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  1. #1
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    NOOB - using Garmin watch "race an activity" function - best display for data

    How are you using your Garmin watch to push for faster times when racing against your previous rides or a course you have downloaded?

    I've been using a Garmin Fenix 5x for 6 months and have been using it to improve my speed on my training loops. The watch has a built in function called "race an activity" which allows me to select one of my routes or recent rides to race against. It's pretty nice.

    Unfortunately, the stock watch face for this leave a bit to be desired IMHO. It shows the time ahead/behind on the top in a small font, some cheesy graphic of two bikes to show if you are ahead or behind, and an estimate time to finish.


    Garmin Virtual Partner display

    I found "Peter's (Hi Vis) Pacer which adds a nice feature...
    your ahead/behind time is big and highlighted in green if ahead and red if behind. This is a good reminder for me to pedal harder.
    Further, you can configure the number and type of data fields shown. In my case, I set it up to show my ahead/behind on the top half, distance remaining in the lower left corner, and heart rate in the lower right corner. I'm going to try it out on my next ride and see if it works as desired.


    customized Peter's (Hi Vis) Pacer

    I'm interested in hearing what other are using and hope this helps for anyone looking for similar information.
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    NOOB - using Garmin watch "race an activity" function - best display for data-img_0595.jpg  


  2. #2
    Sneaker man
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    I used it a couple of times on my old f610 a few times when running, but couldn't see me using it on a watch when mtbing, i'd probably crash if I looked at it.
    All the gear and no idea.

  3. #3
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    So I tried Peter’s Pacer while racing one of my previous rides and notice a big difference.
    Garmin’s virtual partner uses “dynamic speed/pace” and Peter’s Pace does not.
    This made a big difference in the “ahead/behind” display that I did not find useful. Essentially, while using Peter’s Pacer on a mtb course that started with a primarily tough uphill route for 4 miles, the pacer said I was way behind because it was accounting for the entire track. The back half of the track was primarily fast downhill, so during the beginning of the course trying to make up the “time behind” was insurmountable.

    Garmin’s “dynamic speed” calculation was far more useful, as it appeared to be using my previous attempt as the basis of showing where I was relative to it. This made it a more realistic race experience since it had me racing against my actual pace along changes in the trail. I also set up alerts for low speed and low heart rate values that I figured I needed to exceed in order to increase my performance. This worked great as the watch would beep when my speed dropped below the threshold I set, reminding me to push harder. Overall, I was able to drop almost 3 minutes on a 9+ mile course thanks to these cues. I always have a hard time pushing myself to the limit when riding alone, the virtual partner seems to be helping me in this regard. I just wish the display was easier to read, or customizable.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by mik_git View Post
    I used it a couple of times on my old f610 a few times when running, but couldn't see me using it on a watch when mtbing, i'd probably crash if I looked at it.
    I've gotten pretty good at glancing at it when needed. I usually take a look during easier sections to see status and for motivation to lay down some power. Definitely not looking at it during tech sections It was pretty satisfying to see me being ahead after a grueling climb and motivated me to keep my lead when I was burning out.

  5. #5
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    A little bonus discovery... the watch can send my heart rate data and other stuff to my handle bar mounted Garmin Oregon, so less glancing at the wrist. Still wish there was a better display on the watch for “racing an activity” and seeing the ahead/behind data.

  6. #6
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    Thanks for the info on racing an activity!

    As far as using the watch while riding, I use Garmin watch handlebar mount on all my bikes. Allows me to mount my Fenix to the bars. They work very well. There's generic versions too, but I haven't tried any of those.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wq4vJf-6xsY

  7. #7
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    Works fine on a long road segment (especially with hills and other things that cause speed to vary). Works sort of okay running. Can't imagine looking at it while riding a trail at speed.

    The strava app used to give verbal start/finish and 10s time checks when riding a segment that could be heard through an earphone. This sort of worked on a trail ride. But strava may have dumped this during their app feature purge last year, not sure.
    The above statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration

  8. #8
    Sneaker man
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    Quote Originally Posted by Verboten View Post
    A little bonus discovery... the watch can send my heart rate data and other stuff to my handle bar mounted Garmin Oregon, so less glancing at the wrist. Still wish there was a better display on the watch for “racing an activity” and seeing the ahead/behind data.
    If you had a newer garmin edge, you can display info (some) from you watch on the edge...so you use the edge as a monitor for the watch, it's not perfect, but its OK. I think it's whatever fields on the screen, re shown on the edge.

    I normally use a HR strap, but often if i cant be bothered, or forget, I just use the watch HR for my 830, it's not as good, slower reacting, but pretty good for my non pro needs.
    All the gear and no idea.

  9. #9
    Armature speller
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    Quote Originally Posted by mik_git View Post
    If you had a newer garmin edge, you can display info (some) from you watch on the edge...so you use the edge as a monitor for the watch, it's not perfect, but its OK. I think it's whatever fields on the screen, re shown on the edge.
    It shows the lap info (time/dist) on the head unit and below that the data from the watch screen.
    Unfortunately, the lap info is big and the rest of the data isn't.
    Great for multisport events.

  10. #10
    Sneaker man
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    ^yep, GF tried using it for tri's but now she just sets the edge going at the start along with watch (or transistion for 70.3 and stuff).
    All the gear and no idea.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by mik_git View Post
    If you had a newer garmin edge, you can display info (some) from you watch on the edge...so you use the edge as a monitor for the watch, it's not perfect, but its OK. I think it's whatever fields on the screen, re shown on the edge.

    I normally use a HR strap, but often if i cant be bothered, or forget, I just use the watch HR for my 830, it's not as good, slower reacting, but pretty good for my non pro needs.
    Yes, I might have to purchase an Edge if I want something better than my current setup. I see that it natively displays the ahead/behind with stats in Red if behind. That would be helpful.

  12. #12
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    Follow up... I ended up getting an Edge 530 Mtb bundle. It does everything I need better than the watch. I mounted it over the stem and put the remote on my left side above the dropper lever, making it easy to change screens or mark laps while in motion. The ahead/behind field I added to a custom screen is very nice, bold red highlight when you are behind pace, easy to read at a glance. The navigation features, Strava/trail forks integration, and Climb Pro screen are great. It has really helped me improve my times and efforts as a result. I ended up selling my Oregon and plan on using the 530 on my dirt bike too.

  13. #13
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    I just cracked the screen on my 520+. considering a 530. But...not sure. But I don't use this function. Occasionally on my road bike for long segments. Going to try it with my F5 on a long run segment (two hours) soon.

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