Garmin Rolls out New Features to Forerunner 245/745/945 in Beta: Workout ratings, FirstBeat Sleep Tracking, Trail Running and more

Christina Wilkins

Just a quick item to start the morning off, but it appears Garmin rolled out overnight two beta firmware versions for Forerunner 245, Forerunner 745, and Forerunner 945 users that include long-awaited features from last fall, but also more recent features from the Garmin Enduro in the past few months. Both […]

Just a quick item to start the morning off, but it appears Garmin rolled out overnight two beta firmware versions for Forerunner 245, Forerunner 745, and Forerunner 945 users that include long-awaited features from last fall, but also more recent features from the Garmin Enduro in the past few months. Both of these are being released as a public beta, so you can go download them if you want. For this cycle, I don’t expect the public beta will last too long – meaning if you don’t want to try beta software, I don’t think you’ll be waiting long for the production releases.

Here’s what each of them is getting (the links are there to download the beta versions if you want):

Forerunner 745 New Additions (Beta Firmware 4.85 release notes):

  • Added sleep tracking widget with sleep score and insights by Firstbeat Analytics
  • Added the ability to rate the perceived effort and feel of a Run, Bike, or Swim activity. The prompts appear during activity save. Go to [Activity] Settings > Self Evaluation for options
  • Added Ultra Run activity profile
  • Added VO2 Max for Trail Run activities
  • Improved results for daily Body Battery calculations [This is a bigger deal than this line item hints at]
  • Updated Intensity Minutes determinations to align with guidance from CDC
  • Added metabolic calories into the total calories reported in the calories data field and recorded in the activity file

Forerunner 245 New Additions (Beta Firmware 6.85 release notes – and 245 Music here):

  • Added Daily Suggested Workouts (limited) for Run activities. Go to Training > Workouts > Today’s Suggestion for options
  • Added the ability to rate the perceived effort and feel of a Run, Bike, or Swim activity. The prompts appear during activity save. Go to [Activity] Settings > Self Evaluation for options
  • Added VO2 Max for Trail Run activities
  • Improved results for daily Body Battery calculations
  • Updated Intensity Minutes determinations to align with guidance from CDC

Forerunner 945 New Additions (Beta firmware 6.85 release notes):

  • Added sleep tracking widget with sleep score and insights by Firstbeat Analytics
  • Added the ability to rate the perceived effort and feel of a Run, Bike, or Swim activity. The prompts appear during activity save. Go to [Activity] Settings > Self Evaluation for options.
  • Added Ultra Run activity profile.
  • Added VO2 Max for Trail Run activities.
  • Improved results for daily Body Battery calculations.
  • Updated Intensity Minutes determinations to align with guidance from CDC.
  • Added metabolic calories into the total calories reported in the calories data field and recorded in the activity file.

(Side note: Normally we see Forerunner 245/745/945 firmware releases happen mostly concurrently. However, I wouldn’t overthink a lack of firmware update for the FR945 last night as some mysterious sign. It’s set to get all of these features that it doesn’t yet have, including the Enduro ones previously noted – something I re-confirmed with Garmin mere days ago. It’s far more likely simply a case of yesterday’s build not passing a QC check to be released to public beta like the FR245/745 builds.)  Update: It’s here now – added above! 

Now, most of these things are ones that we’ve seen before on other watches. As a quick refresher:

– Advanced FirstBeat Sleep Tracking: Launched in beta on Fenix 6 last summer, and more recently on Enduro & Venu 2/2S
– Ultra Run Activity Profile: Launched with Enduro & Fenix 6 this past winter
VO2Max Corrections for Trail Run Activities: Launched with Enduro & Fenix 6 this past winter
Improved body battery calculations: Launched with Venu 2/2S last week
Daily Suggested Workouts: This launched on the Edge 1030 Plus series last summer for cycling, and the Forerunner 745 for running  last September

However, the perceived effort tracking one is new to the best of my knowledge. First, you’ll need to enable it, within the settings of swim/bike/run activity profiles. It’ll show a new option called ‘Self Evaluation’:

Garmin-Forerunner-Self-Evaluation-Setting

Once you crack that open, you’ll get two options: Workouts only, or  Always. The ‘Workouts Only’ actually means “structured workouts only”, as if following a structured workout you downloaded.

