Garmin Forerunner 745 – Best GPS Multisport Watch

The Garmin Forerunner 745 is a top-of-the-line GPS multisport watch with all the bells and whistles you could want. The Forerunner 745 replaces the venerable Forerunner 735XT. I bought a Forerunner 735XT in 2017 and used it for 5 years before replacing it with the Forerunner 745 and despite the model number only increasing by 10 this is a significantly different watch.  The Forerunner 745 is packed with new features including a built-in Bluetooth music player with storage for 500 songs, contactless payments, advanced training metrics, pulse oximeter, race predictor, body battery, training suggestions, and custom workouts, just to name a few. It’s also got a sleek design and a large, color touchscreen display.  Let’s take a closer look at why I think the Garmin Forerunner 745 is the best Garmin multisport watch yet.


The Forerunner 745 has buttons on the left and right side of the watch. The button on the upper right is used to select an activity profile and then start and stop workouts, while the button on the bottom right is used as a back button. Pressing and holding the left middle button brings up a list of options and settings, while pressing the upper left will temporarily make the screen brighter. Pressing either the left middle button or left bottom will access the main menu where you can scroll through the training metrics, bio tracking, music, and activity history.


Forerunner 745 supports multiple GNSS or Global Navigation Satellite Systems: GPS, GLONASS and Galileo. GPS is owned by the U.S., GLONASS is owned by Russia, and Galileo is owned by the European Union. Each system has a different number of satellites in orbit. On my Forerunner 745 I have GPS the mode set to GPS+GLONASS. I have not had any problems with accuracy with any of my outdoor running or cycling workouts. I have not done any outdoor swimming yet so I can not speak to the GPS tracking for swimming outdoors.

Battery life

Battery life depends on how you use the watch.  Garmin indicates using the watch with GPS but without music will offer approximately 16 hours of battery life. Alternatively using the watch with GPS and music will only provide up to 6 hours of battery life. Speaking from experience I recently did a 50 mile MTB ride with GPS and music and after 5 and half hours I still had 20% of battery life remaining. I’ve run sub 4 hour marathons with GPS and music without issue.  Turning off extra features such as phone pairing or bio tracking are ways to extend battery life. This watch does not have any solar power features like some of the latest Garmin watches.




Swim, Bike, Run

Swimming, biking, and running, are core features of almost every Garmin GPS watch so I am not going to cover those features in depth.  However, it is worth pointing out that the swimming features have been significantly been improved over the 735XT. In my opinion one of best swimming features and one of main reasons I bought the Forerunner 745 is the Swimming Pace Alert.

Finally you can now set an audible alarm and vibration based on swimming pace or time. This feature is set in the Swimming activity settings. The alert is great for swimming longer distance sets like 200s or 300s etc. The alert will reset each time you hit the lap / pause button between sets. For example, if you hear the alert before finishing your 100 yd swim you know your behind pace or conversely if you hear the alert after you hit your turn at the wall you know you’re below pace.

What’s even better is that you can modify the alert during your set in case you want to go faster or slower. The pace alert is a fantastic feature because once it’s set you technically don’t have to fuss with it.  For years I used to do my swim sets my old Garmin 735XT and a Timex watch on my other wrist with a timer set to my 100 yd pace just so I had better insight into my pace on longer sets. Believe me when I say hitting the lap button on the my old Garmin and resetting the Timex timer between sets was challenging.





Workout suggestions

Whether you’re just starting to run or you’re looking to improve your performance, the Garmin Forerunner 745 has a workout suggestion for you. One popular workout is the “lactate threshold” test which helps you to determine your ideal training pace. For runners who are looking to build strength and endurance, the “tempo run” workout is a great option. And for those who want to focus on speed, the “interval training” workout can help you to push your limits. The workout suggestions are optional and can be turned off in the settings.  Additionally for swimmers there is the Critical Swim Speed Test (CSS). This test is supposed to help calculate the swimming speed you can maintain without exhaustion.



The VO2 max feature on the Garmin Forerunner 745 is a great way to gauge your fitness level and see how you stack up against other athletes. To use this feature, simply enter in your age, gender, and weight, and the Forerunner 745 will estimate your VO2 max. This number is a measure of your body’s ability to use oxygen, and it’s a good indicator of how well you’ll be able to perform during strenuous exercise. The higher your VO2 max, the better.




The VO2 max estimate also allows you to see your Fitness Age on Garmin Connect.




Another one of the advanced features of the Garmin Forerunner 745 is Training Status, which gives you real-time feedback on how your body is responding to training. The training status feature uses data from your heart rate, pace, and other metrics to give you an accurate picture of your current fitness level. This information can be extremely helpful in adjusting your training plan to ensure that you are getting the most out of your workouts.



