Training for anything without a benchmark is a tricky concept, we just don’t know if we are progressing and more importantly, what we need to work on. I was gifted by the lovely people at Garmin a new Garmin Forerunner 945 to review as I tend to be doing a variety of multi-sport activities, but the biggest thing I wanted to try out was the triathlon option. I am doing 12 in 12 challenges which is taking me on a crazy sporting journey across a multitude of activities – this Garmin Forerunner 945 is the watch to take me through that!
The Garmin Forerunner 945 is dubbed a premium running watch, which granted it is, but it does so much more than just running. What you’re about to read is the basic gist of this watch, but I’ll highlight what extras it does that others just don’t. Before I go on, I just have to say as a self-confessed tech geek I’ve tested out lots of fitness trackers and running gadgets and this right here is the best by a mile. Whilst I’m not the most tech-savvy person and more of a casual gadget user, I’d strongly suggest checking out someone like DC Rainmaker for a detailed breakdown, but if you want the basics from my perspective, read on!
Let’s start by observing how this watch looks. It’s a bit chunkier than other Garmin options (47 x 47 x 13.7 mm), comes in two colour choices with its silicone strap, black and blue. I was using the black one. In the box of the watch only you get the following.
- Forerunner 945 GPS watch
- Charging cable
Garmin also offers a tri bundle which is more costly, and I’d say is perhaps aimed at a more serious athlete who is continually doing triathlons. For me, the watch worked perfectly as whilst I do triathlons and I’m training for a 70.3, I’m not constantly doing it or aiming to qualify for Kona!
I have found the battery life to be fantastic, in fact, I would probably buy this watch based on that alone. I never charge a device unless the battery is super low, which often took a fair while to happen.
Smartwatch Mode: Up to 2 weeks
GPS mode with music: Up to 10 hours
GPS mode without music: Up to 36 hours
It’s pretty impressive actually and I would confidently say it lasted longer than these official battery life guidelines. Ideal when we have those long bike training sessions to get in before races, you know your watch has plenty of juice to keep going.
Before I dive into what I’m using this watch for, it was a happy surprise to discover it pretty much tracks anything you can think of. I love to do yoga but then I also love to go stand up paddleboarding – this watch tracks that. It logs all the necessities such as your heart rate, but delightfully captures GPS if you’re phone has its location allowed. Quite funny to see, especially if you do SUP in the sea, it’ll track your crazy routes we take on the ocean! I used this more on a multi-activity basis when I recently visited Greece on a Mark Warner press trip to Paleros, I got a chance to use this watch not only running or cycling but for SUP, sailing and sea kayaking.
Triathlon on Garmin
One of the main reason I was drawn to the Garmin Forerunner 945 was the triathlon feature (also swim-run setting), this would allow me to completely track my triathlon race times including transitions. Start the watch on the triathlon setting as you enter the water, then press again as you get out the water and head to transition, then press again when you’re out of transition onto the bike and so forth. So simple, but amazing to gather all your data. It made me realise how much ‘faffing’ I did on the swim to the bike part! More brick session training for me…
If it’s not on Strava it doesn’t count?! Or something like that! Fear not Garmin Forerunner 945 links up to all your necessities, so that includes, Strava, Garmin Connect, Fitbit.
Pay on the go with Garmin Pay
A great touch to the watch is the fact have Garmin Pay, meaning if you forget your wallet and have preloaded your bank details, you can spend. Also if I’m honest this was super handy when I was out on a run or a cycle and didn’t fancy squeezing my bank card into my pocket. I’ve previously lost my card doing that, so this made those customary coffee shop stops far better!
Music to go with Spotify
One of the huge bonuses of the Garmin Forerunner 945 is the built-in Spotify where you can pre-load up to 1000 tracks. Simply pair up your blue tooth headphones and you can run without stuffing your mobile into your tiny pocket, or in my case sports bra! Seriously so clever and far easier. You do need a premium account to indulge in this luxury though.
For someone who has just trained without really monitoring my heart rate other than watching it from a resting health perspective, this seriously helped me look into it further for training better. I was really impressed with the measurement of my heart rate throughout the day and during exercise. The Garmin Forerunner 945 gives you your VO2 max and adjusts the value based on heat and altitude. I was mighty impressed when I was on holiday and inevitably the temperature was higher, my watch prompted me as soon as I had acclimatised. A great addition because that would mean I’d be training to the same standard as I would at home regardless of the environment change.
Training on the right track
Again another area I’d not really considered which has really been helping me train far more efficiently is training load focus. This has prompted me to ensure I allow enough recovery time, look at the type of training I was favouring such as aerobic over anaerobic, and the training effects it was having.
It is also important to note with the great heart rate tracking the Garmin Forerunner 945 has, shows what training zone you are currently working in based on your heart rate. This has been fantastic for me to ensure I am not constantly going too hard and that I am diversifying my training. I won’t go into full detail but in swimming, it tracks your stroke and stroke efficiency, but in running it logs everything from cadence to stride. It really can help you maintain and develop.
Monthly cycle tracking
I was impressed that it helped track your menstrual cycle. As someone who is quite irregular, I could easily log my monthly cycles and see if I was on track. It explained what phases I was at during the different parts of the month too, and I could add in how I was feeling at that point, i.e. bloated, tired, moody etc.
A big thing I loved about the Garmin Forerunner 945 is the safety aspect. I’m doing a lot of winter training and as I prefer a morning run in the woods, I’m going to be in the dark on my own. That isn’t exactly the most safe feeling as you’re vulnerable due to lack of light, so Garmin has a built-in safety button. This allows you to share your location with chosen contacts in case you need assistance for any reason. It also has maps so you don’t get lost – always handy for people like me who have no sense of direction!
I’m so incredibly happy with my Gramin Forerunner 945 I’ve only been using it for a few months, but what have used I have loved! This has changed my training for the better and I cannot wait for it to push me to finish my 12 in 12 to the best I can.
*This Garmin Forerunner 945 was gifted.