Garmin-Forerunner-Self-Evaluation-Workouts-Always-On

Once enabled, anytime you press save, you’ll get two quick rotary-style question prompts to rate your workout and how you felt. Because I haven’t gotten to my workout yet today, here’s a quick 2-second test activity. First, you’ll choose a grade between 1-10, with the colors getting more ‘intense’ as you go along. Then you’ll choose from non-colorful smiley faces. Apparently they ran out of Crayons in the box at this point:

DSC_4346 DSC_4347

That’s it. At that point it gives you the workout summary like normal (meaning, this is immediately shown upon pressing save, but before you get things like total distance and such). This is relatively similar to what Suunto introduced a number of years back, I think on the Suunto 9, but it might have been the Suunto Spartan series. Either way, a long time ago.

Afterwards, on Garmin Connect and Garmin Connect Mobile, you’ll see these ratings displayed there. As I said, this was a very intense workout for me, all 2-seconds of it:

image

Now, I was hoping this might come through to TrainingPeaks, but alas, it doesn’t. At least – not yet anyway. This would be super helpful for coaches if it did, helping to bridge the gap between athletes that fill in complete “how the workout went” details after every workout, versus those athletes that don’t bother to do anything and let the coach try and use his or her imagination. This seems viable middle-ground.

image

Meanwhile, on sleep tracking, it’s nice to have this back on my Forerunner 745. When I first started testing the FR745 last August it was there, and then it got pulled out at the last second to fix issues. I’ve had it again lately while testing the Venu 2 series, and it’s handy. I loaded up the beta last night on the Forerunner 745, and then went to bed.

(Somewhat interestingly/cool, Garmin did actually pull down the previous night’s sleep data into the watch to display in the watch, which was from the Venu 2. Kinda neat.)

In any case, here’s what it showed this morning, after my children decided to actually sleep-in for once. This is down in the widget glances roll:

DSC_4337

And then I can tap on that specific widget to see a gallery of sleep details:

Again, no different than what we saw with Enduro, Fenix 6, or the Venu 2/2S.

However, there is that aforementioned difference with Body Battery. With the Venu 2/2S last week, they’ve rolled out a new algorithm that basically more heavily weights your sleep (or rather, lack thereof) into the Body Battery calculations. Said simply: It’s far harder to get to 100% ‘re-charged’ on a mediocre (or crappy) night of sleep. I showed this in the Venu 2 review with data on relatively similar sleep-quantity/quality weeks, in how rare it was to get to/near 100% with the new algorithm:

Body-battery-Before-Venu2 Body-Battery-After-Venu-2

In the case of last night with the Forerunner 745 and the new Body Battery algorithm, I continued what I saw with Venu, in that I only topped out at 71%, versus this amount of sleep on the previous firmware undoubtedly would have given me a champion-level 100% score.

Ok – with that, I’ll let you go off and update to the beta build if you want, or not if you plan to simply wait till the production builds go out. Updating to the beta build takes just a couple of minutes (but does require a computer to copy the file over). As always, beta versions can have risk, though in this case I think that risk is pretty darn low. Still, if you’ve got some big race this weekend or something – never use beta firmware for your ‘A’ races.

(And side note: If using the Forerunner 245 or 245 Music, make sure you click the correct link above for whether you have Music or not-Music versions. It won’t hurt your watch if you grab the wrong one – it just won’t update. Trust me, I tried…)

With that – thanks for reading!

(Also, another side note – while checking to see if the Forerunner 745 was on sale right now, I noticed the Forerunner 245 is currently on sale today on Amazon for $50 off, to $249. Meanwhile, the Forerunner 945 is showing on sale at $524 – some $75 off. FYI.)

Found This Post Useful? Support The Site!

Hopefully you found this review useful. At the end of the day, I’m an athlete just like you looking for the most detail possible on a new purchase – so my review is written from the standpoint of how I used the device. The reviews generally take a lot of hours to put together, so it’s a fair bit of work (and labor of love). As you probably noticed by looking below, I also take time to answer all the questions posted in the comments – and there’s quite a bit of detail in there as well.

If you’re shopping for the Garmin Forerunner 245, Garmin Forerunner 745 or Garmin Forerunner 945 or any other accessory items, please consider using the affiliate links below! As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. It doesn’t cost you anything extra, but your purchases help support this website a lot. Even more, if you use Backcountry.com or Competitive Cyclist with coupon code DCRAINMAKER, first time users save 15% on applicable products!

And finally, here’s a handy list of accessories that work well with this unit (and some that I showed in the review). Given the unit pairs with ANT+ & Bluetooth Smart sensors, you can use just about anything though.

This is a dual ANT+/Bluetooth Smart cycling cadence sensor that you strap to your crank arm, but also does dual Bluetooth Smart, so you can pair it both to Zwift and another Bluetooth Smart app at once if you want.