Training Load

In the Training Status screen you can also see Training Load which helps you monitor your recent training efforts and compare it to your historical data. This can be useful for tracking your fitness progress and helping you to find the right balance of training and recovery. The training load feature takes into account factors such as heart rate, pace, and distance, and uses this data to estimate the amount of stress that your body is under. The watch also includes a recovery advisor that can give you guidance on how much rest you need based on your current level of fatigue. With these features, the Forerunner 745 is an excellent tool for any athlete looking to improve their performance.



Training Effect

The Training Effect data on the Garmin Forerunner 745 can been seen after completing a workout. This feature analyzes your heart rate, Vo2 max, and recovery time to give you a score that represents how hard your body is working. The higher the score, the more intense the workout. Training effect is designed to help you track your progress and see how your fitness is improving over time. By knowing how hard your body is working, you can adjust your training accordingly and make sure you’re pushing yourself to reach your goals. Whether you’re a beginner runner or an experienced athlete, the training effect feature can help you take your workouts to the next level. To view the training effect of your workout just select the workout details afterwards and select Training Effect.



Race Predictor

Another beneficial training feature of the Garmin Forerunner 745 is the Race Predictor. This tool uses your recent training data to predict your finish time for a variety of race distances, from 5K to marathon. The Race Predictor is not only a great way to gauge your current fitness level, but it can also help you set realistic goals for future races.  The projections may seem inaccurate at first but after some runs on this system is when accuracy becomes clear and reliable in measuring distances covered throughout different types of terrain or surfaces.



Recovery Time and Body Battery

This feature uses heart rate data to estimate how long it will take your body to recover from an intense workout. As a result, you can be sure that you’re giving your body the time it needs to recover before jumping back into training.



Additionally the Body Battery metric gives you a great predictor of your current fitness and is a gauge for future performance.



Wrist-based heart rate monitor and activity tracking

One of the most notable features of the Forerunner 745 is its wrist-based heart rate monitor. This allows the watch to take accurate heart rate readings without the need for a chest strap. This is especially useful for runners who don’t like to wear a chest strap, but more incredibly this also works now for swimming workouts which used to require a dedicated strap specifically designed for water workouts. The activity tracking includes all the usual metrics like steps taken, calories burned, and active minutes, but it also offers more in-depth tracking for specific activities.



The step counter is available from the main menu and displays the daily total,  average steps per week, and average distance.


Custom workouts

One of my favorite features available on many Garmin watches is custom workouts. You can create workout on Garmin Connect and then upload it to the watch. In the example below I created a swimming workout.



After transferring the workout to the watch you can access the workout within the settings of each activity type. After selecting the activity type then click Workouts and then select the workout you want to do.



When you’re ready to start just click Do Workout or you can review the steps of the workout prior to starting.



Here’s an example of my swim workout after uploading to Strava. You can see the wrist-based heart rate was also recorded during the swim workout without having used a HRM strap.



Advanced swimming metrics

The Garmin Forerunner 745 is a top-of-the-line GPS running watch with plenty of features to appeal to triathletes and serious runners alike. In addition to tracking your pace, distance, and heart rate, the Forerunner 745 also features detailed swim tracking. It can automatically recognize different strokes and track your distance, lap times, and SWOLF score. The Forerunner 745 also has a built-in open water swimming mode that uses GPS to track your distance and pace in open water without the need for a pool. Whether you’re training for a triathlon or simply looking for a robust running watch, the Garmin Forerunner 745 is an excellent choice.


Listening to music

One of the main reasons I upgraded from the 735XT to the Forerunner 745 was that it featured Music. Using Garmin Connect you can transfer approximately 500 songs. Please note the watch does not have a speaker so you’ll need to pair Bluetooth headphones. To access the music feature just scroll down the main menu and it will display the last played song. From there you can can select to play all the songs in your library or a playlist.



From the song menu you can choose to skip a song or shuffle all the songs. In my experience I find it easiest start playing music before my workout and then back out of the music menu and start the workout. Once I start a workout like a long run or even a ride I find it more challenging to then start playing music and have even inadvertently stopped the workout by hitting the wrong button by trying to get into the music menus.



To listen to music with the Garmin Forerunner 745 during my workouts I use Aftershockz Aeropex. I cover them in more detail in that post.



Garmin Connect

All of the data on the Garmin Forerunner 745 and much more is available using Garmin Connect phone app or online at When installed on your phone you can transfer the data using Wi-Fi or from your computer using the desktop client.



Garmin Connect allows you to see the detailed sleep metrics as well as an interesting metric called Fitness Age.



In Summary

The Garmin Forerunner 745 is a great watch for athletes of all levels. Whether you’re just starting out as a triathlete or are an experienced marathon runner, the Forerunner 745 can help you train smarter and achieve your fitness goals. With its many features and customization options, the Forerunner 745 is sure to be a valuable tool in your running arsenal. In my experience the Garmin Forerunner 745 is the best Garmin multisport watch I’ve owned. Thanks for reading!

Peter Viola

Creative, customer focused, results oriented, Senior Web Systems Engineer who enjoys providing the highest level of customer service supporting complex Windows hosting solutions. MCITP, MCSA, MCTS

More Posts - Website