Structured Swim Workouts - Garmin, MySwimPro, Form Goggles etc. Help! | 80/20 Endurance

Structured Swim Workouts – Garmin, MySwimPro, Form Goggles etc. Help!

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    Now that I am finally hoping to get back in the pool in the coming days after a long hiatus, question for everyone:

    How are 80/20 triathletes doing their structured swim workouts? I love the TrainingPeaks to Garmin sync for bike and run workouts. Wow, that allows me to do a lot more structured training than I would do if I had to motivate for every interval myself and keep track of all of the durations somehow. When my Garmin tells me it’s time to run faster, I just do it. But sadly TrainingPeaks can’t sync a swim workout to Garmin it seems (am I wrong about this?), so what are people doing? Are you just printing out the workout and leaving it on the pool edge and reading it over at every interval? Are you using something else that keeps track of a structured workout (like MySwimPro)? I had thought I would be able to just manually enter structured workouts into Garmin, or copy the workout files from this site directly to my Garmin, but it appears that Garmin doesn’t understand much about swim zones. It seems Garmin only understands “Warm Up”, “Swim”, “Rest” and “Cool Down”. That’s not really going to work with an 8020 workout is it? What about distinctions between zones Zones 2-7? Does anyone have this working natively on a Garmin? Also, does TrainingPeaks now properly import heart rate data from a Garmin swim recorded workout?

    MySwimPro for $20 a month seems to understand 7 zones of intensity (Easy through Sprint). It seems I could conceivably create everyone swim workout in the mobile app or website and sync them over to the MySwimPro Connect IQ app on my Garmin and do the workout. Is that the best solution?

    Is anyone using Form goggles in training or tri racing? I just checked and they still don’t support structured workouts on the device. But it seems pretty cool you could be monitoring your current pace at any moment to keep yourself in the correct training zone!

    Are there other options? What are people doing most often to 80/20 train properly in the pool as part of a triathlon training plan? Thanks for your input!


    I should also mention that it now seems not possible (or at least not straightforward and easy) to connect a Garmin watch (mine is a 945) to a laptop (mine is a Mac) and then copy a workout file over to the watch from the laptop. The Garmin watches no longer mount as a USB Mass Storage Device, and copying files is no longer an option. So the workout library of files is not usable (for any discipline – swimming, biking, or running.) I suggest you update the workout library page to indicate the new situation. This doesn’t impact me for biking and running because I use TrainingPeaks to sync workouts to my device. But swimming is without a solution…

    David Warden


    I’m not aware and cannot duplicate the USB issue with a Garmin 945 on my PC. It still loads just fine as a mass storage device for me. I have the latest software installed on the 945.

    Try it on a PC instead, I am guessing it is a MAC issue. Or, I’d reset your watch to factory defaults and let it reformat the 945 drive. I can’t imagine why Garmin would take this away as there are too many other features that depend on the device being a hard drive.

    The solution really is the 80/20 workout library.

    But, let’s imagine that in the future Garmin does change their devices so that they are no longer a hard drive. The solution then would be to grab an older Garmin device that has not moved to the new standard. I can still buy a Garmin 910xt which originally came out in 2012, so we have a decade of the 80/20 Workout library still working!

    Finally, another solution was made by one of our Forums users for swim workout cards, see



    I called Garmin and they confirmed that the Forerunner 945 can not connect to a Mac as a USB Mass Storage Device the way it can a Windows computer, at least not without trying out unsupported software addons. I tried installing a couple of them, they didn’t work, and they messed other things up on my computer until I fixed it. So a Mac user can not copy any workout files to the Garmin device if you own the latest Garmin triathlon watch.

    I’m not sure the solution is to find an older device. One thing I like about the 945 is it records (pretty accurately I’d say) my heart rate from the wrist while I am swimming. And now TrainingPeaks imports this data (it didn’t use to) so it’s nice to see HR data for my swim workouts. Over time I will get a better handles on it’s accuracy and how to analyze the HR data.

    Anyone try out MySwimPro for the swim workouts, or the Form Goggles? I know the Form Goggles don’t load a planned workout at this point, but has anyone found it useful to monitor your swim pace in your goggles while doing a workout? To see my swim pace in real time stroke by stroke sounds pretty cool! Just like we can do with running and cycling. Without it, it’s only by feel, which is the norm, but seems like it will seem like the “olden days” for swimming at some point sooner than later. Are Form goggles legal in Ironman?


