Why Garmin Watch is the Preferred Choice for Running Equipment

Why Garmin Watch is the Preferred Choice for Running Equipment

Posted by RunUnited on Oct 3rd 2023

In a world where smartwatches are becoming increasingly popular, it can be hard to choose the right one for running. However, there is one brand that stands out – Garmin. Despite the competition from tech giants like Apple, Garmin has managed to maintain its position as a preferred choice for runners worldwide. In this post, we are exploring why you should try Garmin running watches.

Garmin Watch Models Diversity

When it comes to choosing a Garmin watch, you're spoiled for choice. From the versatile Forerunner to the stylish Venu, the rugged Fenix, and the high-performance Epix, Garmin offers a wide range of models to cater to various needs, preferences, fitness levels, and types of athletes.

The Forerunner series is arguably Garmin's most popular line, known for its focused approach towards runners. The Forerunner 265, for instance, stands out as an affordable flagship. It boasts a good selection of enthusiast features but doesn’t look bulky like some more feature-packed Garmin watches.

But as we’ve stated, Garmin has a great selection of designs, so you don’t have to stick specifically to the Forerunner if you’re a runner. You can choose the Venu series if you're drifting towards more style and smartwatch capabilities than nerd stats. The Venu 2 offers a vibrant AMOLED display and a sleek design that makes it suitable for both workouts and everyday wear. The newer Venu 3 Series continues this trend.

For those who prefer ruggedness and durability, the Fenix series is a perfect match. The Fenix 7 Pro, for example, is built to withstand harsh conditions, making it ideal for outdoor adventures, while also offering solar charging capabilities.

The Epix series is designed for high-performance athletes. These watches come with advanced features like a bright AMOLED display and a metal bezel.

Garmin Fitness & Smartwatch Features

Generally speaking, while Apple and Samsung had initially focused more on the smartwatch elements before improving its health and fitness metrics, Garmin's relentless focus on fitness tracking from the outset gives it an edge.

Health & Fitness Tracking

Garmin watches offer a myriad of metrics, including heart rate monitoring, cardio fitness measurements, sleep tracking, step counting, and calorie burn estimates. Certain models even monitor blood oxygen levels.

Like Apple, Garmin tracks your resting heart rate throughout the whole day and records active heart rates during workouts. And if you experience abnormally high or low heart rate readings when inactive, Garmin fitness watch will notify you. During exercises, it will track your heart rate zones as well as average and maximum heart rate. Garmin smartwatches launched recently have made significant strides in heart rate tracking. Specifically, the entire Forerunner series and Fenix 7 line offer impressive heart rate data during runs and other exercises. But that's not all. Some Garmin watches also provide a Recovery Heart Rate, which measures your heart’s ability to return back to a normal rate after a workout.

While ECG (electrocardiogram) measurements are a standard feature on the Apple Watch Series 8 and Ultra, this is far less common on Garmin watches, available only on the Venu 2 Plus smartwatch so far.

There's also the Garmin Connect app that provides in-depth insights, including Body Battery, which indicates your readiness for exercise. It also includes the Health Snapshot app that consolidates your health metrics on a single screen and offers downloadable training plans and workout. Comparatively, Apple's equivalent, the Apple Fitness app, is more minimalist in its approach.

As for menstrual cycle tracking, Apple’s Watch Ultra take on it is more advanced. Apple uses a pair of temperature sensors to calculate your basal body temperature to estimate when ovulation occurred, just a little after the fact. However, with Garmin watches for women, you still can log in and view cycle symptoms and fertility window predictions.

Pregnancy tracking, the feature that Fitbit lacks, by the way, is also great with Garmin women's watches. You can log in and view symptoms, record blood glucose levels, and track baby movements, and based on this data, you’ll receive weekly advice on nutrition and fitness.

Smartwatch Features

Well, genuinely speaking, if you want a device that is smartwatches first and fitness tracker second, Apple Watches are the best you can get due to its robust app store. Apple Watches come with timers, alarms, Siri integration, music streaming capabilities, games, and more. Plus, they integrate tightly and seamlessly with iOS.

Garmin smartwatches, on the other hand, are simpler devices, and Garmin apps are more basic. While the Garmin IQ app store does offer some of the mentioned features, it is primarily focused on health and fitness. The basics, like call, text, and app notifications, are common to both brands, though. Garmin Pay, available on some devices, is not as widely used as Apple Pay or Samsung Pay.

Garmin has ventured into the territory of smartwatches that support voice assistants with the Venu 2 Plus and the Venu 3, which allows users to interact with Alexa. Although it may not be as slick as Siri, it's a commendable step towards bringing more convenience to users' wrists.

