Why This Is The Best Garmin Watch For Runners
So which smartwatch from the Garmin range best suits runners? Enter the Forerunner 265.
Watches at the top end of the spectrum, like the Fenix Series, are packed with altimeters, barometers and maps to help you navigate trails and off-the-grid destinations. If, however, you’re more interested in health metrics, are a road runner and know your routes by heart, you may want to pick a model that gives you more health-specific metrics and running tools.
…if you’re looking for deeper feedback on aspects like sleep score, recovery score and estimated VO2 max we found the Forerunner 265 hits the sweet spot.
Most Garmin watches will track your heart rate, but if you’re looking for deeper feedback on aspects like sleep score, recovery score and estimated VO2 max as they relate to your running, we found the Forerunner 265 hits the sweet spot.
An immediate follow-up to Garmin’s Forerunner 255, the Garmin Forerunner 265 offers a few key upgrades built on the reliable reputation of its predecessor. This watch exhibits noticeable improvements for the sake of readability, usability and practicality — touch controls, training readiness metrics, and universal music streaming capabilities, to name a few.
The 265’s most immediately significant upgrade is its screen. Departing from the 255’s dimmer, more battery-efficient screen, the new model features a bright AMOLED display that will assuredly end your days of squinting to look at your stats. This does take a chunk out of this watch’s battery life compared to earlier models, but it’s nothing too drastic. Plus, it ultimately promises a much more approachable user experience.
When the Forerunner 265 is powered off, it bears a striking resemblance to the Forerunner 255. The round display and operational configuration remain unchanged, featuring three buttons on the left and two on the right. Notably the top start/stop button on the right now reads ‘RUN’ and is slightly larger — a subtle yet useful alteration for mid-run pauses. When activated, the Forerunner 265 reveals a vibrant AMOLED display, akin to the Garmin Epix 2 and the new Forerunner 965. With a resolution of 416 x 416 pixels, the difference is substantial compared to the Forerunner 255’s 260 x 260 resolution.
Similar to other Garmin watches, the entire data screen is customisable, and adjustments can be made through the Garmin Connect app or directly on the watch.
The Forerunner 265 introduces changes in font and the GPS connection screen, lending a different feel to the device. Despite the brighter display, battery life remains consistent offering 13 days in smartwatch mode and 20 hours in GPS mode. The device excels in tracking training with its multisport mode, wide sports coverage and customisable data screens.
The touchscreen feature simplifies screen adjustments, and the Training Readiness score provides a comprehensive view of readiness based on sleep, recovery time, HRV status, acute load and stress. The inclusion of metrics like cadence, stride length, and ground contact time directly on the wrist, without additional downloads or equipment, is just what you need if you’re a road runner who enjoys the extension of your running experience with a post-run review of your data set for the session.
Some Highlights From Testing
Morning Report: Receive an overview of your sleep and training outlook as soon as you wake up — alongside HRV (Heart Rate Variability) status and weather. You can even customise your report to show you what you want to see.
Race Adaptive Training Plans: Get ready for your next race, including marathons, with training tips, personalised daily suggested workouts and completion time predictions. Just enter your race and Garmin builds a plan that’ll help you meet your goals.
Training Readiness: From the moment you wake up, get a readiness score based on your sleep quality, recovery, training load and more, so you can determine whether it’s a good day to go hard, or whether to take it easy.
Training Status: Using indicators such as HRV status, your recent exercise history and performance, get an easy insight into your overall effort — and whether you’re training productively, peaking or strained.
HRV Status: Gain a deeper understanding of your overall health, training and recovery through heart rate variability while you sleep, based on technology developed by Garmin’s Firstbeat Analytics team.
Body Battery Energy Monitoring: See your energy levels throughout the day so you’ll know when your body is charged up and ready for activity or drained and needing to recharge with restful sleep. And get even more details and personal insights on how sleep, naps, daily activities and high stress specifically impact your energy.
Race Predictor: Get an estimate of what your pace could be for a 5K, 10K, half marathon and marathon.
Wrist-Based Running Dynamics: This smartwatch measures crucial running metrics such as cadence, stride length, ground contact time and more.
Pulse OX Sensor: Track your blood oxygen saturation while you’re awake or asleep.