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Garmin’s five new Forerunner watches have something for every runner

Garmin Forerunner for Runners Lifestyle Photography
Garmin recently added new colors to its Instinct hiking smartwatch, and the company isn’t stopping there: On Tuesday, Garmin revamped its running-focused Forerunner lineup, introducing five new fitness watches. The new Forerunner smartwatches cover all levels of runners ranging from the entry-level Forerunner 45 to the navigation-equipped Forerunner 945. Garmin also updated its Connect app adding support for women’s menstrual cycles and expanding its Garmin Coach to 10K and half-marathon distances.

Forerunner 45 and 45S

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The Garmin Forerunner 45 does away with the boxy look of its predecessor, the Forerunner 35, and replaces it with the circular watch face and sunlight-readable color display that defines the Forerunner series. The Forerunner 45 is the entry-level running model with a heart rate monitor and built-in GPS. It tracks your basic running metrics like pace, distance, and intervals. It also monitors your health and wellness with 24/7 heart rate monitoring and sleep analysis. New to the Forerunner 45 is all-day stress and body battery, which tracks your energy level and helps you plan your training. This entry-level watch now also supports Garmin Coach which provides on-watch training plans for runners who want to compete for the first time or improve their existing race times. The Forerunner 45 and Forerunner 45S are identical in every way except for size. The Forerunner 45s is slightly smaller with a 39mm case versus the 42mm for the full-sized Forerunner 45.

Buy the Forerunner 45

Buy the Forerunner 45S

Forerunner 245 and 245 Music

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The Forerunner 245 builds upon the success of the Forerunner 235, one of Garmin’s most popular running watches. The new Forerunner 245 hits that sweet spot of having the advanced metrics to keep hard-core runners at peak fitness while being basic enough for those who don’t want to track every single foot strike.

The Forerunner 245 includes a core set of health and wellness features with new stress monitoring and Garmin’s body battery metric which debuted in the Vivosmart 4. The watch includes GPS, an accelerometer and now an onboard pulse oximeter for sleep monitoring and oxygen absorption analysis. Also new to the series are performance monitoring tools like training status, recovery time, Garmin Coach, and the advanced running metrics from Garmin’s running dynamics pod or heart rate strap. The Forerunner 245 does not have a barometric altimeter; you’ll have to bump up to the Forerunner 645 or the 945 for integrated elevation data. Also missing is Garmin Pay, another feature found only on the high-end Forerunner 945.

Though a few features are missing, Garmin makes up for it with its navigation and music. The Forerunner 235 ships with color maps that allow you to view saved courses as well as navigate back to the start when you need to turn around during a run. New in the 245 Music version is support for transferring up to 500 music files and offline syncing to Deezer and Spotify. The Forerunner 245 and 245 Music deliver up to seven days of battery life in smartwatch mode, up to 24 hours in GPS mode and up to six hours in GPS mode with music.

Buy the Forerunner 245

Buy the Forerunner 245 Music

Forerunner 945

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Designed for serious athletes, the Forerunner 945 is the company’s flagship smartwatch and has all the bells and whistles to analyze and improve performance. The smartwatch has all the advanced training metrics of the Forerunner 935 and adds the new training load focus, which allows an athlete to analyze their training load based on the type of activity and its intensity. Also new are a pulse oximeter to measure oxygen absorption and full-color onboard maps that help runners navigate backcountry trails without getting lost. The Forerunner is more than just a running watch. Its multisport modes support a variety of activities including skiing, hiking and golfing. When operating in smartwatch mode, the Forerunner 945 delivers up to two weeks of battery life. Using GPS cuts the battery life to 36 hours while GPS and music together reduce it to 10 hours.

Buy the Forerunner 945

Garmin Connect

Garmin updated its Connect app to include menstrual cycle data for women. This new feature allows women to track their cycle and plan their training around their bad days and maximize it on their good days. Garmin also expanded its Garmin Coach feature, which provides a coach-driven adaptive training plan that syncs to a Forerunner watch. All five of the new Forerunner watches are compatible with Garmin Coach. Previously only available with a 5K running plan, the latest update expands Garmin Coach to 10K and half-marathon distances.

Pricing and Availability

Pricing starts at $200 for the Forerunner 45/45S and climbs to $600 for the Forerunner 945. The Forerunner 945 also is available for $750 as a triathlon bundle with the HRM-Tri, HRM-Swim, and a quick release kit. All five new fitness watches are available now on REI and Garmin’s website.

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Kelly Hodgkins
Kelly's been writing online for ten years, working at Gizmodo, TUAW, and BGR among others. Living near the White Mountains of…
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