GPS Capabilities

GPS is a standard feature on both current generation Apple Watches and many Garmin devices. However, known for its long-standing expertise in GPS technology, Garmin's precision in this area is particularly commendable.

Garmin Workout Features

Garmin watch range truly shines when it comes to workout features. The brand prides itself on providing detailed and "nerdy" workout stats, offering greater depth than Apple, Samsung, and even Fitbit smartwatches.

Take the best Garmin running watches - the Forerunner 265. It offers a host of running features, allowing users to track and analyze their performance meticulously. This level of detail is what makes Garmin a favorite among fitness enthusiasts. Some of the advanced running metrics Garmin offers include data on stride length, ground contact time and balance, vertical oscillation (the bounce in your running motion), and vertical ratio (the cost-benefit ratio of vertical oscillation to stride length), running dynamics, running power, lactate threshold, and many more. These metrics can help serious runners fine-tune their technique and improve performance. But let’s take a closer look at Garmin workout features in general.

Custom Workouts & Suggested Workouts

Garmin's workout creation tools are extensive and highly customizable. Users can create tailored workouts and training plans directly on their smartwatch or through the Garmin Connect app. These workouts can then be synced to the watch, providing guided sessions based on your custom plans.

In addition to this, Garmin offers a brilliant Suggested Workouts feature for runners and cyclists, available on select models. This feature uses an advanced statistics algorithm engine to suggest workouts based on your current fitness level and recent training history. It intelligently determines what your body is ready for, helping you make progress without risking overtraining.

Training Load & Training Effect

Garmin's Training Load feature assesses the combined exertion of your exercise over time. It provides an easy-to-understand overview of how hard you've been working over the past few weeks, helping you balance training and recovery effectively.

The Training Effect feature measures the impact of an activity on your aerobic and anaerobic fitness levels during the activity. This data can provide valuable insights into how your workouts are improving your fitness over time.

Strength Training & Advanced Metrics

Some Garmin smartwatches feature several activity profiles, like HIIT, Yoga, Cardio, and Strength Workouts, used for bodyweight and weight training exercises. In Strength Workout mode, for instance, the watch can automatically detect the type of exercise you're doing (like bicep curls or squats) and count your reps for you. All this data is logged in the Garmin Connect app, allowing you to track your performance over time.

Garmin Watch Designs

Garmin's design philosophy is quite different from Apple's. While Apple focuses on luxury, using materials like aluminum and steel, Garmin opts for practicality, using durable resin plastics in most of its watches. Yes, Garmin also offers models in aluminum, steel, and titanium, but their design ethos leans more towards functionality than flashiness. This diversity in design is another reason why many prefer Garmin over Apple.

Garmin Watch Battery Life

Battery life is one area where Garmin truly outshines its more luxury competitors like Apple and shares top spot with more fitness-focused watches like Fitbit, at least some of the models. Unlike Apple, which requires daily charging, Garmin devices, such as the Enduro 2 or Fenix 7, can last for days, even weeks, on a single charge. Some models even utilize solar power to top up the battery, ensuring your running watch won't die mid-trail.

Final Words

While Apple Watches are undoubtedly powerful and feature-rich, and Fitbit is more geared towards casual users who want a balance of fitness and lifestyle features. Garmin running watches focus on workout features, battery life, and practical design, which makes it a preferred choice for running gear of a serious athlete.

Ready to take your runs to the next level? Explore Garmin running watches at RunUnited.


How do I choose between Garmin, Fitbit, and Apple Watch?

Your choice should depend on your specific needs and goals. If you're a serious athlete or outdoor enthusiast, Garmin's advanced metrics might be most beneficial. For general fitness tracking and lifestyle features, Fitbit could be a great fit. If you're looking for a device that combines fitness tracking with smart features like notifications, apps, and music, consider the Apple Watch.

Which Garmin watch is best for serious runners?

Garmin offers a range of watches suitable for runners, with high-end models like the Forerunner, Fenix, and Epix offering advanced tracking features and GPS functionality.

Can Garmin watches track my swimming workouts?

Yes, many Garmin watches are designed to be water-resistant and offer swim tracking features. They can monitor your distance, pace, stroke count, and more, making them suitable for swimmers and triathletes.

How long does the battery last on Garmin watches?

Battery life varies among Garmin models. Some high-end models like the Fenix series can last up to two weeks in smartwatch mode and up to 36 hours in GPS mode. However, battery life may vary based on usage and settings.