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FORM adds structured workouts to smart goggles



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FORM has just announced structured training support for their heads-up goggles. This marks the second major summer update for the glasses, which last summer received swimming support for open water (in combination with a Garmin or Apple Watch).

This new feature allows you to select workouts from a library of structured workouts, then have your glasses go through each step, noticing specified intensity and stroke information — all in real time. This feature is available for all FORM goggles (that is, no new hardware here). However, it̵

7;s a catch: It’s not free. Instead, it requires a monthly (or annual) subscription, which is $ 19.99 / month, or $ 14.99 / month if billed annually (at $ 179 / year). However, the company offers a free 30-day trial to make things a whirl.

We will put the details aside for the moment, but will definitely return to it later in the post. In the meantime, let’s dive into how it works technically from my swim yesterday with it.

How it works:

First and foremost, you get the glasses and the app updated. It only takes a minute or two, and is just as normal. When done, the app gives you an overview of the new features:

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At the bottom of the page you will see a new tab for ‘Training’. This is where you can sift through all the workouts. They have a variety of categories and filters. Everything from a recently added section to the FORM favorites and skill development:

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Or, if you select “All workouts”, you can then filter for another bucket of categories:

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When you open a workout on the app, it will show the details of the workout, including any pool toys needed.

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If there is a drill section, it will also contain further details and a video of how to do exactly that exercise. These are good things, and well thought out:

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From there, you can choose to add a workout to your glasses. Up to 5 workouts can be stored on the glasses at the same time. I added a few for the limited time I was allocated by the pool:

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With that, it went to the pool I went to. Now it is almost impossible to take a picture of the inside of the screen with glasses in bright sunlight given the way the screen is. The good news is that FORM has a superimposed video that I can steal / create screenshots of and explain how it actually works. As I have said before, the clarity / intent of what you see on these screens actually matches what you see in reality. It’s crazy.

So when you turn on the device, it displays a new “Training Menu”. You press it, and then you can choose the specific training you want:

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Once you have uploaded the workout, it will tell you what to do for each step. Along the bottom you also see a progress bar for the total training. You can see your time at the top and how much distance you have made below.

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For example, in my training yesterday, it was mostly distance-based sets (eg 400m, 300m, etc.). It would count down as I went through the set, and as I approached the end of each set, it would tell me it was the last length.image

For those sets that had no defined rest period, I would then press the front button when I was ready to do the next one.

However, some 50s I did at the end had defined rest time on them. The glasses will then count down, as you can see under “Rest for 4”, actually saying “Rest for 4 … 3… .2 … 1 … Go!”. And then you go.

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All this works well. Just about the only mistake I made was my very first set the very first time, I did not realize I had a break. So I just assumed I was going to go from the warm-up straight into my next set. Thus, I continued to swim. The glasses were not really impressed. They just ignored me and waited to tell me the next steps. Although they actually recorded the correct distance, which I can see afterwards.

When I talk about it, after swimming, I can see my lazy pool workout avoiding 15 other people in my course (not kidding), shown on the app. I can then tap it to see more details. Also note that it shows the exact training name I swam (titled “4, 3, 2, 1 … ‘):

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And of course all this is then pushed to Strava as well, but it would be cool if it pushed the exact training name / title, as TrainerRoad / Peloton does. Right now, it’s just a training graph:

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And with that, there’s everything you need to know. Please note that it is not possible to plan training sessions, or any kind of training plan / system. Just load one-time workouts. Although I have to believe that long term swimming plans will be in the cards. Still, it works super well and was silly-easy to use.

End:

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There is no doubt that everyone is probably thinking the same thing: $ 20 / month (or $ 15 / month annually) is a steep price to pay for swimming sessions. It is at the upper end of monthly prices for training subscription services, and in most other cases the platforms tend to have more sports, far more details around the guided components (such as video or incremental text background), and often also have calendars and feedback after training. For the most part, FORM has none of that. And it also ignores the fact that virtually all portable devices I know have structured training support for free, while it is the plans / training itself that cost money. FORM does not allow you to import workouts from TrainingPeaks or similar. That’s why I think they exceeded the prices here. I had guessed $ 9.99 / month (or $ 7.99 if annual) would have been more appropriate.

But again, I’m also saying that FORM’s goggles seemed to be priced steeply at $ 199 given their features for a relatively small market size. Still, they are still around two years later – with generally good reviews across. Of course, it only tells us that people who made the decision to buy are happy, but does not tell us about the people who did not buy because it was too high.

But aside from pricing, the feature worked technically well. Maybe almost too big. When I exceeded on my first set, it worked like an old old coach and ignored me until I realized my sins. It was just patiently waiting for me to get back to the wall before we started again. I kind of had to laugh, as my watch was like ‘You be swimmin’, I be happy! ”. While FORM everything was “Dumbass, I’m not talking to you until you get back to the wall.”

And when I got it after the first set, and understood how to dispense each serving, it was spot-on. I liked the general training progress at the bottom. And there are definitely more than enough workouts at the library to keep me busy for a while. It takes the most eager Instagram rollers to find the bottom of the list of “All Workouts” in the app. Of course, there are filters for them too – so you can get rid of the things you are not going to swim.

Finally, although I’m not a fan of the price, I’m a fan of the technical implementation of it – and the ease of use. All this worked well.

With that – thank you for reading!

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