Garmin Selection Guide

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Garmin Venu 2 Tracks Your Work

The holiday season is finally here, and many people will be giving their loved ones the ultimate gift…a Garmin watch!  Now, let me start off by saying that you are a phenomenal friend, boyfriend, girlfriend, wife, daughter, son, husband, etc because Garmin is a great gift!  While all the Garmin devices are known to be the best GPS trackers in the industry, they do have a wide variety of options for you to choose from.  It can be a bit overwhelming.  When customers come into The Running Well Store looking for a recommendation on what watch to buy, we start by determining the type of person who will be wearing the watch and break them into these 5 categories:

Just Getting Started   |   Data Driven Runner   |   Stylish yet functional

  Ultra Adventurer   |   The Triathlete


Do you know someone who is running their first marathon?  Or who has just started training for 5ks or 10ks? The Garmin 45, 45s and 55 are all lightweight and great running watches that we typically recommend for the runner who has gotten into the sport for the track/cross country athlete.   These three are the best options when it comes to a budget friendly running watch and pack great GPS power.  For $150-$200 you get distance, pace, speed, cadence, calories burned, heart rate, smartphone notifications, stress tracking, body battery and fitness age.  That is quite the list for an entry-level tracking device.

The biggest update to the Forerunner 55 that may entice you to spend the extra money are the additional metrics.  With the 55 you will get PacePro a dynamic course-based pacing system, Daily Suggested Workouts, a Virtual Run mode to be used on treadmills, Finish Time Estimator and Women’s Health Tracking.

Female athletes may prefer the Forerunner 45s for the smaller watch size on a thinner wrist.

Forerunner 45s  Forerunner 45  Forerunner 55


When it comes to the runner who craves data and statistics, two options come to mind: Garmin’s Forerunner 245 and the Forerunner 945.  The Forerunner 245 comes in a standard option  (245) and a music option (245M), allowing you to download playlists onto the device.  The Forerunner 945 comes with 1,000 songs in both models but the LTE you can purchase a cellular plan to notify contacts with pre-set messages.

When it comes to design, the Forerunner 245 and 945 look alike, so how do you know which one is the right one to purchase for your data driven athlete?   While the 245 and 945 both have significant amount of data, I’d say the biggest difference is that the 945 is truly intended for the multi-sport athlete as it offers open water swim and mountain biking.

There are some other small differences: the Forerunner 245 (and its Music variant 245M) measures smaller 42.3 x 42.3 x 12.2 (mm) while the 945 measures at 47x47x13.7 mm to house the larger battery and additional smarts.  Within the watch there are a few things that may justify the price difference of the Forerunner 945 for you. In addition to everything from the 245 (Accelerometer, GPS/GLONASS/Galileo, elevate wrist heart rate monitor, Compass and PulseOx), it also comes with a Barometric altimeter, Gyroscope and Thermometer.

These watches are great options for someone looking for a sports watch that provides great metrics. They come with 24/7 activity tracking, along with a host of performance and physiological metrics to keep data geeks busy.  The 945 is a fully featured multi-sport watch. It comes with lots of extras such as additional performance metrics and sports profiles, and almost double the battery life. The Forerunner 945 packs the best of what Garmin has on offer into a Forerunner watch. If you’re an avid athlete, chances are you’re thinking about adding an elite smartwatch to your training kit. And if you’re serious about getting the most out of your training and recovery, then you should check out the Forerunner 945.

The 945 LTE additionally offers a cellular plan so that you can send messages to a select group of individuals.

Forerunner 245      Forerunner 245m      Forerunner 945      Forerunner945 LTE


Garmin Smartwatch the Venu 2 and Venu SQ

Garmin is the industry leader when it comes to GPS accuracy in fitness watches.  With the Venu series they have combined the accuracy of their legendary data collection with the style and the aesthetics of a smart watch. The Venu 2 has most of the excellent sport, activity and health-tracking features of Garmin’s high-end Forerunner running watches. These include many activities such as indoor and outdoor walking, running, cycling, swimming, climbing, various strength and gym workouts with on-screen guides, golf, skiing and many others, plus access to training plans with Garmin Coach. The run metrics on these watches has the same excellent monitoring options and accuracy as the Forerunner 245, which makes it more comprehensive than most smartwatch competitors. Garmin is well known for producing class-leading sports watches that can track every stat under the sun and these models have the more aesthetic appeal of a smartwatch.

While the Venu 2 and Venu SQ are much more stylish for you to wear to the office to the gym, the watch does lack some features as some of the best smartwatches. It will connect to your phone but only for simple text alerts. There’s no voice assistant and other than music services, third-party apps are lacking.

The Venu 2 comes in either 40mm (Venu 2s) or 45mm and is compatible with both Android and iPhones connecting via Bluetooth.

The Venu SQ Music is meant to be a more entry level price point Garmin watch with the stylistic capabilities of a traditional smartwatch.

The Vivomove HR focuses on health metrics and no GPS data.  If you want a watch that will tell you to move, provide stress data, sleep data, and have no need to take it on a walk or a run, then this is the device for you.

Venue SQ  Venu 2s  Venu 2  Vivomove HR


Garmin Fenix 6 and Garmin Instinct Solar


If you are holiday gift shopping for the person who loves adventure then the Forerunner 945, the Garmin Instinct Solar or the Fenix 6 are the best options for you to choose from.  These are the people who do multiple marathons, trail runs, ultra-marathons or are people who do a lot of everything: downhill skiing, standup paddle boarding, mountain biking,  etc.

