Garmin Daily Workout Suggestions | Running Workouts Now Included

Garmin Daily Workout Suggestions for Runners

Cyclists were the first to receive the Garmin daily workout suggestions on the Garmin Edge 1030 Plus, we soon saw them again on the Garmin Forerunner 745 at launch and now they are starting to roll out to other hi-end Garmin running watches including the Fenix 6 and Forerunner 945. To what extent these Firstbeat-powered workouts will be further rolled out through firmware to the entire Garmin ecosystem is not known but it’s likely to be at least to mid- to high-end feature for cyclists and runners with watch models younger than two years

Before we delve into the details, just what exactly are these workout suggestions? The Firstbeat Engine understands the intensity and effect of your workouts within the context of your recovery state, training history and fitness level (VO2max). The engine then knows if you need time to adapt to what you have already accomplished or which aspects of your physiology need tweaking today – it’s widely understood what kind of workouts tweak the various aspects of your physiology. Certainly, you can expect a mixture of rest, interval workouts and endurance-building fun.

Importantly, the engine builds in periodisation which is normally 3 progressively harder week followed by an easy week…repeated. I reported an interesting twist on that only last week, discovered by the analysis of ‘Big Data’ for marathon training.

Garmin Daily Workout Suggestions

The Run Types of the Garmin-Firstbeat Engine for Daily Workout Suggestions

If you are being coached, following a plan or trusting Garmin, you don’t really need to know any of this. If, however, you are a self-coacher to any degree then the basics I mention in this post should be understood. Let’s start off with the 7 workout types that you can expect to encounter and these can be grouped according to broader kinds of training, namely: low-intensity aerobic training; high-intensity aerobic training; and anaerobic training.


Garmin Daily Workout Suggestions

The following information is aimed at an ‘introductory level’ or runner, although some more advanced athletes might find Coggan’s chart interesting and there’s an interesting ‘advanced’ running pace spreadsheet at the end to keep everyone happy! Also towards the end are some further insights into how the algorithms work (skip past the following zones 1-7 stuff)

Anaerobic Training Runs

Sprint (Zone 7)

Tell your friends that you’re working on your neuromuscular power today and they will be impressed. These are even shorter and harder ‘all-out’ efforts. The adaptations from this type of training include the better sequencing of muscle contractions and ultimately higher race-day speeds.

Expect to be prescribed these sessions relatively infrequently and only when you are rested.

Anaerobic Capacity (Zone 6)

These are typically 40-60 second intervals that draw much of their energy needs from ANaerobic energy pathways. There are other benefits too, as the following table shows, but expect these workouts to leave you with burning legs as the Lactic acid builds up.


Aerobic Training Runs High-intensity

Tempo (Zone 3)

Tempo runs are many people’s marathon pace, perhaps even straying into the sweetspot zone in the table above. Expect to find variety even in this type of run ranging from consistently paced workouts through to longer, more gently intervals at slightly higher intensities

Threshold (Zone 4)

We usually think of threshold as the point where lactate starts to accumulate faster than it can be burnt. If you run faster then the speed at which happens then you reach a point of failure and that will almost certainly be before an hour. If you can train this physiological point to occur at higher heart rates then, put simply, it is possible for you to run faster for longer. I’m not sure exactly what Garmin will prescribe here but it will probably equate to running at your current 10k pace for shorter than 10k durations – 2x5k@threshold with a rest in between would be reasonable.

Anaerobic Capacity (VO2max, Zone 5)

These high-intensity runs are above your lactate threshold and typically for extended periods interspersed with rest. Perhaps they might be km repeats.


Aerobic Training Runs -Low-intensity

Endurance “Base” Runs (Zone 2)

Depending on your ability level these runs are normally between 30 and 90 minutes in the Garmin program and shouldn’t exceed 80% of you HRmax.

Normally classed as ‘fat burners’ these runs are also sometimes stated to train your body’s ability to burn fat. As you can see in the earlier chart there are many more benefits than that to make you a more efficient runner. After you’ve been training for a number of years you might start to decline with age or simply peak, at those times it can be easier to get faster by becoming a more efficient runner.

Active “Recovery” Runs (Zone 1)

If in doubt just think ‘I’m going to fast’ and you probably are, as most people run their recovery runs too quickly. Your recovery runs are aimed to flush the gunk out of your muscles…go too fast and you add more gunk.

Garmin Daily Workout Suggestions: Notes

Garbage In – Garbage Out. As always, I recommend a footpod like STRYD and a chest strap like the HRM-PRO. If you don’t have the right tools to capture pace and hr data then you will not be able to to give Firstbeat the correct inputs it needs nor will you be able to properly execute the training guidance given.

Ideally, you should wear your Garmin 24×7 to enable the recovery algorithm to properly update these daily workout suggestions when needed.

You might not agree with the HR zones and thresholds that Garmin/Firstbeat come up with but I suspect (IDK for sure)  that the default ones will work best to give the Daily Workout Suggestions their best shot at being accurate – unless you are absolutely sure that your manual zones and threshold are right as of today.

I asked Garmin the question “What range of abilities are catered for?“. Interestingly, there was no definitive answer to that question although it was possible to say that anecdotally the suggestions have been fine for runners of a 30:00/5k all the way up to a Sub3:00 marathon standard. On a further point, also related to ability, I asked about weekly training volumes and was assured that the algorithm considers your training volume history and your current aerobic fitness level and, as such, has your current capacity levels are dynamically catered for.

Finally, don’t forget that after you are shown the workout suggestion at the start,  you can page down to also see the benefits it intends to deliver. It’s all very clever stuff!!

Take Out

I’m generally impressed with this so far. I might query a few of the recommendations but have not yet had anything which is a clearly wrong recommendation and I’ve been using daily suggested workout since they were first released quite some time ago on the Garmin Edges.



