What Can the Garmin Forerunner 945 Tell Us About the Future of Wearables?

Herman Bonner

Herman BonnerCommunications Specialist, Firstbeat

Wearable Devices

The Garmin Forerunner 945 is the latest flagship GPS multi-sport packed with Firstbeat features

Across the consumer technology landscape, a handful of devices typically showcase the innovations that propel the industry forward towards the future. New concepts and features that prove useful are copied forward until they gradually become standards and it becomes difficult to imagine life without them.

The Garmin Forerunner 945 is the latest flagship GPS multi-sport watch from the market leader for the performance-oriented smartwatches. It’s predecessor, the Forerunner 935, was introduced to the world two years ago in the Spring of 2017. Groundbreaking in many ways, the FR935 debuted many of the key physiological and training monitoring features that have since become standardized across the Garmin fitness and outdoor product lines.

Examples of this introduction and standardization phenomenon from the FR935 include big picture training insights like Training Load and Training Status, which track and interpret the total strain of your activities and how they impact your fitness level. The addition of Anaerobic Training Effect meant real-time prediction of how your current activity would influence the development of future aerobic performance capacity for the first time.  Added shortly after the initial launch in the form of a firmware update. All-day Stress monitoring also debuted onboard the Garmin Forerunner 935.

Each of these innovations is the result of Garmin’s longstanding relationship with Firstbeat Technologies, the industry’s leading developer and licensor of advanced performance analytics. The successful collaborative relationship between Garmin and Firstbeat extends back to 2009’s Forerunner 405CX, which introduced a then new heart rate-based calorie burn analysis to GPS watches.

Those eager to predict where the industry is heading can look with confidence to the Forerunner 945 as a showcase of analytic capabilities that will likely have far reaching impact on the entire industry.

Heat and Altitude Acclimation Feedback

Our environment impacts our ability to perform at our best. Challenging conditions like hot and humid climates and high-altitude settings negatively impact performance when first encountered. Exposure over time, however, triggers key physiological adaptations that enable us to perform better in these conditions. This is known as the acclimatization process.

The latest generation of fitness (VO2max) detection analysis onboard the Forerunner 945 recognizes and accounts for the impact of environment on performance along with how your body acclimates to it.

Garmin Forerunner 945 - VO2max

In addition to improving the reliability of training metrics across the board in even the toughest conditions, the Forerunner 945 goes the extra mile and uses this information to provide regular updates on how well your body has adapted to your current environment.

Training Load Focus

Different kinds of efforts produce different kinds of results, and your performance is only as strong as your weakest link. A smart, well-balanced approach to training incorporates a variety of efforts in the right amounts construct a strong foundation that will protect your body from injury and ensure that you are ready to tackle whatever challenge comes next.

The new Load Focus data screen builds on the success of Training Load and Training Status to reveal for the first time how three key, physiologically meaningful, types of effort contributed to your total training load.

Training Status and Training Load Balance

Low-intensity Aerobic activities enhance recovery and build your endurance base. High-intensity Aerobic efforts boost your VO2max and fatigue resistance. Anaerobic efforts are marked by dynamic changes in intensity like interval training and sports performance, where performance demands are constantly changing.

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Workout Labels

Successful, performance-oriented athletes understand that each workout they perform plays a specific role and fills a specific function in their development. This understanding is honed through years of experience and instructive guidance. In support of this scientific training perspective, performance data is analyzed in real time during each activity you reveal the role or primary developmental benefit each activity you record.

Garmin Forerunner 945 - Workout Labels

These Workout Labels instantly identify whether your efforts are expected to develop your endurance base, enhanced fatigue resistance, or raised the ceiling on your aerobic or anaerobic performance capabilities. This feedback plays an important role in helping athletes of all experience levels strive effectively towards their own maximum potential, confident that they are on the right track with workouts that match their goals.

Body Battery

Smartwatches are sometimes criticized for providing a steadily increasing and occasionally overwhelming amount of data. Body Battery represents an innovative step towards solving that problem. The energy draining effects of physical activity and stress are put in the balance against the restorative power of restful moments during the day and sleep.

Garmin Forerunner 945 - Body Battery

As a result, you can keep tabs on your energy levels throughout the day and see when you have the resources available to benefit from a challenge, or when it would be wiser to take things a bit easier.

Incremental Advances for Recovery Time and Race Time Prediction

The Garmin Forerunner 945 also takes key strides towards enhancing the reliability of feedback available from features that have been staples of the collection for many years. These include behind the scenes improvements to the analytics used to predict Recovery Time after workouts and race times for popular distances from 5k to marathons.

Aligned with the latest advances in sports science, the Recovery Time advisor has been updated to account for how changes Training Load affect the body’s ability to restore itself and adapt in response to exercise.  Additionally, the amount of recovery time prescribed following unusually challenging activities has been lengthened based on the latest developments in the field.

The updated Race Time Predictor utilizes the traditional prediction method that combines your current VO2max fitness level with models that anticipate the sustainability of effort across various intensities. It builds on this approach, however, by incorporating insight gleaned from an analysis of trends in your running mileage, training load, and long runs which play a key role in developing endurance performance. The result is a substantial improvement in the reliability of predicted finish times across the board.

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Herman Bonner

Herman Bonner Communications Specialist, Firstbeat

Herman is a former U.S. World Cup fencer, coach and high-performance manager. Keen to explore how people make sense of the world around them, Herman currently thrives at the bustling intersection of technology and everyday life. His educational interests include mechanical engineering, economics, ethnomethodology, and sports management with a focus on marketing and communications.

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