Garmin is the MVP when it comes to GPS-tracking watches made for athletes. Every serious runner in my life swears by their Garmin, despite the fact that you can easily find a cheaper, a more stylish, lifestyle-focused smartwatch with GPS built right in (which was not the case when Garmin first hit the scene). Nope. For athletes, Garmin is it.
But you’ll be forgiven if you can’t exactly tell its suite of GPS watches apart. The new $500 Forerunner 745 is the successor to the Forerunner 735XT, but then there’s the Forerunner 645, Forerunner 945, Forerunner 935 and 935 Music…Garmin, please. I need to look at a full-on chart to figure out the differences between these watches, which all cost hundreds of dollars.
From what I can tell, the Forerunner 745 takes a bunch of features from the rest of the Forerunner lineup and sticks them in one device tailored mainly toward triathletes. You can easily switch between track running, pool swimming, and cycling with the press of the watch’s side button. Garmin says the 745 will allow athletes to “chase down new PRs,” to which I say: Who among us is trying to break personal records at a time like this? But if you are, I salute you. Sounds like a great goal to focus on when the world is going to absolute hell.
The 745, like Garmin’s other triathlete-focused GPS watches, is a total beast when it comes to helping you train. In addition to all the usual deep, detailed metrics into your workouts that Garmins are known for, and the ability to find and download running and biking routes in the Garmin Connect app, the 745 offers a VO2 max score to measure your cardio health, a Body Battery feature that analyzes how much recovery time you need before your next workout, and on-device running and cycling workout recommendations right on the wrist. The 745 also has a pulse oximetry sensor that measures your blood oxygen levels while you sleep, and those metrics could give you an idea if you have respiratory issues like sleep apnea or potentially even a virus like covid-19. (Garmin doesn’t offer any diagnostic tools in this watch, so you’ll have to consult a medical professional if your levels seem off.)
If you use a compatible power meter, the Forerunner 745 can even dive deep into cycling metrics, such as time spent seated or standing, left/right balance, platform center offset, and power phase. Again, this watch is for athletes.
In addition to all those absolutely intense workout-tracking features, the 745 offers smartwatch integration that the 735XT lacked. You can view texts and notifications directly on your wrist, and save up to 500 songs from Spotify, Deezer, and Amazon Music to listen to offline while you train (these aren’t new features for the Forerunner line, but they are for the 700-series).
If you buy this watch and emerge from the pandemic fit as hell, well, I love that for you. The rest of us are just trying to function.