Timex Ironman Watch: Interval Timer Mode

Every now and then we will take a closer look at a features of the Timex Ironman Watch. In this article we look at a specialized training feature called Interval Timer Mode.

The optional Interval Timer Mode, is an alternating countdown system. When one countdown interval timer interval ends, an alert sounds and the next interval starts.

It is one of the more complicated features of the Ironman watches that few people really understand how to use to it’s full potential, but a little time invested into learning to use it properly and there are some truly wonderful benefits for activities that require repetitive timed periods such as interval training.

I attempt to keep this information as general as possible, but there are many Ironman watches so this information might not apply precisely to your particular model.

To use Interval Timer Mode, take the following steps.

  1. First, navigate to Interval Timer Mode by pressing the MODE button repeatedly until the words “Interval Timer” are displayed on the screen.When selecting a fresh Interval Timer, “int 1″ will be displayed. The number of slots available varies from model to model. My Timex Datalink watch has 10, but 10 is on the higher end. Most Ironmans have two or three.
  2. Use STOP/RESET (-) or START/SPLIT (+) to cycle through the available timers.
  3. Press NEXT to set a timer. The value of the timer will flash.
  4. While the number is flashing, pressing next again will cycle through units (hours, minutes, seconds), STOP/RESET (-) or START/SPLIT (+) will change the values
  5. When you are done, press NEXT again and you’ll be prompted on what to do at the end of the current interval. The standard options are:“stop at end” (the session will finish when all timers expire)
    “repeat at end” (the session will repeat over and over)
  6. When you are done, press DONE to confirm and exit.
  7. Now navigate to interval 2 and repeat the process until all the timers are set up the way you want them.To un-set a timer, set all it’s value to 0 and it will be ignored. This even applies if there are gaps in the sequence. For example if you assign values to int 1 and int 3, but set int 2 to 0, when int 1 expires, int 3 will start next.

Running the Interval Timers

  • When you are ready to begin your interval session press START/LAP to start the timer. You can exit Interval Timer Mode and the timer will continue to run.
  • When the timer for int 1 reaches zero, an alarm will chime in to notify you that it has run it’s course. If you configured any other of the interval timers, the next highest one will start at this point.
  • The sequence of timers will run until the last (non-zero) timer has run it’s course. The sequence will repeat or stop depending on your settings.

You may stop the session at any time by pressing STOP/RESET.

The Interval Timer in Practice

Interval Timer Mode is a useful tool for athletes wishing to alternate between running and rest periods.

For example if you wish to run for three minutes with a one minute recovery break and do it over and over, you could set int 1 to 3:00 and int 2 to 1:00, with the “repeat at end” option.

It seems that Interval Timer Mode can even be used for less than conventional activities. I read the other day how one runner uses it in all areas of their day-to-day life:

I am in a running group. We use the interval timer so that we can take walk breaks on a regular basis. What we do is set one interval timer for maybe 5 minutes and the second for one minute and repeat both. This allows us to run for 5 minutes then the watch beeps to tell us to walk for one minute.

Since the watch is set to repeat, this cycle of beeping for five minutes, then one minute continues for the duration of the run. You could not do this with the “timer” function because it repeats the one time again and again.

I also use the interval timer for house cleaning. I set one interval timer so that I can work 45 minutes and the second so that I can take a 15 minute break . I do this if I will be working for several hours.

It seems Interval Timer Mode is limited only by your ability to find creative ways to use it. How will you use it?

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