Garmin’s new Forerunner 745 smartwatch and HRM Pro hit the ground running

Garmin's new smartwatch is the perfect running partner (Image credit: Erika Dulay)

The latest generation GPS-enabled adventurous smartwatch has just been released by Garmin, along with a heartrate monitor that transmits real-time data, providing outdoor athletes with accurate and instant information to improve their performance while they’re still out running or cycling through the hills.

The Forerunner 745, which hit the dirt running in mid September, comes loaded with detailed performance metrics, plus workout and smart recovery suggestions, while the HRM Pro boasts dual transmission (via Bluetooth and ANT+) and a strap with 5 ATM water resistance, so it can be paired with a smartwatch for wild swimming escapades.

The latest edition of the popular Forerunner family, the 745 also comes equipped with all of Garmin’s main wellness features, including body battery, pulse ox and stress.

Suitable for wild runners, cyclists and swimmers, the Forerunner 745 (direct descendent of the Forerunner 735XT) should also be excellent for adventure racers and multisport athletes, because you can quickly and easily switch between activities at the squeeze of a button during transition in a race, or mid training session.

“For years, athletes have relied on the Forerunner 735XT as they toe the line and we're excited to bring new features and updates to the Forerunner 745,” said Dan Bartel, Garmin vice president of worldwide sales.

“Tracking every sweaty run, bumpy bike ride and long swim, the Forerunner 745 combines the performance monitoring tools our athletes have come to depend on with new daily suggested workouts, as well as an improved recovery time advisor and wellness tracking features, to help runners and triathletes beat their personal best.”

The watch’s tech toolkit includes key performance monitoring methodology from Firstbeat Analytics like VO2 max, training load, training status and aerobic and anaerobic training effects. Adventurers can even receive on-device running and cycling daily workout suggestions based on their current training load and VO2 max.

The Forerunner 745 boasts Garmin Coach compatibility

The Forerunner 745 boasts Garmin Coach compatibility (Image credit: Erika Dulay)

With the addition of a Running Dynamics Pod or compatible heart rate strap – like the new HRM-Pro – data-crunching runners can see all six running metrics including cadence, stride length and more, displayed on the watch. Cyclists can track data such as left/right balance, power phase, and learn how long they’ve spent seated and standing out of the saddle. For swimmers, the Forerunner 745 will track distance, stroke, pace, personal records and more.

After assessing time spent out on the trails or cycling the hills, and effort expended, the improved recovery time feature lets you know how long to rest before getting back on the trails or into the saddle. It also accounts for other factors that impact recovery, including all-day stress, sleep patterns and daily activities, and will adjust the recovery time on the watch accordingly, making it easy to maximise your training sessions.

To help keep you motivated, the Forerunner 745 is compatible with Garmin Coach, free training plans that adapt based on a runner's goals and performance. You can train for a 5km, 10km or half-marathon–distance run with the help of three coaches – Jeff Galloway, Greg McMillan and Amy Parkerson-Mitchell.

The strap is also suitable for wild swimming

The strap is also suitable for wild swimming (Image credit: Erika Dulay)

Runners and cyclists can also plan and download routes using the course creator in Garmin Connect, which employs Trendline popularity routing to provide the best road, trail or mountain routes sourced and aggregated from those most used by fellow adventurers. Platforms such as Strava and Komoot also seamlessly sync to the Forerunner 745. Post race or training session, the Forerunner 745 will automatically upload activities to Garmin Connect.

The Forerunner 745’s battery will last up to one week in smartwatch mode, around 16 hours in GPS mode, and up to 6 hours in GPS mode with music (the watch stores up to 500 songs and lets users sync playlists from select preloaded music streaming services3 such as Spotify, Amazon Music and Deezer, or transfer music from a computer). The HRM-Pro heartrate monitor has a user-replaceable battery that will last for up to a year.

If you start to hunger flat on the trail while wearing the Forerunner 745, you can purchase food and drink directly from the wrist with Garmin Pay. You can also receive text messages and view social media updates, emails and more, even while out on the trails, and there are several built-in safety and tracking features, including incident detection, assistance and LiveTrack to let friends follow you on a run or ride on the wild side.

The Forerunner 745 is also available in neo tropic and magma red

The Forerunner 745 is also available in neo tropic and magma red (Image credit: Erika Dulay)

And the watch even continues to keep an eye on you, tracking your wellbeing even when you’re not out adventuring. A wrist-based Pulse Ox sensor 5 helps you monitor your sleep, and offers an insight into how you are adjusting to altitude acclimation. Meanwhile, the Body Battery energy monitor lets you track your energy levels, revealing your optimal time for activity and rest. The menstrual cycle tracking feature helps women adjust their training sessions to maximize improvement potential, and plan for upcoming races and challenges based on where they are in their cycle.

The HRM-Pro heartrate monitor continues to store steps, calories and intensity minutes even when you take your smartwatch off (for example to participate in activities like team sports or martial arts), and it will subsequently sync that data with the watch via Garmin Connect.

Available now in black, neo tropic, magma red or whitestone, the Forerunner 745 retails in the UK for £450.

Featuring a lightweight heart rate monitoring module and a comfortable strap, the HRM-Pro retails in the UK for £120.

Pat Kinsella

Author of Caving, Canyoning, Coasteering…, a recently released book about all kinds of outdoor adventures around Britain, Pat has spent 20 years pursuing stories involving boots, bikes, boats, beers and bruises. En route he’s canoed Canada’s Yukon River, climbed Mont Blanc and Kilimanjaro, skied and mountain biked through the Norwegian Alps, run an ultra across the roof of Mauritius, and set short-lived records for trail-running Australia’s highest peaks and New Zealand’s Great Walks. He’s authored walking guides to Devon and Dorset, and once wrote a whole book about Toilets for Lonely Planet. Follow Pat’s escapades on Strava here and Instagram here.