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Garmin's Forerunner 745 fitness watch helps you train for the big race

It not only tracks detailed stats, but offers timely suggestions and plays music.

Published onSeptember 16, 2020

  • Garmin has unveiled the Forerunner 745, a sequel to its 735XT running watch.
  • It includes performance monitoring tools to help you prepare for races, and will even suggest workouts based on performance.
  • The watch is available now for $500.

Garmin has a new running watch that might be your top pick if you’re training for a race but don’t need an over-the-top wearable. The company has released the Forerunner 745, a fitness watch built with committed athletes in mind while keeping costs in check.

The Forerunner 735XT successor adds a suite of performance monitoring tools to help you prepare for a race, marathon, or swim, including VO2 max (peak oxygen volume), training load, training status, and both the aerobic and anaerobic training effects. You’ll also get daily workout suggestions for running and cycling workouts depending on your existing training load and VO2 max level. Use a heart rate strap like Garmin’s new HRM-Pro (shown below), or the Running Dynamics Pod, and you’ll get run stats like cadence and stride on the watch.

garmin hrm pro heart rate monitor

While the Forerunner 745 is a running watch at its core, Garmin has brought in several features for other sports. It can track a cyclist’s left/right balance, time seated versus standing, platform center offset and power phase. While you’re swimming, the 745 can monitor distance, pace, stroke, and personal achievements.

As you’d expect, you can sync plenty of data and media besides the usual smartwatch texts and notifications. Garmin Connect and other training apps can sync workout data with the Forerunner 745. There’s enough storage for up to 500 songs, whether local to your computer or synced from services like Amazon Music, Deezer, and Spotify.

Read more: The best smartwatches and fitness trackers at IFA 2020

The company hasn’t skimped on day-to-day health and functionality. A pulse oximeter helps you gauge your sleep, while Garmin Pay allows touch-free NFC shopping — important during a pandemic. You’ll also find energy level tracking through Body Battery and menstrual cycle monitoring. Battery life is strong, as is often the case for Garmin’s watches, with up to one week of regular smartwatch mode, 16 hours of GPS mode and six hours with both GPS and music.

Garmin’s Forerunner 745 is available now for $500. That’s not a trivial purchase, especially when smartwatches like the Apple Watch Series 6 and Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 typically cost $100 less while delivering better general-use features. However, Garmin is clearly positioning this as a running watch for pros and dedicated enthusiasts. If you’re determined to improve your pace, the premium price and narrower focus may be worth the expense.

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