#WhyDoYouRun: Garmin Forerunner 45 vs Forerunner 245

For about one and a half years now, my Garmin running watch has always been with me and has played a big part in all my training sessions. I hardly ever take it off, because the watch provides valuable information about my daily fitness and activity levels, motivates me to achieve my personal best, highlights already achieved training success and even helps to optimize my ongoing training. The running watch replaces the role of a personal coach and I find it therefore impossible to imagine my daily training without it.

My first blog post about the functions and personal use of the running watch from the Garmin Forerunner collection can be found here. The Forerunner 645 M made preparing for my first half-marathon much easier and offered the best support possible. At the moment my endurance training is a little less ambitious, whilst still maintaining my basic endurance level I have acquired through the half marathon training, with two to three running units per week. I run, because I love to exercise outdoors. Not only does it fill me with a sense of freedom, it also offers the possibility to easily adjust my training according to my current condition of well being, to me these are surely clear arguments speaking in favour of jogging. In addition, from a health point of view, running is the ideal complement to strength training and stretching. Because, as you probably know by now, holistic athletes intrigue me the most.

I’m pleased to now introduce you to two additional models from the Forerunner- family in cooperation with Garmin.  No matter how you design your running training – from easy going to passionate, from occasional to full blown marathon – there is definitely a matching model for all running enthusiasts available.

During the last few weeks, I have put the Forerunner 45 and the Forerunner 245 through their paces and yes, I have even worn both watches at the same time, so that I could compare them directly. I’d like to share with you now my findings, regarding the differences between the two watches, so that all of you who are thinking about getting one of the two Garmin Forerunner models will have a better overview, and that it will be easier for you to decide which one might suit you better.

Design and Workmanship

The two Forerunner models don’t differ much in look and feel. I personally find that the Garmin designs and craftsmanship of all their watches are of a very high quality and elegant design. There are a few minor differences in the  quality between the two models. While the Forerunner 45, for example, is built with a bit more plastic, the side buttons of the Forerunner 245 are made of metal. Both watches offer a color display  which is easy to read even in direct sunlight. However, the display of the Forerunner 245 is less susceptible to scratches and fingerprints due to its material composition. Additionally, its resolution is a bit higher, although the display of the Forerunner 45 hardly falls short in comparison.

Both watches have a display diameter of 3.04 centimetres. For those who find this too big, the Forerunner 45 gives you the option of choosing a smaller version (it is designated with the letter “S” in the name) with a diameter of 2.63 centimetres. Depending on the design there are different colours to choose from. My personal preference for both models, is a timeless and summery white. Both watches are equipped with a silicone strap suitable for sports. While the wristband of the Forerunner 45 is attached with screws, the Forerunner 245 allows to change or replace it in no time at all, without the need for any tools.

Sensors and Navigation

The optimal music playback feature of the Forerunner 245 is for me certainly the most important aspect to mention here. The version of the Forerunner 245, equipped with the music playback option costs about sFr. 50.- more, but in my opinion definitely worth the extra cost. With the simple Bluetooth pairing of a premium account from Spotify or any other popular music streaming portal, you can leave your phone at home without having to give up listening to music during your workout.

In addition to the optical pulse sensors, the Forerunner 245 has also active red pulse sensor LEDs which are able to, on your wrist, estimate the oxygen saturation of the blood. The oxygen saturation rates allow you to calculate how well your body adapts to training and stress.

The location and navigation functions of both watches are similar and very accurate. The Forerunner 245 also features a compass function. In GPS mode, the Forerunner 245 has a battery life of roughly 24 to 30 hours, which is about twice as long as the Forerunner 45 has. But let’s be honest: A battery life of 13 hours is completely sufficient to last for several marathons in a row, or very long hikes, and is therefore no reason for me to deduct any points.

Fitness tracking and Sports Features

In addition to the usual fitness tracking data and information collected, such as number of steps taken, heart rate, intensity of movement, and steps climbed, both Forerunner models can also be used for sleep tracking. But the stress level measurement can only be done with the Forerunner 245.

On both watches you can store different sport activities such as treadmill, bike, walking, yoga, stepper, cardio, indoor training and general training. The Forerunner 45 is limited to 6 sports profiles, with running being set already. The strength training and swimming sport profiles are only available on Forerunner 245. However, the Forerunner 45 is waterproof too.

Software and Apps

The Garmin Connect app for Android and IOS can of course be downloaded for free from the App Store. This gives you quick access and the best overview of your fitness data and training performance. Via the Connect IQ app, Garmin’s own app store, you can install additional features and metrics like maps and games and so on. This function is reserved for Forerunner 245 only. Different additional screen designs are available for the Forerunner 45 as well. For me, however, this is not a significant disadvantage, because I have never used them before.

For both models you can download free customizable training plans, which can be modified based on your goals as well as receive additional information from experienced coaches. To receive these you pass on your own fitness data like, for example, how many kilometers you run on average each week. The Garmin app guides you step by step, looking at your goal, while working out your personal training plan. The training will be synchronized directly with the watch. I think this function is absolutely top.

Further professional functions

For serious athletes, the Forerunner 245 offers advanced running and fitness analysis (Garmin calls it Running Dynamics). These are interesting for those of you who want to get even more out of your training. It provides data on training condition and training load, has a recovery guide and can make running time forecasts. This allows you to plan and control your training in the best possible way. The Forerunner 245 also provides facts and figures on vertical movement, ground contact time, stride length and personal training and performance status.

The Forerunner 245 has even more additional features. You can run against a fixed pace that remains constant over the duration of the activity (Virtual Partner) or you can run against the dynamic pace of previous activities of your own or other users (Virtual Racer). It helps you find your way back safely via the back-to-start function, even in unknown terrain and areas (very useful for everyone with a similarly weak sense of orientation as me 😉 ) as well as indicating the distance back to your destination.

Conclusion

Both Forerunner models are very similar in their basic functions, standard features and controls and are easy to use.

The Forerunner 45 as an affordable beginner’s model (if you can call it that at all). It is a reliable and very accurate running watch. Nevertheless it has advanced functions too, such as the pairing with training plans. It is aimed at all recreational runners who want to improve their fitness and endurance performance, primarily focusing on running.

The Forerunner 245 is the perfect running watch for ambitious athletes who are looking for more detailed information about personal training results and tailored inputs to improve their training and are not limited to running but are also frequently cycling or swimming. I definitely would not want to miss the music function anymore. For those of you who regularly train with music in your ears, I would strongly recommend this running watch.

I hope I could be of some help to those of you choosing your future Garmin running watch. I am interested of course if, and how, you track your training sessions and I look forward to the exchange in the comments section.

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2 Comments
  • Dana Allen
    Posted at 01:42h, 14 September Reply

    I just purchased the Garmin 245 and am looking forward to using it for my training. I am a runner/power walker.

  • Laura Garcia
    Posted at 04:05h, 17 September Reply

    I am a runner/walker and I train witha forerunner 235 and looking to upgrade because I need a more accurate heart rate but I love the idea of leaving the phone at home.

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