The sheer number of running watches available can be overwhelming if you’re a new runner. Prices vary dramatically, and many include features and capabilities that you won’t need if you’re just getting started.
That’s where the Forerunner 55 from Garmin comes in. It isn’t the most advanced watch (it won’t help you navigate off-road like the Garmin Fenix 6 or inform you when to take energy gels like the Polar Grit X), but it is perfectly suited to the demands of new runners.
In our guide to the best running watches, the Forerunner series has always done well. It does more than simply keep track of time and distance; it also helps give your training structure in the early stages and adapts to help you attain your first goal, no matter how modest or ambitious. If you’re new to running, we believe this is the perfect watch for you.
When it was released in early June, the Garmin Forerunner 55 cost $199.99 / £179.99 / AU$329 USD. If you buy it from a third-party retailer like Amazon, the price has only dropped slightly since then. While there are cheaper running watches available, none can compete with the GPS accuracy and training tools provided by the Forerunner 55. You’ll also have free access to everything in the Garmin Connect app. There are even free workouts and training plans available to use.
The Garmin Forerunner 55 has a design that is nearly identical to its predecessor, the Forerunner 45, and is well-suited to novices. It does away with the traditional touchscreen in favor of a number of buttons around the case’s circumference, which helps keep prices down without sacrificing usability.
Each control is clearly labeled to minimize confusion (which is common with multi-function buttons), and the top right control for starting and terminating an activity is highlighted in a different color to avoid mistakes in the middle of the activity.
With a face that is 42mm in diameter, the Forerunner 55 is a tiny running watch that fits a wide range of wrist sizes.
Garmin began as a company specializing in GPS navigation systems, and it remains one of its strongest suits. One of the most affordable GPS running watches on the market is the Foreunner 55. This lets you track your distance and speed, but the Forerunner 55 has a lot more to offer beginner runners than just time and distance.
Suggested workouts are a new feature introduced with the Forerunner 55 that can help give your training some structure even if you aren’t following a specific plan. If you have a specific goal in mind, the Garmin Coach tool can assist you in achieving it through a more focused plan.
Set a date to achieve your goal and how many days a week you want to run in the Garmin Connect app, and Garmin Coach will generate a custom plan that adapts to your needs and syncs with your watch so it’s only a couple of button presses away.
The Forerunner 55 also continuously monitors your heart rate throughout the day and uses this information to provide you with useful advice. Adults should engage in a certain amount of physical activity each week, according to the World Health Organization. The Forerunner 55 converts this into ‘intensity minutes,’ and recommends how long you should aim to spend doing moderate or vigorous activity.
The Garmin Connect app can estimate your VO2 max using heart rate data, which is the maximum amount of oxygen your body can use during exercise. It’s a good measure of fitness, but the number itself may be ineffective for new runners.
The watch doesn’t just track your workouts; it also uses heart rate variability to track your stress levels throughout the day, which might help you understand what makes you worried on a daily basis.