Let’s start with the Fenix 6.  This is THE GIFT that will make your loved one smile throughout the seasons.  When people are at The Running Well Store looking at watches we always say that if the Fenix cannot track it, you shouldn’t be doing it. This is a watch that gives premium running metric, has incredible battery life and comes with 48 activities to track: Backcountry Ski, Bike (outdoor), Bike indoor, Boat, Bouldering, Breathwork, Expedition, Cardio, Climb, Climb Indoor, Clocks, Elliptical, Floor Climb, Golf, Hike, HRV Stress (heart rate variability), Indoor Track (running), Jumpmaster, Kayak, Open water swimming, Other (generic), Map, MTB (mountain biking), Navigate, Pilates, Pool Swim, Project Waypoint, Row Indoor, Run, Row, Ski, Snowboard, Stair Stepper, Strength (weight lifting), SUP (standup paddleboarding), Surf, Swim/Run, Tactical, Track Me, Trail Run, Treadmill, Triathlon, TruSwing (golf), Virtual Run, Walk, XC Classic Ski, XC Skate Ski, Yoga.

I am not even 100% certain what Expedition is, but it sounds incredibly cool and that you need to plan it for months prior to starting the activity. The Fenix 6 Sapphire is an upgraded version with the added quality of a scratch resistant sapphire lens and other premium materials.

If you are giving a gift to a runner or adventure seeker who wants durability but doesn’t need the price tag of the Fenix, the Instinct Solar is the watch to choose.  The Garmin Instinct Solar is a great watch that has solar charging powers, great tracking features and has solar power capabilities.  With the Garmin Instinct Solar, you do not have to sacrifice your long list of activities since it comes with: Running, Treadmill, Trail Running, Pool swimming, Open water swimming (OW), Cycling, Indoor cycling, Mountain biking, Hiking, Climbing, Skiing, Snowboarding, XC skiing, Stand-up paddleboarding (SUP), Rowing, Indoor rowing, Kayaking, Strength training, Cardio, Stair stepping, Elliptical training and Yoga.

The Garmin Instinct Solar and Fenix both come with unparalleled GPS, Glonass and Galileo. You simply will not get as accurate GPS as you will with a Garmin device, no matter how cool your iWatch looks.

Lastly, the Forerunner 945 has just about all the same features as the Fenix, but a lighter casing. The Garmin Forerunner 945 is known as the watch that is a good fit for triathletes.  It is a great pick for runners who are after mere metrics and insights and are not after the durability, ruggedness, and long list of activities in the Fenix.

Bottom line, if you want something that’s built better for rugged use, has the option of a bigger screen, and can tone down its predominantly sporty look, go for the Fenix. If you couldn’t care less and just want something that sits small and light on your wrist and you are mostly into running, biking, and swimming metrics, go for the 945. The Fenix is Garmin’s watch that’s built for the outdoors and so makes a big play on its mapping, navigation, and outdoor sports tracking features.

Forerunner 945    Instinct Solar    Fenix 6    Fenix 6 Sapphire


Garmin GPS tracking devices are the go-to watch for triathletes and make a phenomenal holiday gift. The Garmin Forerunner 745 and the Garmin Forerunner 945 are excellent smartwatches with long battery life and a ton of features and sensors. The watches are remarkably similar in appearance and core features so your decision may boil down to price. The 945 is an overall better watch, but the 745 is excellent in many ways and cheaper.

The Garmin Forerunner 745 and the Forerunner 945 have lot in common. Both watches have the same casing, same display resolution and type and the same optical heart rate sensor. They also both have built-in music storage and features such as VO2 max estimation, race predictor, training effect and recovery time suggestions, Garmin Coach etc.

Here are the reasons to buy the 745:

  • It is significantly less expensive.
  • The Forerunner 745 is lighter weight with a smaller casing
  • The Forerunner 745 has daily workout suggestions.

The reasons to buy the 945:

  • The Garmin Forerunner 945 has a longer battery life than the Forerunner 745.
  • The Garmin Forerunner 945 has offline maps.
  • The 945 has more storage space for music and apps than the 745.

On a practical level, when used for fitness and tracking the differences between the two are not all that much. There are other features only found in the Forerunner 945 not  mentioned here – it is also a proficient golf watch, and has more ‘outdoorsy’ features for the hikers and dog walkers. However, for people who only want to track running, cycling, swimming and/or triathlons, the only extra feature the 945 boasts is respiration rate tracking.

About TRWS

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The Running Well Store is the premier running specialty store in Kansas City, Missouri and Mission, Kansas! We are a locally owned business that has been in operation since 2006.  Our tagline is THE PLACE FOR EVERY PACE as we want all walkers, runners, newbies, veterans, and people who work on their feet all day to feel welcome.  We know that there are a lot of options for footwear on the market and deciding what model is the right one for your needs is not easy.  We are here for you! You can come into one of our three locations (Lee’s SummitNorthland and Mission, KS) for a free stride analysis. No appointment is necessary, but if you would like to schedule an appointment, click here.  We take in-person and virtual fittings.  Want to do research online?  We have a find my fit tool that will help you narrow down footwear options.  We hope to hear from you soon!