5 Plus Series,  Fenix Chronos, Forerunner 45/45S, Forerunner 245/245 Music, Forerunner 645/645 Music, Forerunner 935, Forerunner 945, MARQ Series, Vivoactive 3, Vivoactive 3 Music, Vivoactive 3 Music (Verizon).

The Garmin Instinct is not officially mentioned by Garmin as supported (yet?), but several users have reported it to be working

To set up your personal Garmin Coach plan start in the Garmin Connect app on your phone, go to Menu > Training > Training Plans and the above screen will be shown.

1. Choose your distance: 5K, 10K or half marathon. 

2. Your current weekly distance:

    • I don’t run
    • 1 – 8 kilometers
    • 9 – 16 kilometers
    • 17 – 24 kilometers
    • 25 – 32 kilometers
    • 33 – 40 kilometers
    • 40 kilometers or more
If you choose “I don’t run” you will not be able to set a time goal for your plan and you also can’t change this later on. 
 

3. Your current average running pace, options are between 3:45 min/km and 9:30 min/km. Unlike most other settings, this can’t be changed later during the program. It’s used to determine the likelihood you’ll be able to reach your goal by the end of the training plan. You’ll get a pop-up asking you if you’re sure you want to proceed if your current pace isn’t near enough to your goal pace. 

4. Your goal: completion or run with a time goal. There are limits set by Garmin for each distance regardless of your current average running pace. 

    • 5K limit: 22:00 – 37:50
    • 10K limit: 44:00 – 1:15:00
    • Half marathon limit: 1:32:00 – 2:40:00
Your time goal will determine the paces you run during your training. Pick a realistic but challenging goal to ensure you’re training within your limits. 
 

5. Choose your coach. Garmin has lined up three different coaches that can be chosen to virtually guide you towards your goal. These coaches all have their own plan to help you reach your goal. Based on your earlier input each coach will provide a training plan with a different number of workouts per week and a different total weeks. You can watch an introductory video for each coach in which they’ll explain their approach, but I highly recommend checking out this article I wrote on which coach to choose

    • Greg McMillan: 12 – 16 weeks, 4-5 workouts per week » you’ll need to choose in the next option if you want to run 4 or 5 times a week. Training based on time.

    • Amy Parkerson-Mitchel: 16 – 21 weeks, 4-5 workouts per week. Training based on distance.

    • Jeff Galloway, 12 – 14 weeks, 3 workouts per week. Run/walk method. Just keep in mind that given the many different run/walk intervals you can use, the plan doesn’t setup the run/walk intervals during the planned long runs. You’ll need to keep track of when to run and when to walk yourself.

For shorter distances the length of your training plan can be shorter as well, based on your running experience before you start the plan. 
 

6. Select available days for running

7. Long run day. This option is a very welcome new addition to Garmin Coach and lets you decide on which day you’d prefer to do your long runs. 

That’s it, you’re done. Garmin Coach will now setup your training plan, but before you’ll still need to do a benchmark run to complete the whole process. The benchmark run is set up as a 2 minute warm-up, 5 minute run and a 2 minute cooling down. After the benchmark your virtual coach will determine the workouts for the coming week based on the 5 minute run. Your upcoming workouts will be visible only one week in advance. 

Confidence level

Throughout your training plan your virtual coach will continuously provide you with feedback on how you’re doing and if he/she thinks you’ll be able to reach your goal. If you’ve selected “completion” as a goal and no time limit, you will not see this. Your confidence level will be affected by how well you’re performing on your workouts, any missed workouts, etc. 

According to Garmin the confidence colors are defined as follows:

    • Purple: Extremely Confident. You’re exceeding plan expectations and may be capable of taking on a more challenging goal.
    • Green: Confident. You’re right on track for meeting your goal. Keep up the good work!
    • Orange: Somewhat Confident. You’re close to falling behind pace. Follow your plan closely to get on target.
    • Red: Not Confident. You’re struggling with your current plan and may want to consider a different goal.
Summary

Garmin Coach 10K/half marathon plans are exactly what I’ve been looking for in the past weeks while trying to determine how to continue after my Garmin Coach 5K plan. Garmin Coach has ease, flexibility, adaptability, accountability and so much more. I have started my half marathon plan with Coach Greg at the beginning of June (check out the weekly updates!) and I think it can be beneficial for many runners out there. What do you think of the new Garmin Coach plans? Will you be using them? Let me know below in the comments!

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