Garmin 610… what you can do with it. :-)


A friend of mine has just been fortunate enough to buy herself a Garmin 610 – welcome to the club!  🙂

I love my Garmin 610 and since getting my first Garmin (405) in 2008 I’ve got to grips with the GPS watches, Garmin Connect, and even with how to make the battery last for days!

Here are the main things I use my Garmin for:

1. Recording runs, walks and activities (and trips / cycles / flights abroad)
2. Interval training (speedwork or run/walk)
3. Monitoring my vitals on activities (HR, pace, splits etc)
4. Heart Rate training (running, gym work, circuits etc)
5. Analysing and communicating data using Garmin Connect (maps, charts, splits)

The Watch and it’s functions

The Garmin 610 has a touch screen, which you unlock with a moving touch from your finger.

It has 4 main menus:

  • History
  • Training
  • Setup
  • Where to?

First of all, it’s important to set up your User Profile:

Setup > User Profile
Select your sex and birth year and enter your weight and height.

This will then allow your Garmin to work out your max heart rate and the calories it works out you burn.

Here are the menus / pages I tend to use:

Setup > Training Pages

There are 4 customisable training pages / screens for you to scroll through plus a clock page: x2 standard ones, x2 additional customisable ones and the clock.

You can choose how many fields you view on each page (up to 4) and you can enable or disable the pages you’ll scroll through.

You can add Virtual Partner on too (see below), I have it turned on.

Here are the pages I have set up:

On my first page I have Distance at the top, Timer on the left, Heart Rate on the right and Pace at the bottom.  But you can pick and choose what you see and where you see it.  Very Clever.

My second page is my heart rate page (which you get to by tapping the screen): Training Effect is at the top, HR % Max is on the left, Heart Rate on the right, Timer at the bottom.

Then I have my Virtual Partner which can be set up by going to Training > Virtual Partner and you can turn it on so that you have a target to aim for and you can chase/compete with the virtual man/pace you set.

I don’t tend to use it much, but it can be a really good training partner.

( I personally love how you can make pretty graphs using elevation and heart rate… 🙂 )

Setup > Alarm

Get an alarm to go off (beep or vibrate) after a certain time period (ie a reminder to finish the warm up or a reminder to take a gel every 45 minutes).

Setup > System

You can choose the language the watch uses and how the watch will communicate to you (vibrate, beep, and key tones) in this menu.
Key Tones: I usually have key tones off… there’s nothing worse than key tones on a phone… it’s the same with a watch I think!
Alert Virbration: I tend to use the vibrate option rather than the beep, to turn the vibrate on, go to Alert Vibration: On.  It’s good that it vibrates on your wrist and you don’t need to listen for it or look at it.
Alert Tones: The beep can get a bit annoying, but if you want to turn it on, go to Alert Tones: On. It’s good for when you use the watch for intervals or races or when you don’t want to use the vibrate function.
Data Recording: I always have it on Smart.
GPS: This is where you turn your GPS on or off, or look at the satelittes.
Backlight: I use this one a lot in winter.  I usually keep it set to time out 8 seconds after key/alerts, but in winter I tend to turn it on so it stays on.  It does drain the battery, but if you’re not out for long it shouldn’t be a problem (or you could get a charger like this one). 🙂
Time: 24 hour / 12 hour, Set it to Auto and it will update with GPS.
Units: You can set miles or km, elevation in feet or metres, and weight in lbs or kgs.
Data Transfer: This is where you turn on pairing with your computer / ANT agent / stick.
Restore Defaults: does what it says.
About: Tells you the software version on your Garmin 610 and the Uint ID.

Setup > Heartrate

This is where you can set up your heart rate training zones if you want to so that you can get alerted when you go above or below certain zones. You can also pair your heart rate monitor to your watch.

Training > Ready to Run

This gets you to your training pages and will get your watch to look for satelittes ready to run.

Training > Options has 4 options to choose from:

Alerts: You can set up alerts to go off after set distances or times (or calories, or cadence (bike) or heart rate!) and you can set up a run walk alert too… for example, run for 2 minutes, walk for 2 minutes.
Auto Lap: I’ve always used this one and it’s how I get to see my mile splits. You can auto lap by distance or position… I do mine by distance and do a basic 1 mile, but you can put any distance in and it will alert you on your watch after that distance.
Auto Pause: I don’t tend to use this, but you can set it so that the watch stops automatically if you stop, get to a certain speed or pace.
Auto Scroll: Again I don’t use this, I prefer to scroll through the screens manually, but you can set it up so that it will scroll throught the screens as you run.

Training > Virtual Partner

As mentioned already, this is a good tool to keep pace with or to use as a competitive goal pacer.

Training > Virtual Racer

I’ve not used this feature, but you can race against a run that you’ve already done.  You search for a run you’ve done, and the watch will get you to race with the splits of that run.  Very clever. 🙂

Training > Workouts

I use this for speedwork and for walk runs where I want a warm up or cool down.  You can set up intervals (ie 2 min run 2 min recovery) or set up custom workouts.  You start the timer, to warm up, then hit lap to start the intervals.  It then tells you (vibrate or beep whichever setting you have on) when to run fast or recover. (or run and walk if you want).

I like this feature because it has a warm up and cool down option.

For simple Run / walk (without warm up) you can use this feature….

Training > Options > Alerts > Run/Walk

Set up the times you want to Run and Walk for and it will remind you.

History > Activities

Shows you your history of activities.  click on one to bring up it’s summary, and scroll to get the laps or delete the activity if you want.

History > Totals

Gives you totals, for as long as you’ve had the watch, weekly, and monthly.  My total is 1,377 miles, in 383 hours… some of that will be cycling, running and maybe some driving in there too!

History > Options

You can select whether the watch shows pace or speed, the start day of the week, and you can delete all activities, reset totals or upload workouts to the watch.

I haven’t used the Where to? but it can get your current location, and can help you navigate too. 


Garmin Training Effect

As you may know, I always monitor my heart rate when I train and Garmin Training Effect is just an extention of that.  In basic terms, it looks at you, your stats, how hard you’re working, how long you’ve been working for and gives you a number between 1 and 5.  1 being eay recovery, 5 being overreaching.

For more see here:

As you can see from my analysis above, I think it’s a really good measure once it gets used to your body and how you work/train.

Then there’s Garmin Connect, which I love.

I’ve Garmin Connect since 2008 and I have my own way of categorising my activiites. It allows for so much to be recorded and allows you to ananlyse your data and pin point places easily.  I love it.

You can do much more than I do, like set goals, plan courses and workouts and you can update the titles of activities and delete activities from the dashboard section.  But here’s a little taster of how I use it.

From Garmin Connect you can view activities, update them, share them, and analyse them as much or as little as you want.  I get most of my maps and charts that I post on here from Garmin.   I tend to take screen shots of them, then save them as jps and post them on my blog.

You can edit an activity, by clicking into them and using the pencil button to do a quick edit or a full edit.  And you can click on Splits or Player to look into an activity in more detail. (Click on anywhere on the graph to see where you were on the map at that point).  And you can switch view between heart rate (red graph), speed (blue graph) and elevation (green graph).

26 2 gleniffer map

You can even search for other peoples runs or activities in your local area, and get elevation charts for runs for example in the Explore section.

You can pull reports in the analyze section and you can record your weight in the Health section:

 For more posts I’ve done about Garmins see here:

 More information on this comprehensive review by DC Rainmaker. 🙂

This entry was posted in Analysis, Gadgets, Heart Rate. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Garmin 610… what you can do with it. :-)

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