Last time we chatted about the Timex Global Trainer (TGT) was way before Kona and Pete Jacobs taking the pro men’s title. The hot topic was what was in the box and how it appeals to that kid at Christmas type of triathlete we all are with new gear.
It’s time to go to the next level. How does this piece of GPS hardware handle the day in and day out demands of weekend warriors to competitive age groupers?
Setup is fairly straight forward, although you might have to do some hunting in the internet to find answers to common problem you might face. The watch comes with a quick start manual. If you want the complete soup to nuts of the operational features of the TGT, then you will have to hit up Timex.com for the complete user manual. You have to be able to view adobe PDF’s and take time to sit down at your computer, but overall it’s less manuals and papers taking up space at your house.
PRIORITY #1, update the firmware. Get your device agent downloaded from Timex to be able to access your unit from your PC and update the firmware. If you tweak your TGT settings and change other features, the firmware update will erase your settings when rebooted.
BUT, there’s the handiness of the Device Agent. When you have all of your settings updated and right where you want them, the Deice Agents allows you to download the settings to a file on your computer so that in future firmware updates or failure for some reason, all you do is sync with Device Agent and upload the file. You could use this method before updating firmware, but it’s just safer and more convenient to update the unit first thing.
With the settings, no matter what mode you want to adjust, swimming, biking, running or other, you simply go to the configure screen and all the options are there in a list. No matter what “mode” you are in, all the settings are listed. If you’re impatient, like most triathletes, it’s pretty instinctual to dink with each setting and figure out how to get what you want. Some features require further research as mentioned before, but most are straight forward.
If thumbing through the little screen on the unit trying to figure out screen layouts and modes and settings isn’t your thing, another handy feature of the Device Agent is the ability to adjust settings from your computer. Gone is the trial and error method to go from configure mode to performance mode to see if your setting is what you want. Adjust them all on the DA and hit performance mode and cycle through the modes to see what you ended up with. It will save time and frustration for setting up the TGT.
Navigating the modes of the TGT is also relatively easy. All of the buttons that operate the unit are well marked for each feature they represent. Enter, back, up, down, and more are all clearly marked for no confusion during setup.
You can hit Performance, PC Sync, Review, Navigate, Configure and Multisport modes depending on what you are doing at the time. The mode button is nice and big and you can’t miss it. It does take some getting used to if you have to round the horn if you missed the mode you want. Impatience does not pay off when cycling through to your desired modes. Remember that speed is not a good thing when adjusting your settings.
From configure mode, you can adjust sensors for heart rate, speed on the bike, cadence and more. You can set up your profile, power zones, heart rate zones and recovery zones. It’s all there and nothing really earth shattering. You will need firmware updates for some sensors to work, but they will work with your Garmin gear and most other ANT+ devices, which is nice.
Going through the setup, you can spend 15 minutes and go, or over an hours and fine tune your TGT for what you want out of it. The beauty of the unit is that it serves a lot of different types of endurance athletes.
The first dive into using the TGT is in the pool, pun intended.
Some items of note are that heart rate monitors are not really going to work, as with most GPS units that can go into the pool. But, at least the TGT is water proof to hit the pool with. The rumor is that Polar makes a strap that can be read under water, but we hit a snag that may make that not very realistic.
The setup of the TGT buttons make for an awkward situation when performing training or activities that cause a bend in the wrist that may put pressure on the side buttons. Why is this a problem? The buttons are sensitive and with the stop button being on the bottom right, and for those that choose to wear the watch on the left wrist, it can easily result in turning off the crono mode to record training data while swimming in the pool. It happened a couple of different times. The TGT does have a lock button feature to lock out all button pushes, but if you are running laps for drills, it’s not very convenient. The workaround that worked best was to take the watch off and lay it pool side so avoid pushing the wrong button and enable it for lap tracking. It may make you uncomfortable to sit your high dollar GPS watch pool side, but hopefully your pool has a high class membership and theft is not an issue.
With the TGT, there are no current options to track indoor swimming with laps. The swimming mode will track time and laps, and distance needs to be adjusted later when uploading the data to analyze.
One item to note as well is the unique feature of the performance mode of the TGT. Within performance, you cycle up through the windows to find the swim display. You must start with this window open in order for the TGT to record the data as a swim. Failing to do so will result in the workout being logged as something else and possibly some data not being recorded. This issue will be brought up in the bike review at a later time.
Once data recording starts, you can then cycle though the performance windows to see other data. This may not be important for the swim feature, but it would be for biking and running for heart rate and cadence. Be aware though, you can only use the up arrow as using the down arrow will result in data recording being stopped. The button doubles as stop and the down arrow in different features. Do not make the mistake of using the down arrow while recording data. From experience, it’s no fun realizing you lost 30 minutes of data from swimming drills.
The most useful setup was to run the event time and lap time on a split screen view. This allows the use of lap tracking for swim sets at a certain interval while watching the overall workout time. Adding more than 2 views to the swim view will results in smaller text that’s difficult to read wearing goggles and quick viewing between laps. This is pretty standard when compared to other GPS watch setups for swimming. It’s better than a standard stop watch to have multiple stat views and allows tracking of laps and splits to analyze later on Training Peaks.
Check back in the near future when we go over the bike and run features of the TGT!
*Writer’s note, Timex provided the TGT unit for this review and in no way influenced this review.
Stay tuned as we get into the guts of the TGT with heart rate sensors, bike sensors, foot pods, using it for training, data downloads, analyzing data and more!
Ryan Falkenrath writes the blog falkeetriathlon.blogspot.com, married father of two young kids, owner of two dogs and trying to balance life, work and multisport. Ryan has participated in multisport events since 2001 from 5k's to Half Ironmans. Ryan is also the Kansas City Endurance Sports Examiner and you can read more of his triathlon thoughts HERE and he collects race reviews at www.Triathlon-Reviews.blogspot.com. Contact Ryan at: email@example.com or follow him on @TriJayhawkRyan.
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