Why Garmin's new update for its Forerunner watches is a gamechanger

There's never been a better time to pick up a Garmin Forerunner, as the watches just got a load of new features

Man running in nature using a Garmin Forerunner watch
(Image credit: Garmin)

Garmin has just announced a big update to its Forerunner line of watches. If you're already using one of these (the Forerunner 45 Plus, for example, makes our best running watches list), now you can get a plethora of all-new, highly advanced metrics to better track your workouts. 

For example, all the Garmin Forerunner watches allow you to take advantage of Garmin's intensity minutes feature – breaking down exactly how much exercise you're doing which contributes to the recommended 150 minutes, even if it's not during a scheduled workout. Garmin takes a look at your heart rate and the steps taken per minute to calculate this. However, the update now allows you to access exactly how and when those minutes were earned, so you can tailor your everyday lifestyle to do more and hit that weekly goal more consistently. 

The new update will also allow you to record the rate and feel of perceived exhaustion, providing a quick and easy workout diary. According to Garmin: "After a workout, an athlete can record how hard it was and how it felt. These subjective ratings are then uploaded to Garmin Connect as part of the activity". When you look back over your training log, you'll see a quick note on how tough you found the workout. 

However, it's the next point that's a real gamechanger, especially for trail runners and hikers. Previously, VO2 max recordings on the watches didn't take into account your body dealing with difficult terrain or tough footing, instead just recording a lower rate of exertion. Now, you can receive a more accurate reading when you select a "run" activity profile, giving you a more accurate view of your all-terrain fitness. You have been misled or disheartened by your previous VO2 max result during off-road runs: but with the most recent update, you can get the full picture of your progress. 

Garmin Forerunner update: Which watches can I get it on?


(Image credit: Garmin)

The update is available on  Forerunner 245Forerunner 245 MusicForerunner 745 and Forerunner 945 GPS running smartwatches, now available through a free software update by pairing your watch with the Garmin Connect app. In addition, the update will also come with other goodies depending on the model you currently own. 

The Garmin Forerunner 245s will receive on-device, daily workout suggestions based on metrics such as your training history, fitness level and recovery time. Meanwhile, extra features for the Forerunner 745 and Forerunner 945 include more advanced sleep features by Firstbeat Analytics, including a simplified sleep score and sleep insights based on your shut-eye's quality and quantity. 

The Ultrarun activity profile now comes with a "rest timer", handy for aid stations or even just stopping off to grab a drink of water, while additional animations on the watch's screen provide easy-to-follow workout advice on cardio, strength or yoga workouts. 

What does this mean for people who don't own a Garmin? Simply put, there's never been a better time to pick one up, as a host of new features have just been introduced. Check out our best cheap Garmin watches deals for more info.

Matt Evans

Matt Evans is an experienced health and fitness journalist and is currently Fitness and Wellbeing Editor at TechRadar, covering all things exercise and nutrition on Fit&Well's tech-focused sister site. Matt originally discovered exercise through martial arts: he holds a black belt in Karate and remains a keen runner, gym-goer, and infrequent yogi. His top fitness tip? Stretch.