Garmin’s new Forerunner 745 is essentially a slimmed-down Forerunner 945 that we tested in late 2019. It’s similarly styled and, impressively, retains the clear 1.2-in display seen on the Forerunner 945. The 945 was good. Mightily so. As is the 745, though with the occasional quibble.
One of the key advancements of the 745 is its coaching capabilities where you’re given detailed daily workout suggestions based on recent training load. You also receive seven-day training load to assess intensity and volume. It’s a nifty tool, especially to avoid overtraining. The screen’s large and clear enough to assess on screen but you can really dial down in the ever-impressive Garmin Connect.
As we’ve seen recently on the Garmin Fenix 6 and the 945, it comes with a Pulse O2 sensor to measure oxygen saturation of your blood. We’ve flagged up before that, understandably, this isn’t lab accurate but is still a useful gauge for how well you’ve acclimatised to altitude. Neatly, your coaching partner also calculates how well you’ve adapted to the heat.
You can also delve into separate cycling and running VO2max measurements. This is pretty accurate, though you don’t receive swim VO2max. However, you can explore further swim metrics, including heart-rate data to download post-swim, with the additional HRM Pro chest strap. It’s a useful upgrade for committed type-A triathletes, especially as chest strap remains the wearable gold standard and you can tap into further running metrics, but it’s another £119.99, resulting in a total outlay of £570. Mind you, it might pique the interest of Form Swim goggle wearers as they’re compatible with the 745.
You can also tap into (deep breath): the ClimbPro feature for dissection of specific portions of climbs to help with pacing strategies; race-prediction time based on training history; accurate measuring of track sessions; PacePro, which allows you to upload a course and put in your hopeful finishing time before prescribing your pace; and even menstrual tracking to adjust your training depending on where you are in your cycle. There’s also Garmin Pay, yet still with limited banks, and music storage for up to 500 songs.
It’s immense stuff. But there are a few moot points. Battery life is significantly down on the 945 – just 16hrs with GPS on compared to 36hrs – and it lacks the mapping feature. For the majority of triathletes expending this sort of cash, battery life alone would be a turn-off. Still, if neither bother you and you prefer a real slimline watch, it’s a fine option.
Verdict: Superb watch but let down by battery life – we’d go for the 945 instead, 80%