1. Garmin Coach vs. Daily Suggested Workouts
  2. Key difference #1: Availability
  3. Key difference #2: Goal distance
  4. Key difference #3: Planning and structure
  5. Key difference #4: Workout type
  6. Key difference #5: Feedback
  7. Which should you use?

Garmin Coach vs. Daily Suggested Workouts: Five key differences explained

Plus, Garmin gives us the lowdown on who should use which mode
Wareable Garmin Coach vs. Daily Suggestions
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Garmin is relentlessly adding new features to its stable of running watches around the year - and the only downside is that sometimes these additions can begin to converge. 

The crossover between Garmin Coach and Garmin's Daily Suggested Workouts represents the perfect example of this issue. Both are excellent features when used correctly, but there are some key things to understand before you dive in and employ one to run your training.

‌That's why we made this comparison guide.

Below, you'll find an explanation of both features, five major differences between them, and advice on which is best for your goal race distance.

Garmin Coach vs. Daily Suggested Workouts

WareableGarmin More Daily Suggestions

Before we get into some of the differences between these features, let's first define them. 

Garmin senior product manager Rich Robinson told Wareable:

"Garmin’s Suggested Workouts will give a daily suggestion based on activity levels to create a balanced fitness profile – i.e. if you’re doing extensive zone 4 workouts, the watch may suggest some lower impact workouts to train in a lower heart zone, thereby balancing your training load."

"Garmin Coach, on the other hand, is a personalized adaptive workout plan whereby users choose one of three coaches in the Garmin Connect app to help bring them along in their running journey."

Now, let's get into the main differences to be aware of.

Key difference #1: Availability

While these two features have now been rolled out to most of Garmin's lineup - meaning you can likely access both - neither feature is available on every Garmin. 

We won't clog things up by listing every compatible device, but a list of watches that support Garmin Coach and Garmin devices that provide Daily Suggested Workouts are available on the company's support pages, which we've linked to.

Key difference #2: Goal distance

We'll explore this more in the section below, but not every running race distance is covered in Garmin Coach.

While there are plans for 5K, 10K, and half marathon distances, the marathon isn't included as an option in the plans from the three coaches. 

That forces you down the suggested workout path, where you can receive insights no matter your goal.

In our experience using suggestions, setting up the Race Widget feature is essential for ensuring workouts align with your overarching goal and feel truly personalized. 

As a standalone feature, we think you're unlikely to see the same progress you would from a targeted Garmin Coach plan - especially if you're focused on an endurance event like the half marathon.

Key difference #3: Planning and structure

WareableGarmin running Daily Suggestions

With Garmin Coach, you know what you're signing up to from the start. The plan will ask you for your event date and then adapt based on the coach, experience, and the workouts you complete. 

Once you begin, you'll notice orange indicators automatically populate in the Garmin Connect Calendar tab. Coach takes the thinking out of planning workout days and works to space these out evenly. 

In our time with Coach plans, we've found them to generally be good at not loading you up on back-to-back days or providing too much rest time. Allowing you to pick which days you can perform longer workouts is also a neat touch. Yet, it's also not perfect.

You can't reschedule a Coach workout on the day it's supposed to take place, which is a nuisance if something pops up at the last minute and prevents you from completing it. Others may simply prefer to strike only when their readiness score is high.

Daily Suggested Workouts are less rigid.

You'll always receive one no matter your time commitments or readiness (though you may be advised to rest), which may be handy for some users. The major downside here is that you can only look at suggestions for the next seven days. 

Plus, with these suggestions based on myriad factors - your Training Status, Training Load & Focus, sleep data, recovery hours, VO2 Max, and recent workouts - they are always changing.

More negotiation is required, as a result, as you balance your body's daily feel with what Garmin has interpreted this as.

Key difference #4: Workout type

WareableGarmin Daily Suggestions

Garmin Coach and Daily Suggested Workouts both serve runners and cyclists, so you don't have to worry about missing out there. 

However, they are still a bit different. Firstly, you can't be on a running and cycling Coach plan at the same time, whereas you can receive personalized cycling and running suggestions each day and select which you prefer. 

Coach plans will also provide very different workouts. These depend greatly on your coach - Jeff Galloway, for example, will have you following the Run-Walk-Run method throughout his plans - whereas daily suggestions will be a lot more formulaic. 

A Garmin Coach plan is best if you like structured workouts that vary in time and sets.

Key difference #5: Feedback

Daily suggestions won't provide any feedback on your long-term progress, which means we've often relied heavily on the Race Predictor feature when following them to ensure we're trending in the right direction. 

It's doable - and we've used this method to train accurately for a marathon, but we do know that some Garmin users find the Race Predictor to be very optimistic about their ability. Our only suggestion there is to keep running; our predictions are now much more accurate than when we first began using the feature.

Ultimately, this means Garmin Coach is a better pick for those who want proper feedback. 

You're not getting proper, personalized coaching suggestions, though the confidence score (available if you select a goal pace) ensures you can always check how you're faring on the plan and whether you're likely to hit your target on race day.

Which should you use?

WareableGarmin Coach

Garmin Coach and Suggested Workouts may take some of the legwork out of planning workouts and reaching your goal, but, as illustrated above, they are still quite different propositions.

Robinson tells us Garmin Coach is ideally suited to those who want a structure to reach a specific goal - unless you're training for the marathon, in which case he recommends using the Race Widget and suggestions.

So, if you're a beginner whose goal is to simply finish a 5K or 10K race, Garmin Coach can get you there with workouts that adjust to your progress level with feedback available along the way.

It can also be very handy for intermediates gunning for a specific time in the core race distances.

However, if you prefer a more flexible approach to training that aligns with your readiness factors - or some loose marathon training -  we recommend sticking to Daily Suggested Workouts.

How we test

Conor Allison


Conor joined Wareable in 2017, quickly making a name for himself by testing out language translation earbuds on a first date, navigating London streets in a wearable airbag, and experiencing skydiving in a VR headset.

Over the years, he has evolved into a recognized wearables and fitness tech expert. Through Wareable’s instructional how-to guides, Conor helps users maximize the potential of their gadgets, and also shapes the conversation in digital health and AI hardware through PULSE by Wareable.

As an avid marathon runner, dedicated weightlifter, and frequent hiker, he also provides a unique perspective to Wareable’s in-depth product reviews and news coverage.

In addition to his contributions to Wareable, Conor’s expertise has been featured in publications such as British GQ, The IndependentDigital Spy, Pocket-lint, The Mirror, WIRED, and Metro.

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