Combining Trainer Road structured training with Garmin Smart watch metrics

This is a general question for anyone else who uses Trainer Road programs and also Garmin smart watches.

I have been doing structured training for some years and am comfortable with the TSS etc I am currently experiencing in a High Volume plan, but having recently bought a Garmin smart watch, it is unimpressed and is saying I am either Unproductive/Overreaching/Strained etc…

So for any other Gamin Smart watch users (that also use Trainer Road plans), do you ignore the metrics?

Some of the information is useful, but not Training Status.


Make sure your HR, FTP, and power zones are set correctly on your Garmin watch.

Unproductive means your estimated VO2 Max is decreasing. That’s normal if you’re new to Garmin as it can initially overestimate your VO2 Max. You can ignore this one for now.

Overreaching means your training load is higher than they think you’re capable of. Can also ignore for now since you’re newer to Garmin. The upper bound will quickly rise if you keep it up so you won’t get this status anymore.

Strained means that your HRV is unbalanced, that can be early signaling of overtraining or an illness once you have set a solid HRV baseline. But again, if it’s a newer watch, you might not have enough long term HRV data for this to be relevant (yet).

So you can ignore these statuses for now. But once you get more training data in Garmin they should become more relevant.

Are you dual recording with your watch, or just syncing the activity from TrainerRoad to Garmin?


Thanks for the reply. I dual record to Garmin connect and also TR and then delete any duplicates.
I will persevere

I ignore it for the most parts. It’s one of the most “demotivating” feature from Garmin that I hear the most feedback about. :-p


I wear a Garmin Forerunner 255 watch and have a Garmin 530 head unit and when it comes to cycling, they never align, neither indoors nor out. The watch doesn’t do a very good job with heart rate and always reads lower when cycling than my head unit which reads from a chest strap.


I ignore all Garmin metrics, they are useless, inaccurate and inconsistent.


I only get told my training is productive if I do threshold or vo2 max workouts. Everything else is unproductive


I ignore fhe garmin metrics and use to get a better idea of where I’m at.


Similar, I dual record with my Edge. I keep all Garmin data in the Garminsphere, push ride data to direct from the app (I’m currently using Rouvy)


I just got a new Venu 3 and Im not impressed with any of its HR related abilities. It is no where close on heart rate, even if I shave my wrist and wear it so tight that it cuts off my circulation. I wear my rythym 24 on the same arm and during V02 work my HR will be in the 160’s and the Garmin says 80. So if if it cant measure my HR correctly how can it possibly do HRV?


Garmin metrics work pretty reliable for me. But I ignore all metrics outside of my own senses. Just entertaining to look at.

I have only seen strained or over training once in years of being on Garmin, that was recently. I ride/run 20 hours a week.

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With garmin, I’ve noticed if you get up once in the middle of the night. You’ll most likely get a fair or poor sleep score. The HRV score will be low even if I feel fine. That’s when I realized listening to my body is better than garmin at the moment.


Overall, I find my Garmin Epix Gen 2 useful as one indictor. I consider its metrics along with how I feel, and the intensity/duration/quality of my recent workouts. I’m 66 years old and these metrics help me to optimize my fitness. The Garmin works becuase I use an HR strap and have adjusted the watch’s HR & Power zones, and FTP. The auto-detect HR and Power zones were too low. It’ll underestimate your FTP unless you do a high-intensity 20-minute ride, so I just enter the AI FTP from TR. I check Garmin’s various metrics (resting HR, HRV overnight and balance, 4-week training load, and load focus; and to a lesser degree: recovery time and training readiness). Recovery time is the least useful metric. DC Rainmaker (YouTube) mentioned that recovery time estimates the recovery time needed for next high-intensity workout to be productive (so should be ignored when planning your next zone 2 workout). Recovery time has a big impact on training readiness, which is why is find those two metrics least useful. The metrics seem to become a bit more accurate with continued use of the watch. The first six weeks of metrics are less accurate than later.

I sold all my Garmin stuff (several watches, edge 530&830) and just kept speed sensor and Varia.
Ober about 4y I still cant believe hoe inacurate and full of jugs their devices are - as a market leader?! And the metrics were modtly useless or even demotivating. Now I habe a Karoo2 and am happy about the great navigation and otherwise simple&clean set of functions.

My advise: Do not take Garmin serious and do not rely on their interpretation of data.

I have nothing to add on the Garmin question but wanted to say I love this phrasing and am planning to steal it

I’m about to go experience some threshold intervals :grin:


I say it how it is, and I have no hesitation in tweaking my FTP/Zones down if necessary. Structured training can be crushing

I find the general metrics of my Garmin 245 alright to be honest. I don’t have the issue of getting up once (or twice!) effecting my sleep score. It’s really useful for the resting heart rate. Body battery generally matches how I feel.

Wrist heart rate I find fine for walking/ running and easy bikes - pretty much anything but hard efforts inside on the bike. I’ve always put that down to how I hold the bars (probably over gripping tbh).

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Got a F7. RHR and HRV track my life pretty well. Unfortunately often for me both are only trailing metrics, i.e., they react once I am already feeling sick. For confirming when I might be back to normal they seem better suited.

Watching performance condition during riding confirms me when to deal it down or go home. The initial popup value is rather useless (often changes drastically right after), but I have it continuousely on screen.

The other metrics I found pretty useless.