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Coaches Blog

Smarter than the User

In 2020 during the lockdown, we purchased a new Ford Expedition. To date, it has less than 4,000 miles on it. It was the Max version because… well… because. Every bell and whistle came with it.

I know how to raise and lower the back hatch with a wave of my foot. And that’s about where it ends. Recently my wife and I were talking about all the bells and whistles on many of the new vehicles when it occurred to me that we have driven our Expedition so little that we actually have no idea how many bells and whistles it has.

We have simply not taken the time to fully explore its features. We know it has a backup camera, side-to-side warning, and front camera, but most of these features have been “discovered” without much real exploration.

So what does this have to do with endurance sports?

On April4, 2017, I purchased a Garmin 920 XT. I recorded hundreds of hours of use with that smartwatch. I had it synced with Garmin Connect. It measured my sleep and heart rate (with the accompanying strap) and recorded all that data. I went through not only the original strap but also 5 replacement straps. So it definitely saw quite a bit of use.

I knew how to plug it in to charge and how to start workouts. I even learned to build workouts and sync those to my smartwatch. But I really never fully explored all of its features. Which left my smart watch smarter than me.

I recently had to replace that good old 920XT and purchased its smarter cousin, the 945XT. This one is seriously smarter than me. But this time, I plan to set aside time and learn how to… you know…use the smartwatch as an actual “smart” watch. There are tons of videos on the web with tutorials for using a 945 to its full value. In training, we must perform a workout as prescribed to enjoy the full benefits.

To enjoy the full benefits of a smartwatch, it has occurred to me that it might be wise to approach learning how to use this tool in much the same intentionality as learning how to “bunny-hop” my bike to avoid road obstacles, or change a tire, or the proper stance for a bodyweight squat.

So along with my regular exercise, I am going to dedicate some time to learning the features of my new 945XT via the web so I can use it to its fullest. If you are an athlete, like me, with a smartwatch that is smarter than you, why don’t you come along on this journey? The first step is a Google search away.


Mark Turner (aka Coach MarkT) is a Houston, Texas Metro area based Coach who is a USA Triathlon Level II and Paratriathlon Certified Coach, IRONMAN University Certified Coach,VFS Certified Bike Fitter, and Mental Strengths Performance Coach. Coach MarkT absolutely loves coaching and helping the athletes achieve their dreams. MarkT is also a US Veteran having served in the United States Marine Corps. He is a graduate of the University of Houston Honors College with a Bachelor of Science in Political Science. In addition to endurance sports, his interests include history, science fiction, and cooking. He can be reached at


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