With so much being made of Apple’s new smartwatch operating system targeting hikers and bikers, we shouldn’t lose sight of the big players in the active watch game. When you think of running or cycling, most people immediately go to a Garmin watch for a good reason. From the high-end Fenix range to the low-profile Forerunners, these watches are an industry standard go-to for tracking training and progression for casual runners and world-class athletes alike.
This isn’t just an homage to other watch companies, by the way. Garmin recently announced a new software and feature update so that you can get even more from your wrist-based training partner. These updates are aimed at runners and cyclists, giving them clearer metrics and a more dynamic platform to build a training program from. It’s time to set your Garmin watch to update, then sit back and find out what these new updates mean for you.
You’re in for a treat because most of these new updates are aimed specifically at runners. The most notable of these are the new wrist-based running dynamics. In the same way as you currently get updated with to-the-minute pace, heart rate, and elevation gain, you can now add to the mix cadence, stride length, and ground contact time. Whether you’re looking to run your best race or make every training session count, these additional metrics will give you a deeper insight into your running on the go.
It’s essential to understand what sort of load you’re working under when it comes to training. Previous Garmin watches showed your short and long-term load, but this new update includes a mid-term load to track your changes and avoid training setbacks. If you’re heading to altitude to train or race, this new update also includes an enhancement on the acclimatization tracking. You can track your progress and change your training load as your body adapts.
The final running-specific element to the update is for all you obstacle racers out there. Garmin has added an obstacle race activity that tracks time, number of obstacles, heart rate, and splits between the individual obstacles on the course.
Cyclists, don’t be disheartened when I tell you that there’s only one update for you because it’s big. The targeted adaptive coaching transforms your Garmin watch into your new cycling coach on your wrist. Your watch will track your progress and performance to give you daily suggested workouts to maximize your cycling. If you’re training for a race or a cycling event, upload this into your Garmin calendar, and your coaching will be targeted specifically to meet the demands of the event. If that’s not a big update, I don’t know what is.
The new updates have already been released and are available on the fēnix 7 series, Forerunner series, Instinct 2 series, Enduro 2, epix (Gen 2), and the MARQ (Gen 2). For a complete list of compatible devices and more information, head over to Garmin. If you’ve already updated, lace up those shoes or clip up that helmet and head out the door.
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