Beating Frank: My Garmin Virtual Training Partner Confession

garmin virtual training partner

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I wish I could say every run was great. That every run was driven by internal goals and motivations and I was unaffected by the daily ups and downs. But that would be a lie.

Somedays I need to pull out some dirty tricks and play them on myself. Make myself feel better by any means necessary.

I’m not proud, but I feel like we can be honest with each other: So here is my confession.

Meet Frank

This is Frank, he is my ‘virtual training partner’ on my Garmin Forerunner 610 smartwatch. He’s the one on top.

garmin virtual training partner
Frank is the one on top

I’m not sure when Frank became Frank. He’s been Frank for my last few Garmins. He goes back at least a half dozen years. I get a new watch, I set up my virtual training partner and I can just imagine Frank sliding over into his new location Tron-style.

The ‘Right’ Way to Use a Virtual Training Partner

The virtual training partner is really a fun little feature. You set your virtual training partner to run at any pace you want. He ‘runs’ at that consistent pace and tells you when you are ahead or behind.


garmin virtual partner
Yeah, I’m ahead!


garmin virtual partner

The little stick figures of you and your virtual partner race. It’s a good way to challenge yourself and have some competition, even when you are running alone.

It also comes in handy when I am pacing a race, although more than once I have forgotten to set the right race pace before the start so I can’t use him.

And Frank is not shy about taunting me and letting me know when he is ahead (a/k/a I am behind).

garmin virtual partner
Frank’s not so subtle way of letting me know he’s winning

My Confession

OK. Are you ready? I hope you don’t think less of me once you know the truth.

On days when I’m totally blah and lacking enthusiasm, I will set Frank to run slow pace just so I know I will beat his little virtual ass.

garmin virtual partner
24:00-minute pace? Frank is running really slow today.

When everything else feels off, when I’m sure that everyone is faster and more qualified than me, I know there is one person in the world that I can beat: Frank.

But it can be a very fine balance. I can’t be so far ahead that I lose sight of him (the stick figures proportionately space out- too far ahead or behind and only one figure is one screen). He needs to stay visible for it to be a really satisfying victory. Otherwise, it’s too easy to think I’m actually behind.

Even though I know that I have totally manipulated him, I still feel better after I win.
Frank my virtual training partner
I’m not proud, but I’m also not sorry. Any trick in the book is fair game as far as I am concerned when you need to find ways to pump yourself up.

Thanks for the pick-me-up Frank. I owe you one.

Sara is a runner, running coach, writer, blogger, and a lover of all things written.

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