Which Garmin Running Smartwatch Is Right for Me?

There’s nothing quite like the feeling of finding the perfect wearable companion for your runs, but how do you get there?

Because we’ve been in the smartwatch game for quite some time, it’s no secret we have tons of options to help you reach your goals — but don’t worry. If you’re not sure which Garmin smartwatch is right for you, we’ve got you covered. From novice runners to elite marathoners, you bet we have the best GPS running watches to guide you through every stride, every mile and every race along the way.

Garmin Running Features

Before you choose a Garmin smartwatch, you’ll want to know which watch has the running and training features that make the most sense for your goals. Let’s walk through your options.

For the entry-level runner:

Let’s start with the basics, and by basics, we don’t mean your watch will be basic. Even smartwatches designed for beginners have advanced tools and metrics that can help you grow as a runner:

Built-in GPS: Easily track where you run and get accurate stats, including distance, pace and intervals.

Long battery life: No, really — we mean a really long battery life. Depending on which Garmin smartwatch you have, you’ll get a minimum of up to 5 days of battery life, and some watches can last up to 50 days.

Sleep monitoring: Understand how your body is recovering — and get ready for training — with our improved sleep monitoring feature1. With select watches, you’ll receive a sleep score after waking up, along with a breakdown of your sleep stages and so much more.

Wrist-based heart rate: Your heart rate zone matters. With wrist-based heart rate1, you can gauge how hard your heart is working during runs. Plus, tracking your heart rate data and heart rate variability outside of workouts lends insight into your recovery, overall fitness and more. In fact, there’s so much more to heart rate for athletes, here’s some content you might want to read.

Garmin Coach: Is there a race in your future? You’ll want to check out these free adaptive training plans, available in the Garmin Connect™ app. Pick a coach, a distance — 5K, 10K or a half marathon — and your race date and the workouts sync to your watch to keep you on track.

Garmin Connect app: All Garmin smartwatches are compatible with the Garmin Connect app, the free tool for tracking, analyzing, and sharing health and fitness activities. Think of it as a personal assistant to help you achieve your health and fitness goals.

For the advanced runner

So you’ve been running for a while and have started getting the hang of things. You’re not afraid to push your limits; now you need a smartwatch to keep up. In addition to the features for entry-level runners, you may also want to consider a smartwatch with:

Daily suggested workouts: Get run recommendations each day based on your training history, fitness level and recovery time.

Running power: If you use a Running Dynamics Pod or the HRM-Pro™ Plus heart rate monitor with your watch, the running power feature provides a continuous measurement of how much power you’re applying to the road as you run.

Recovery time: We can’t emphasize enough how important it is to rest. With the recovery time feature, know exactly how long to recover before your next hard effort based on your latest training, stress levels, sleep and daily activities outside of workouts.

Multi-band GNSS support: What do you get when you can access multiple global navigation satellite systems? Superior accuracy for how far and fast you’ve run — even in challenging environments with heavy tree cover or tall buildings.

Race widget: Get ready for your next race with training tips, daily suggested workouts and completion time predictions. A personalized training plan is now as simple as the click of a button.

For the elite runner

Elite runners are looking for serious smartwatches. Good thing we have those too. To power your marathons, triathlons and long training sessions, we have wearables packed with advanced features designed just for you.

Depending on the watch you choose, you can benefit from extra features such as:

Training readiness: Wake up and get a readiness score so you can determine whether it’s a good day to go hard — or sit back and take it easy.

Real-time stamina: Don’t overexert yourself. Use this feature to track and manage your exertion before the start of every run.

Built-in maps: Full-color, built-in maps and turn-by-turn navigation keep you on track whether you’re running on city streets or densely covered trails.

So which watch is right for you? The chart below shows you which watch comes with which running features, so you can select the model that best fits your needs. You really can’t go wrong — every Garmin smartwatch packs a punch.

Need to know more about features on our running watches? Learn all about running science to take advantage of all a Garmin watch has to offer.

1See Garmin.com/ataccuracy