Garmin Gary's Tip of the Week: Run/Walk Alert vs Intervals

Although the Run/Walk Alert and a simple Interval are similar, they are not the same. There are plenty of customers asking for a watch that does intervals when what they actually want is one that does the Run/Walk Alert.

What is the difference and why should you care? Here are some of the differences and why you would use one over the other.


  • An Alert is either on or off. Once on, a user would not need to turn this on before every run.
  • There is no need to set how many repetitions you want to do for the Run/Walk (it will be on the entire activity).
  • The Run and Walk portion can be set up only with a Time value (not distance).
  • A Run/Walk Alert will not take a split (lap) each time a run or walk segment starts or ends.
  • Auto Lap will still work (so you can still get your mile splits).



  • It is easiest to think of an Interval as a Workout.
  • A Warm Up and Cool Down can be set up.
  • An Interval and Recovery can be set up with a maximum of 99 repetitions.
  • An Interval can be set up with a Time or Distance value.
  • A split (lap) will be taken for each interval and recovery and stored in the history.
  • An interval will need to be started each time the user wants to perform that workout.
  • A simple Interval has to have the same time or distance for each Interval
    and the same time or distance for each Recovery.

- EX: 10 x .50 with 60 seconds rest

  • Doing an Interval turns off all Alerts (although these can be set in an Advanced Workout).

*NOTE: An advanced workout, which can be set up on many of the watches as well, can have even more settings for the workout. If a user wants to run for 5 minutes and walk for 1 minute for a marathon, what would be the difference between using the Run/Walk Alert and an Interval?

  • A simple Interval can only have 99 repetitions so the user would have to run under 6 hours to finish before the 99 intervals are completed.
  • Using an Interval, there would be 198 splits of 5 minute/1 minute (99 x 5-minute run splits and 99 x 1-minute walk splits).
  • Using the Run/Walk Alert would mean that the user can still get their mile splits and not have to worry about finishing before the Alert stopped.


The bottom line is that if a user is doing a Run/Walk, the Run/Walk Alert is the best option for them. The following watches have the Run/Walk Alert:

  • Garmin Forerunner 10
  • Garmin Forerunner 220
  • Garmin Forerunner 610
  • Garmin Forerunner 620
  • Garmin Forerunner 910xt

Below are examples of a simple and advanced interval workout that can be created either on the watch or on Garmin Connect:


Garmin Workout Example


Garmin Advanced Workout
  • In the above workout, the Warm Up is set to last until the user hits the Lap button.
  • The 3 repeat miles are set to alert the user if their heart rate falls outside of the range of 160-170 bpm and the recovery is until the user hits the Lap button.
  • The 4 repeat quarter miles are set to alert the user if their running cadence falls outside the range of 175-200 steps per minute (spm).
  • The second set of intervals has the recovery last until the user’s heart rate goes below 150 bpm.


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