Garmin 745 Review | Forerunner Triathlon GPS Watch Specifications running

Here’s that spreadsheet I promised courtesy of Electric Blues. That spreadsheet has some recent additions here at Electric Blues’ site.


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18 thoughts on “Garmin Daily Workout Suggestions | Running Workouts Now Included

  1. This is great for people who have the determination to train but do not have a club, coach or knowledge on training. Unfortunately a lot of these people wont have a 745/945/F6. They most likely rocking a cheaper device like the Vivoactive 4.

    But kudos to Garmin for releasing these features as software updates and not tie it to a hardware update. They could easily have released a 955/945+ with track mode, improved on device sleep tracking, improved recovery times, workout suggestions and smart trainer control, and people would have flocked to buy it. Nice of them to pass most of the updates down to the 245 as well.

      1. Track Mode was definitely the Pace 2. Any idea if Coros is working on a web platform? So much easier to consume and analyse data on a larger screen.

  2. After a few days only cycling instead of running (small trauma) suggestions disappeared from FR945. Also it’s sad that only running suggestions are included. I think heart rate based suggestions could be included for anything: running, cycling or even chair-cardio. Most of those prescribed workouts give estimate of AE/AN Training Effect, which is not tied to any sport in particular. I.e. I might want to have a recovery cycling instead of running, but keeping same HR/TE.

    But, as pointed already, nevertheless this is a very nice add up after the devices’ release time, encouraging to keep current device for another couple (or even more) years. Nice of Garmin.

    But could they add unicycling to their bunch of sports… would be much more useful than RC/Drone 😐

  3. Been following this for two weeks now, so far it’s only suggested Base, Recovery & Rest for me. I have noticed it’s sped up the Base runs by 10 secs a km mind you. With my local running track thankfully reopening next week hoping it will come up with something to do there.

  4. Wondering does the 945 think I’m training for a marathon or something as its suggestion for Sat was a 2 hour base run. Needless to say I told it where to go with that as wanted to try out the track mode at my very recently reopened track. Scarily perfect looking oval loops I have to say.

    Thankfully a bit of variety seems to have woken the watch up as today’s suggestion was a 50 min run with 30 mins at a tempo pace which I was glad to do. Interested to see where it goes next week now.

    1. Whether I’m cocahing a 5k or 1/2 marathon runner, I would love to see the long run get to two hours. There are massive gains to be had. My athletes have improved their 5k PBs by increasing their long runs.
      Personally some of my best 5k times came mid marathon training with long runs of over 1/2 hours!

      1. it makes sense not to neglect longer runs for sure.
        for any given ability level I’m not sure the cut off point above which gains are not optimal
        certainly with Garmin Coach(not DWS) the intended running level was no faster than 23:00/5k, at least that was the case at launch.
        DWS targets much faster people as well

  5. I recently tried the DSW for Indoor cycling. It came up with a few 10sec sprints and the aim of the workout was a 2.5 Aerobe and a 2.5 Anaerobe Training Effort. But because the sprints where only 10 seconds my heart beat never reached the Anaerobe zones. After finishing the workout I ended up with 2.0 Aerobe and *0* Anaerobe Training Effort. It was physically impossible to reach the announced Anaerobe Training Effort in those 10 second sprints. Although I really like the idea of Daily Suggested Workouts I feel that Garmin did some poor design on the AI algorithm behind it.

    1. here you go: proper AI for Garmin

      point taken on the 10 seconds and the trainer response time. the hr will still have peaked about 20 secs after the burst tho? so it might depend on the recovery interval & number of intervals. I can’t remember the precise details but The firstbeat anaerobic efforts are more subtle than simply time in zone 4/5. IIR Cit was this kind of in/out anaerobic work effort that maximised VO2max…that said I agree your HR has to get up there!

      again, IIRC from elsewhere, the best workouts to spend anaerobic time are something like 20 secs effort and 10 secs recovery. TABATA like. you get some recovery, enough to help you spend more time in the hurt locker.

      1. Thanks. I will give AIEndurance a try. I noticed that they also do AI plans for Triathlon. Interesting since I do both running and cycling.

      2. Yesterday I learned something new from the Garmin forum. It turns out that anaerobic TE is not achieved by working out in an anaerobic zone like I was assuming in my reply above. Apparently it works with the time your heart beat recovers after an intense effort (even if that effort is not achieved in an anaerobic zone). In case of my example above sprints from 10 seconds dont necessaraly have to be in the anaerobic zone. It all depends how quick you recover from them. The guy in the forum showed proof by workouts that had anaerobic TE but with 0 time done in the anaerobic zone. Learning all the time 🙂

      3. FB did explain it to me once but yes it is definitely not simply ‘time in zone 4/5’
        the FBs metrics are based on EPOC which is the recovery you are talking about.
        What you say at the end doesn’t tie in with my memory. that said, the body is complex. and the energy systems are continuously used to differing degrees so there will be some truth in it

        the FB guy explained exactly what you had to do to max out the anaerobic score. i cant remember without digging out the info but my failing memory vaguely remembers it involved anaerobic work.

        bottom line: what seems to work is more polarised training. super fast stuff (20%) plus long easy stuff (80%). all of us do too much in the middle and accumulate too much fatigue that limits our ability to perform hard in the quality sessions

  6. My difficulty with a lot of training plans, Garmin’s included, is that my local topography is very hilly, so just at the wrong moments I’m either careering down a steep hill or grinding up an equally steep one. I always think programmes are invented for an imaginary flat, or slightly undulating route that doesn’t exist in my part of the world.

    1. yeah even those with reps are fine uphill but the downhill when jogging slowly makes the recovery too long.

      i guess ultimately you need to train by power and not go for crazy hilly routes.

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