A customer favourite in the wearable tech market, Garmin is a brand we often turn to for fitness tracking. Aside from its sat-navs, dog collars and devices for aviation and nautical activities, it has a huge catalogue of sports watches.
Designs cover everything from swimming to golf, and there’s even a collection of fashion and ‘hybrid’ watches for everyday use. Though, the bread and butter of the brand’s sport watches focus on running, triathlon and other outdoor activities.
If you’re ready to buy your first Garmin watch for running, or fancy upgrading your current device, take a look at our favourites below. Some focus on running, while others offer a range of functionality and activity tracking across a variety of sports.
Best Garmin watch for running – our favourites
Garmin Forerunner 45S
The Garmin Forerunner range is a go-to for many athletes, so it’s definitely worth a look if you’re browsing running or triathlon watches. The 45S is designed to fit people with narrow wrists, which makes it perfect for women and teenagers.
Activity tracking, sports apps and GPS come as standard; you can monitor your progress in everything from runs and treadmill sessions to cycling, cardio and yoga, though there’s no swim tracking despite the watch being waterproof.
The colour screen is always on and there are just five buttons, though it only takes a single press to mark your laps.
Like the many other Garmin watches for running, the 45S connects up to the brand’s coaching software, available via the Garmin Connect, to provide tailored run workouts. It’ll also send your location to emergency contacts if you’re involved in an accident. Plus, you can control the music playing on your phone and get notifications about your calls and texts.
Garmin Forerunner 245
For personalised feedback and support, try the Garmin Forerunner 245. It assesses your exercise history and workout metrics to provide real-world advice and help you get the most from your training. It’ll let you know if you’re overdoing it, which could save you time and potential injuries.
The 245 can also monitor your VO2 max, which is another useful metric for tracking your fitness journey, while there’s also a range of different sport profiles that you can track, including swimming.
And you can use Garmin’s GPS, GLONASS and Galileo networks to evaluate your runs, whether you’re in the city or going cross-country. Garmin Coach workout plans and messaging notifications are also available with the 245.
Garmin’s Venu range is a line of slightly more fashionable watches you can wear during formal or special occasions, as well as workouts. This one has a circular design, but you could opt for the slightly sportier-looking square version in black or white instead.
As you’d expect, there are key features like a heart rate monitoring and a range of pre-loaded workouts, but also various functions to support your wellbeing. You can track everything from sleep and menstrual cycles to stress and hydration levels.
Plus, the Venu has several extra functions, including message notifications from your phone and Garmin Pay for contactless purchases.
Garmin Forerunner 945
Having become the brand’s flagship ‘plastic’ watch for multisport use, the Forerunner 945 is a practical Garmin watch for running. It comes with loads of useful features, but it’s also a fantastic choice if you don’t want the hassle of charging it every day. In GPS mode, the battery can last 36 hours straight.
The watch continuously monitors your progress and adapts its VO2 assessment according to temperature and altitude, while there are a host of different sport profiles for you to track.
Also included are music streaming functions, Garmin Pay and incident detection alerts for your emergency contacts.
Garmin Forerunner 745
Similar to the Forerunner 945, the 745 is crammed with clever features to help you maximise your performance and progress during training sessions. Although the battery only lasts 16 hours in GPS mode, compared to the 945’s 36 hours, this model is lightweight and tracks everything from your energy and VO2 level to your sleep quality.
Other handy functions include the race finish prediction feature based on your fitness level, and the body battery monitor, which provides post-workout recovery and rest suggestions. And, of course, you’ll get Garmin Coach for workout support, as well as Garmin Pay, music storage and mobile notifications.
Garmin Fenix 7
Watches in Garmin’s Fenix multisport range are designed to stand up to the toughest workouts while helping you push your own limits. The new Fenix 7 comes with its own fibre-reinforced case and a touch screen, but its best aspect is probably the lofty battery life, which is supplemented by the solar charging technology if you opt for the Solar versions.
You’ll get up to 73 hours of use in the GPS function and you can top up the battery in the sunshine. There’s also the option to switch settings and save power, which can give you up to 18 days of battery life in the standard smartwatch mode.
What’s more, you can see real-time stamina updates as you exercise, and monitor your heart rate, oxygen levels, stress and sleep patterns. That’s all on top of the standard activity tracking you get across a huge range of different sports.
Though, all of that does make for a weightier package on your wrist than some of the others in this list.
Garmin Forerunner 55
If you’re looking for an intuitive running watch on the lower end of the price spectrum, you may want to consider the Forerunner 55.
Unlike some of the other Garmin watches for running on this list, it doesn’t have a touchscreen or offer music storage or contactless payments. But what the Forerunner 55 lacks in high-tech features, it makes up for in its 14-day battery life, waterproof shell and useful health tracking functions.
There are still multiple sports available to track, including running, and you’ll get information on calories burnt, respiration and hydration, as well as sleep and menstrual cycle monitoring, recovery suggestions and even pregnancy tracking.
And if you’re in need of a workout playlist, you can listen to music through your phone and skip songs on the watch.
Garmin Vivoactive 4
Vivoactive is Garmin’s ‘everyday fitness’ range. Not only does this model come with 20 pre-loaded sports apps with animated workouts to follow, but it also has Garmin Pay, phone notifications and music syncing capabilities as handy extras.
The Vivoactive 4 also tracks key metrics like your heart rate, calories and sleep, and provides a ‘body battery’ reading, but lacks some of the detail you’ll find on other watches in this list, such as Performance Condition.
It’s water resistant, you can track over 20 different sports and it’ll alert your emergency contacts if it detects an incident.
Don’t forget, you can always change up your Garmin watch with one of the brand’s fun accessories, which include wristbands, heart rate monitors and cases. Browse Garmin accessories here.