Image source: Garmin

What is Garmin PacePro & how to use it to improve your runs

PacePro is a feature that can be found on a select number of Garmin watches. It helps keep you tweak your running pace with grade-adjusted guidance. Here’s how to use the feature.

Garmin PacePro – what is it?

Put simply, PacePro helps you plan your ideal pacing strategy. The jist of it is that you define a course you want to run. Apply PacePro and it will analyze the route and calculate an ideal pace strategy based on elevation changes and other variables that you define. Use this during your activity and you’ll know when to increase or decrease your pace. You’ll also know the best overall pace for a particular course.

It is a bit like native run power running. A simplified version of that, but one which offers guidance to maximise your performance.

This was initially designed only for runners. But now the course types that are supported include road cycling, mountain biking, gravel/unpaved cycling, trail running and more.

How to create a Garmin PacePro Pacing Strategy?

For PacePro Strategy to work, you will need to use a course that is available in the Garmin database of courses. Which means courses created directly on a Garmin watch will not work. But you can use a course that is pre-existing, created by other users, or you can create your own and save to Garmin Connect.

To set-up, you will need to decide whether to create a PacePro pacing strategy in Garmin Connect, on the web dashboard or the watch. The smartphone Garmin Connect app option will probably be the one most people opt for.

The procedure is not too difficult. Here are the steps:

  • Fire up the Android or iOS app and select the Training menu item (this can be accessed by clicking on the three dots in the bottom tab).
  • Select PacePro Pacing Strategies.
  • Select Create PacePro Strategy by clicking on the large blue button.
  • You will then need to Select a Course or define a Goal Time or Pace.
  • If you chose the former, then you will need to choose a course. If you chose Goal Time or Pace, there is no course to choose. But elevation will not be taken into account when calculating your strategy.
  • A pacing plan will be created for you.
  • An option that can be tweaked on this page is Pacing Strategy. The sliding bar lets you adjust this to run even, positive or negative splits. For example, a negative pace curve will gradually accelerate from a slow speed in the beginning to the fastest speed towards the finish line.
  • The other option is Uphill Effort. This lets you choose whether to run harder on the uphils and ease effort on the downhills, or vice versa.
  • Choose Save.
  • If you go back to the PacePro page – you will notice that the strategy was saved to your phone.
  • The last step is to click on the icon next to it to send to your watch.
  • The PacePro plan should be available to use now.

What follows are some screenshots. As you can see the map is colour-coded based on the ideal pace that is calculated for each part of the course. Blue represents the slower parts and red represents the faster parts.

You can also see the target pace for each individual split. The increase or decrease of elevation is taken into account (if you chose a course). A split can be set to equate to every mile, every kilometer or elevation changes.

Other ways of creating a Garmin PacePro Strategy

As mentioned, all of this can also be done from the web dashboard. Log into your Garmin Connect account, choose Training > PacePro Pacing Strategies > Create PacePro Strategy. The remaining steps are pretty much the same as above.

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Directly on a watch is another way to create a strategy. The actual steps are device dependent, but they boil down to the following:

  1. Choose RunTrail Run, or Ultra Run.
  2. Hold UP/MENU and select Navigation.
  3. Choose Courses and select a course for which to make the pacing strategy.
  4. Select PacePro > Create New.
  5. Select Goal Pace or Goal Time and enter your targets.
  6. Press the START button to finish setup.

It is worth noting that there are two limitations you should be aware of when using this feature. PacePro works with pace goals between 4 and 20 minutes per mile – this should suffice for the vast majority of people. The maximum distance you can create a strategy for is 150 miles. Again, this shouldn’t be a problem. It also means you can use this to create a pacing strategy for a marathon or when running triathlons.

Applying a PacePro course loaded to your watch

Once created, using the dynamic pacing feature is simple enough. On race day, launch the running mode. Click the up button to access the additional menu. Then choose Training and you’ll see the PacePro Plans. All your plans will be listed here as long as you have synced the watch to the smartphone app. Choose the one you want by selecting Use Plan. You be asked Enable course navigation? Confirm.

Then its a matter of executing your strategy.

You will see a dedicated PacePro page. This shows real-time pace guidence with your target metric for a particular split and whether you are currently above or below that pace. The watch also shows a graphic and data with the distance remaining in the current split.

Garmin PacePro

At the end of each PacePro split you will get an alert. This will let you know how you are doing to that point, whether you are ahead of below the target pace, and what lies ahead for the next split.

Here are some more screenshots which show the type of stats you get.

Garmin PacePro

Which Garmin devices are compatible with PacePro?

A wide selection of Garmin watches supports PacePro. This includes all high end watches that were released after the Fenix 6 series. Here’s the complete list:

  • D2 Mach 1
  • Descent Mk2 series
  • All Enduro watches
  • epix (Gen 2) series
  • fenix 6 & 7 series
  • Forerunner 55, 245, 255, 745, 945, 954 LTE, 955 series
  • Instinct 2 series
  • MARQ collection
  • quatix 6 series
  • tactix 7 & Delta series

As can be seen, the company has made PacePro exclusive on its outdoor sports watches and Garmin Forerunner watches. Its wellness watch range which includes the Venu and Vivoactive do not have this. Nor does its finess watch line.

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Marko Maslakovic

Marko founded Gadgets & Wearables in 2014, having worked for more than 15 years in the City of London’s financial district. Since then, he has led the company’s charge to become a leading information source on health and fitness gadgets and wearables.

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