This is one of the top straps I use daily for accuracy comparisons (the others Polar H9/H10 and Wahoo TICKR X). It’s dual ANT+/Bluetooth Smart, and in fact dual-Bluetooth Smart too, in case you need multiple connectons.

This is the pinnacle of Garmin chest straps, and includes dual ANT+ & Bluetooth Smart, Swimming support, Running Dynamics, as well as back-fill of HR/Steps/Intensity Minutes/Calories if not wearing the watch in certain sports. Note: Not all watches support Running Dynamics/Swimming HR backfill, check your watch first!

While optical HR works on some newer Garmin watches, if you’re looking for higher levels of accuracy, the HRM-TRI or HRM-SWIM are less expensive than the HRM-PRO, but lack the Bluetooth connectivity and a few other features.

Seriously, this will change your life. $9 for a two-pack of these puck Garmin chargers that stay put and stay connected. One for the office, one for your bedside, another for your bag, and one for your dog’s house. Just in case.

This speed sensor is unique in that it can record offline (sans-watch), making it perfect for a commuter bike quietly recording your rides. But it’s also a standard ANT+/BLE sensor that pairs to your device. It’s become my go-to speed sensor.

And of course – you can always sign-up to be a DCR Supporter! That gets you an ad-free DCR, access to the DCR Quarantine Corner video series packed with behind the scenes tidbits…and it also makes you awesome. And being awesome is what it’s all about!

Thanks for reading! And as always, feel free to post comments or questions in the comments section below, I’ll be happy to try and answer them as quickly as possible. And lastly, if you felt this review was useful – I always appreciate feedback in the comments below. Thanks!

Found This Post Useful? Support The Site!

Hopefully you found this review useful. At the end of the day, I’m an athlete just like you looking for the most detail possible on a new purchase – so my review is written from the standpoint of how I used the device. The reviews generally take a lot of hours to put together, so it’s a fair bit of work (and labor of love). As you probably noticed by looking below, I also take time to answer all the questions posted in the comments – and there’s quite a bit of detail in there as well.

If you’re shopping for the Garmin Forerunner 245, Garmin Forerunner 745 or Garmin Forerunner 945 or any other accessory items, please consider using the affiliate links below! As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. It doesn’t cost you anything extra, but your purchases help support this website a lot. Even more, if you use Backcountry.com or Competitive Cyclist with coupon code DCRAINMAKER, first time users save 15% on applicable products!

And finally, here’s a handy list of accessories that work well with this unit (and some that I showed in the review). Given the unit pairs with ANT+ & Bluetooth Smart sensors, you can use just about anything though.

This is a dual ANT+/Bluetooth Smart cycling cadence sensor that you strap to your crank arm, but also does dual Bluetooth Smart, so you can pair it both to Zwift and another Bluetooth Smart app at once if you want.

This is one of the top straps I use daily for accuracy comparisons (the others Polar H9/H10 and Wahoo TICKR X). It’s dual ANT+/Bluetooth Smart, and in fact dual-Bluetooth Smart too, in case you need multiple connectons.

This is the pinnacle of Garmin chest straps, and includes dual ANT+ & Bluetooth Smart, Swimming support, Running Dynamics, as well as back-fill of HR/Steps/Intensity Minutes/Calories if not wearing the watch in certain sports. Note: Not all watches support Running Dynamics/Swimming HR backfill, check your watch first!

While optical HR works on some newer Garmin watches, if you’re looking for higher levels of accuracy, the HRM-TRI or HRM-SWIM are less expensive than the HRM-PRO, but lack the Bluetooth connectivity and a few other features.

Seriously, this will change your life. $9 for a two-pack of these puck Garmin chargers that stay put and stay connected. One for the office, one for your bedside, another for your bag, and one for your dog’s house. Just in case.

This speed sensor is unique in that it can record offline (sans-watch), making it perfect for a commuter bike quietly recording your rides. But it’s also a standard ANT+/BLE sensor that pairs to your device. It’s become my go-to speed sensor.

And of course – you can always sign-up to be a DCR Supporter! That gets you an ad-free DCR, access to the DCR Quarantine Corner video series packed with behind the scenes tidbits…and it also makes you awesome. And being awesome is what it’s all about!

Thanks for reading! And as always, feel free to post comments or questions in the comments section below, I’ll be happy to try and answer them as quickly as possible. And lastly, if you felt this review was useful – I always appreciate feedback in the comments below. Thanks!

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