Garmin: Steps

The Garmin Vivosmart HR+ (VS HR+) is the perfect fitness watch because it measures GPS, Heart Rate, steps, Intensity Minutes, floors, and pace. The purpose of this post is to explain workarounds for things that the Vivosmart HR+ does less than perfectly.

Getting Exact Credit for the Distance You Go

  • Problem: The Garmin VS HR+ may adjust your stride whenever you start a GPS activity. While the intention is good, Garmin might miscalculate your stride. Your stride is the distance you walk divided by the steps you took.
  • Solution: Calculate your own stride. Here is how to set your stride:
  • The most likely annoyance with a Garmin stride is when it conflicts with your treadmill’s display. You probably want the distance on your VS HR+ to match the distance displayed on your treadmill.
  • You set your walking stride by clicking the image of your watch that Garmin Connect shows in the upper right corner. Click “Devices and Sync,” click the VS HR+ if you have a choice of devices, click “Device Settings,” click “User Settings,” click “Custom Stride Length.”
  • Assume that you walk 2,000 steps per mile (5,280 feet). Start with this setting. Save it.
  • Start your treadmill at its slowest speed and begin walking. Start a Garmin walking activity. Correct your treadmill to your normal walking speed. Every mile, compare the distances on your watch and treadmill. If these are identical, you are finished. If your treadmill shows a greater distance, then decrease your “User Setting” by 10 steps per mile.  If your treadmill shows a lesser distance, then increase your “User Setting” by 10 steps per mile. Resync your watch for the change to take effect.
  • Continue to adjust your walking stride until your VS HR+ and treadmill show the same distances.
  • Setting your own stride is one of the Top 10 Garmin Fails. While this post tells you how to do it, you should not set your stride. Your Garmin watch will use your stride even when much better data are available. For instance, if you select a GPS activity, your VS HR+ will use your stride rather than the GPS to calculate your distance. The reason that you purchased the VS HR+ was that you wanted the GPS and the HRM. Do not enter a personal stride into your VS HR+ if you have any desire to use GPS to calculate your walks and runs.
  • Conclusion: Your Garmin will estimate your stride whenever you walk outdoors with the GPS on. Depending on interference with buildings, this estimate may be incorrect. You can set your own stride. Your stride will be permanent, not affected by any future GPS walks. Your correct stride might be one that matches the distances on your watch and your treadmill. Your stride will be a Top 10 Garmin Fail as your watch will not use true GPS distances when you force your VS HR+ to use your estimated stride.

Tags: Garmin; Vivosmart; HR+; TrueUp; step count; stride; recording an exercise; edit the exercise data; Top 10 Garmin Fail.