I recently had the opportunity to test out a cool new piece of gear during my training for IRONMAN Florida- the FORM Smart Swim Goggles. The technology has been around for a few years, but I was experimenting with a brand new feature that just rolled out a few months ago- the FORM goggle integration with Training Peaks.
The benefit is that instead of picking a workout from the FORM library, you can upload a workout from your coach directly into your goggles! How they accomplish this with some type of AI magic is beyond me, but I was eager to see how well it worked, and if I liked using the goggles in the first place…
FORM goggles are unique because they use an augmented reality display in the eyepiece to provide real-time swim metrics. Typically, when you swim with a watch, you can see your pace at the end of each lap. But with this technology, you can see up to nine different swim metrics, like distance, pace, and stroke rate while you swim. Then, you can check out a detailed analysis in the FORM app post-workout.
The goggles arrived in a hard-sided carrying case with a magnetic charging cable and a mount clip for a heat rate sensor. Included were several interchangeable nose bridges.
The display can be worn on the right or left eye and (although I don’t need this) it’s worth mentioning that the display is visible for people with prescriptions up to -3.
The Set Up
The set up was pretty painless. First, I downloaded the FORM app and set up an account. Then, I synced it with my workout apps like Strava and Training Peaks. Apparently, the goggles also pair with Garmin and Apple watches for open water swims.
The FORM app also has its own feed, so you can follow and see the workouts of other swimmers. Currently, I’m following professional triathletes like Emma Pallant-Browne, Skye Moench, and Lionel Sanders!
When you open the dashboard, the app will try to locate the goggles so they can sync. The dashboard is also where you can view the battery life of the goggles (up to 16 hours), swim plan, imported workouts, saved workouts, and workout history.
The goggles come with a 1-year free trial of their premium features, which includes access to 1,500+ workouts and 30+ training plans with different triathlon distances. Also, there’s a workout builder where you can create your own and, most importantly, Training Peaks integration for importing workouts from your coach.
For those who aren’t familiar with Training Peaks, it’s a popular training app where a coach can upload workouts, set schedules, and monitor training progress by looking at all of your metrics like heart rate, power, and pace. The FORM library of workouts is great, but honestly I want to use the workouts my coach has created for me, so I was excited to see how this integration works.
Once you connect Training Peaks to the FORM app, all your swim workouts within a nine-day period are automatically uploaded into My Imports as drafts. You pick a workout, check the draft to make sure everything imported properly, and approve it. Then, it’s automatically sent to your goggles.
Most coaches write swim workouts in the TP description box in a type of shorthand, so I wasn’t sure how the text translation into the FORM workout structure was going to work.
But honestly, it worked amazingly well! I was very surprised with how seamlessly my coach’s workout transferred to the app, and the accuracy was pretty spot on.
The next thing you need to do is go to the My Goggles section where you can pick the metrics you’d like to see while you’re swimming. I didn’t want to see a bunch of distracting numbers, so I removed everything except for the swim screen and rest screen.
While I was swimming, I wanted the goggles to display a workout timer on the top and to toggle between pace per 100 and distance of the current interval on the bottom. On the rest screen, I wanted it to show the interval timer on the top and the pace per 100 of the last interval and distance of the last interval on the bottom.
All that’s left was to go swim!
Once I got to the pool and turned the goggles on, I used the side buttons to scroll through a few tabs until I got to My Imports, which is the Training Peaks workouts are located.
The cool part is that AI and motion sensors in the goggles detect stroke type and turns, so you don’t have to push any buttons at the end of each set. The goggles automatically start recording when they sense head movement and stop recording when you hit the wall.
To tell the truth, I thought I wasn’t going to like seeing metrics while I was swimming, because I prefer to enjoy the experience of being in the water. However, the display is fairly unobtrusive and appears only in the bottom corner of your vision.
When you get ready to start a set, the description your coach listed shows up in the display, so you know what you’re supposed to do. For example, it might read 400 FR RPE 5, w/buoy. If there’s a rest interval, once you get to the wall, the rest timer will automatically start and show you the instructions for the next set.
As a little test, I wore my Garmin watch for the workout and hit the lap button at the end of each set, just to compare pace accuracy between the two devices, since the goggles would automatically be sensing when I was stopped. It was pretty spot on, and most of the time showed the same pace.
The fact that the goggles show the distance of my current interval is a GAME CHANGER for me. In doing all these long swims for IM FL, I often have sets between 500-800. I cannot, for the life of me, count laps. I always end up getting distracted, forgetting what lap I’m on, and swim too far. (My coach has noticed this on several occasions…)
This feature of the goggles is amazing! For example, if I’m swimming 400, every time I hit the wall and turn around, the display counts down by 50, so I know exactly how far I have left to swim. The goggles even pop up with an inspirational messages on the last lap like, “Last lap, finish strong!”
The goggles are comfortable, don’t require a lot of suction to stay put, and don’t leak. My one critique is that the flat face of the eyepiece is where the best water visibility is. I think, because I’m a triathlon swimmer, I tend to look a bit more forward in the water, instead of looking down toward the bottom of the pool. When my gaze drifted too far forward, I would look through the top portion of the eyepiece, which made the water appear a bit blurry. However, the display was never affected.
My husband, Matt, calls these my Terminator goggles, because the display is located on the side and provides an unique appearance. You’d think this might make them heavy, but don’t feel any different than a normal pair of goggles.
Overall, I enjoyed using these goggles A LOT more than I thought I would, and the Training Peaks integration worked great. It was like magic! Matt can’t wait to try them out, so now we will have to share!
I have a bit of underwater footage we captured during a swim, so stay tuned to @thetriplethreatlife on Instagram for an upcoming reel showing how I use the goggles while training for IM FL.