    Hi tedc.

    I am using form googles for over a year with 8020, and mainly only for pace and total time/distance monitoring. Swim is more like 3 zones for me, either easy, medium or sprint, and I cant imagine introducing 7 zones into swim training… I personally find it impossible to track, and pay such strong focus to being +/- 1-2 sec per 25m is enough for me.
    All I do, is just make a note of session steps, and execute them as close as possible, without going crazy.



    My 645M doesn’t connect to my Mac similarly as you would think it should do.

    I have a fix that works for me, maybe it will work for you too.

    You will have no doubt read loads of pages, suggestion varying apps, some of which look a bit shonky, and Android File Transfer, which you’ve probably tried and it still doesn’t work right ?

    The best solution is to use Android File Transfer. but, and it is a BIG but, you have to close down Garmin connect in the menu bar at the top of your desktop, if this is still running in the background, it will not work


    Thanks @MartinH. I tried Android File Transfer and it didn’t work for me. At least not my first attempt so far. When you use Android File Transfer are you able to copy files *to* the watch so that you could copy a structured workout file from this website to your Mac and then to the watch? In the midst of lots of bugginess I was able to see my watch mount but as only a Read Only volume so I wasn’t able to copy anything to it. And after installing Android File Transfer, my Garmin Express was broken – could not connect to my 945 for anything. I had to have Garmin walk me through multiple steps of deleting in the Mac OS Library and doing a clean install to get Garmin Express working again. That experience makes me hesistant to try this over again.

    Do you regularly use swim workout files on your Garmin you have copied from this website? What’s the experience like? What’s the experience lacking?


    Yeah it didn’t work for me either initially – the key is turning Garmin Express off completely in the menu bar.

    I was able to copy files from the workout library to the watch yes.

    As for swimming, I swim like a brick that has a heavy weight chained to it, so I don’t do it 🙂

    David Warden

    Ted, thanks for the update and bad news. I’m a little suspect on this answer from Garmin, as the Workout Library is our #2 landing page with thousands of downloads every day. You and Martin are the first to report this to me, and I’m sure almost half of our athletes are Mac users. I wonder if it is a combination of new software from Mac and new software from Garmin that when combined introduce the issue, so only a certain % of users are seeing this now but eventually all will see it.

    I would not disregard the older device option. If it really is an update to the newer devices, since Garmin is not updating the older models they won’t have this issue. Seems cheaper to buy a 925 than a PC to maintain the sync.

    Another option: some Garmin devices store 200 workouts, most just store 20. But, if you have a device that stores 200, you can download the entire swim library just once and then you’ll have it forever on that device.

    Finally, the last option is to create the workouts manually in your own Garmin Connect. Yuck, but possible. You’d just have to do that once.



    Hi Ted,
    For the structure swim workouts, we check them on TP on the phone/Laptop and then write them down on our hand with a pen. It has worked for years and no apps needed.
    We have also used a Ziplock bag and a piece of paper with the session inside and it sticks pretty well to the wall on your swim lane.
    Hope this helps.


    Thanks. Garmin had told me that my 945 would connect properly to a Chromebook for a .fit workout file transfer, unlike the problem I am encountering that Garmin confirmed for MacOS. So I tried that on my kid’s school chromebook. Sure enough it does mount, and copying files appears to work in the chromebook UX. I say “appears” because then the problem is that my 945 brings up an error that it has too many workouts on the device already to add any more, so actually the copy does not work, and I couldn’t get a swim workout file on the 945 by copying it. The bugs in the all of this are like nothing I have ever encountered. So, I finally gave up on that. And last night I just recreated every workout for my training plan in Garmin Connect (web.) It took time, but now I have all the swim workouts I need built right into Garmin Connect and can easily schedule them for any day. I have done a couple of structured workouts on my Garmin so far, and I have to say I really like the watch counting the laps and reminding me (via vibration) when I am on my final lap of an interval, and counting down my rest intervals. Like the structured run and bike workouts, I just need the motivation to push “start” and then I just have to follow the instructions (like having a coach standing next to me saying “go”), not continue to tell myself what to do next and when.

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