Best Garmin Watches for Triathlons

Best Garmin Watch for Triathlon
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Triathlons are extremely challenging and competitive. With so many high-performing competitors, anything that gives you an edge in training or competition is more than welcome. As with most sports training and performance, technology can give you that edge. More specifically, wearable tech that can track your performance give you important details and even block out the distracting noises. This is where Garmin watches can help triathletes train and perform at their best.

In a Hurry? Here are Our Top Choices

The Best Garmin Watches for Triathlons

We have done the research and come with up the best Garmin watch for triathlons, some great picks for different price points as well.

Garmin Forerunner 945

The Garmin Forerunner 945 is a premium GPS running/triathlon smartwatch with music and premium performance and everyday features. Triathletes can download their favorite songs and playlists from Deezer, Amazon Music, or Spotify and practice or compete in triathlons with music on the go.

The GPS brings built-in full-color maps to your wrists, optimized for at-a-glance navigation and location tracking so you never get lost in dense trails or new city streets. The Trendline feature allows you to follow the best routes possible, thanks to the billions of miles of Garmin Connect data.

The Forerunner 945 is truly smart because it is packed with features that allow you to train smarter, not harder. The performance tracker tracks your VO2 max, adjusting the value based on altitude and heat so you never have to.

Training status updates you to tell if you are training productively, peaking, or overreaching your limits through indicators and recent performance history. Recovery time allows you to max out the benefits of your training and tells you when you are ready for another big challenge.

There is also other useful stuff like heart-rate monitoring, Pulse Ox sensor for blood-oxygen saturation levels, advanced sleep monitoring, and incident detection to share location with emergency contacts if something unfortunate happens.

The Garmin Forerunner 945 is truly the best Garmin watch for triathlons.

Pros

  • Lightweight with stylish design
  • Advanced global color mapping features
  • Music on-the-go (up to 1,000 songs)
  • Full-range performance tracking
  • Create or download custom workout and training plans
  • Garmin Pay – contactless payment
  • Incident detection
  • Long-lasting battery life

Cons

  • Price is relatively high

Garmin Fenix 5 Plus

The Fenix 5 Plus is a premium, rugged Garmin smartwatch with GPS, mapping, music, and multisport performance tracking features. The color mapping and Trendline feature use Garmin Connect data to give you the best routes and trails.

Built for the outdoors, its stainless steel bezels and buttons will keep you going on the roughest of trails without the worry of damaging your smartwatch. The music feature can hold up to 500 songs, and the watch’s Bluetooth connectivity lets you listen as you go.

The mapping features use a 3-axis compass, gyroscope, barometric altimeter, and multiple satellite system networks to track and map in more challenging environments than GPS alone. It can download the Running Power app to give you metrics like pace, vertical oscillation, grade, and local wind conditions for improved performance tracking.

Performance tracking also lets you track workout stats, measure progress, and optimize your form. The heart-rate monitor can calculate stress scores beyond normal features, like sleep monitoring or step counting. However, battery life is not among the top features of the Fenix 5 Plus.

Pros

  • Rugged build and design
  • Advanced global color mapping features
  • Music on-the-go (up to 500 songs)
  • Full-range performance tracking
  • Download custom workout and training plans
  • Garmin Pay – contactless payment

Cons

  • Price is relatively high
  • Average battery life
  • No incident detection

Garmin Forerunner 245 Music

Yet another smartwatch from Garmin’s Forerunner line, the 245 Music is an excellent budget-friendly option that provides many premium features without breaking the bank. Triathletes can now enjoy up to 500 songs taken from their Spotify or Deezer.

Its advanced performance analytics evaluate exercise history, performance metrics, and even give you personalized training and recovery insight so you can do the competing while the watch does the thinking.

With activity profiles for running, cycling, pool swimming, indoor rowing, and using the elliptical or stair-stepper, triathletes get comprehensive performance metrics every time. This Garmin smartwatch has all the important features triathletes need, including incident detection, without the luxury features.

Even though the battery life is not that great, you can still get up to 6-hours of full GPS and performance features with music. This is an excellent budget-friendly option for the best Garmin watch for triathlons.

Pros

  • Great value for money
  • Great GPS and performance tracking features
  • Create or download custom workout and training plans
  • Incident detection
  • Music on-the-go (up to 500 songs)

Cons

  • Not the best design
  • No color mapping features
  • No contactless Garmin Pay
  • Average battery life
  • Advanced running dynamics like ground contact time balance, stride length, vertical ratio require purchasing separate devices, like the HRM-Tri Monitor

Garmin Forerunner 735XT

The Garmin Forerunner 735XT is another GPS running smartwatch with multisport features for triathletes. Its heart monitoring lets you run without worry, and the long-lasting battery allows you to use the comprehensive GPS features for up to 14 hours.

The watch gives you advanced dynamics for running, cycling, and swimming. This includes ground contact, time balance, stride length, vertical ratio, and much more, especially when paired with HRM-Tri Monitor or Running Dynamics Pod.

The race predictor, advanced running dynamics, and recovery advisor uses advanced sensors to evaluate and give you up-to-date performance information. Even the VO2 Max features works similar to how it does in the Forerunner 945.

The lack of features, like color mapping, music, and Garmin Pay, makes the 735XT a much less expensive option than other options.

Pros

  • Fairly priced
  • Lightweight, shock-resistant with stylish design
  • Good GPS and performance tracking features
  • Long-lasting battery

Cons

  • No contactless Garmin Pay
  • No color mapping or music features
  • No incident detection
  • Advanced running dynamics, like ground contact time balance, stride length, vertical ratio require purchasing separate devices like the HRM-Tri Monitor

Features to Consider

Here are some features to consider when selecting the best Garmin watch for triathlons.

GPS & Mapping Features

Not every Garmin watch has advanced GPS and mapping features. If you opt for a watch with these features, the price will rise significantly. However, these features are well worth the money because they give you valuable information, allowing you to focus on what matters.

Performance Tracking Features

While most Garmin watches will give you performance tracking features, like VO2 Max, training status, and basic performance metrics, some features like advanced running dynamics may require purchasing separate devices.

Always make sure the watch has the performance tracking features you want before selecting.

Luxury Features

Not everyone needs music for training and competing, and if you aren’t big on music, opt for a watch without music features to save money and battery life. Moreover, features like Garmin Pay and a premium or stylish design do not matter for triathlons and can be compromised to save money.

That being said, all Garmin watches have the basic smartwatch and connectivity features that make them great for everyday use.

Battery Life

Triathlon training and competing using the full features of your watch will drain the battery very quickly. You may want to consider battery life with features like GPS, performance tracking, and music in use. The better the battery life, the more you can get out of your Garmin watch.

Our Final Thoughts

Garmin makes excellent multisport smartwatches that give triathletes the performance tracking they need and more. You cannot go wrong with any of the watches mentioned in this post, and your choice should depend on your feature preferences.

If we had to choose, we would pick the Garmin Forerunner 245 Music as it’s the best budget pick for triathletes who want the most value for their money in terms of relevant features and don’t mind compromising on style.

Still, the Garmin Forerunner 945 is hands down the best Garmin watch for triathlons because of its full-range performance tracking, GPS, and mapping capabilities. Moreover, its Garmin Pay, music features, long-lasting battery life, and premium design make it excellent for everyday use as well.

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