Garmin Launches 5 New ‘Forerunner’ GPS Running Watches

If you look at the wrists of runners at major running events, there’s a good chance you’ll see Garmin watches. Today, the GPS juggernaut gives athletes five new choices for watches for training, navigating, mapping, and more.

The Forerunner is a stalwart watch in the runner’s toolbox. And that line gets a major refresh today as Garmin announces five new versions of the watch.

Garmin Forerunner GPS watch

Garmin’s new line brings integrated music capabilities, full-color mapping, and advanced training, safety, and tracking to its GPS running smartwatches.

The new Forerunner watches — 45, 45S, 245, 245 Music, and 945 — will track runs, monitor stats, and crunch the numbers. But they also “get to know all about an athlete’s performance, training history, goals, and more,” the brand reports.

An interesting feature, Incident Detection will send a message to preselected contacts if the watch senses a crash. This function requires pairing with a smartphone, but it’s added peace of mind for those who run or ride solo.

New Garmin Forerunner Watches for 2019

Each new Forerunner has lightweight materials and a five-button design that the brand claims is easy to operate with or without gloves.  The watches include an always-on, sunlight-readable display. They have GPS, all-day activity tracking, smart notifications, and a wrist-based heart rate monitor. And a new safety tool allows users to share their real-time location with chosen contacts in case they need help.

Garmin forerunner

The new Forerunner line is compatible with Garmin Coach free training plans. The brand claims these “adapt based on a runner’s goals and performance.” Garmin users can train for a 5K, 10K, or half-marathon. And they can receive help along the way from three running coaches: Jeff Galloway, Greg McMillan, and Amy Parkerson-Mitchell.

Forerunner 45 & Forerunner 45S

The Forerunner 45 and 45S are the entry-level watches in the series. They’re designed for new runners or those starting a new exercise plan.

Garmin Forerunner 45

These basic but functional watches monitor heart rate at the wrist and have GPS to track pace, distance, intervals, and more. For those with smaller wrists, the Forerunner 45S features a 39mm case as compared to the Forerunner 45’s 42mm case.

With 12 activity profiles, it will also record efforts during cycling, elliptical training, cardio, yoga, and more. The Forerunner 45 series offers up to 7 days of battery life in smartwatch mode and up to 13 hours in GPS mode.

The 45 and 45S retail for $200 each.

Forerunner 245 & Forerunner 245 Music

The Forerunner 245 and Forerunner 245 Music add more tools to help runners improve. The Forerunner 245 Music holds up to 500 songs and lets users sync playlists from select preloaded music streaming services, like Spotify and Deezer, or transfer music from a computer. Both the Forerunner 245 and Forerunner 245 Music include performance-monitoring tools like VO2 max and training status with adjustments for heat, recovery time, and aerobic and anaerobic training effects.

Forerunner 245

With the addition of a Running Dynamics Pod or compatible heart-rate strap, athletes can go even further with their running data. All six running dynamics display on the watch. Even after a workout, the Forerunner 245 and Forerunner 245 Music feature additional tools to track a runner’s well-being, including a wrist-based Pulse Ox sensor that will help gauge how a runner is absorbing oxygen.

The Forerunner 245 and Forerunner 245 Music have up to 7 days of battery life in smartwatch mode, up to 24 hours in GPS mode, and up to 6 hours in GPS mode with music.

The Forerunner 245 sells for $300, and the Forerunner 245 Music hits the market at $350.

Forerunner 945

This is Garmin’s premium watch for runners and triathletes. It holds up to 1,000 songs and allows users to sync playlists. But it goes much further.

Don’t want to carry cash on a run? Pay with your watch via the Garmin Pay contactless payment solution.

Need to navigate? Full-color, onboard maps on the Forerunner 945 guide serious runners and multisport athletes.

Forerunner 945 black band

And while the watch has the same abilities as the less-expensive models, the 945 adds training load focus. The training tool sorts an athlete’s recent training history into different categories based on activity structure and intensity. Built-in activity profiles include skiing, hiking, golfing, and more.

It has 2 weeks of battery life in smartwatch mode, 36 hours in GPS mode, and 10 hours in GPS mode with music. The Garmin 945 hits the market at $600, or $750 with the Triathlon Bundle that includes blue and black silicone bands, heart-rate monitors for triathlon and swimming, and a quick-release kit.

We haven’t tested any of these yet, but the new line looks like a solid offering worth considering for runners who want a new GPS training watch.

Sean McCoy

Editorial Director Sean McCoy is a life-long outdoorsman who grew up hunting and fishing central Wisconsin forests and lakes. He joined GearJunkie after a 10-year stint as a newspaperman in the Caribbean, where he learned sailing and wooden-boat repair. Based in GearJunkie's Denver office, McCoy is an avid trail runner, camper, hunter, angler, mountain biker, skier, and beer tester.