A Fitness Tracker For All Seasons!

Posted by Beth Hartman

If you're excited about upping your running game for 2019 then you need to know your pushing yourself to your maximum. In order to do this right, you need a good fitness tracker. The Garmin Forerunner 935  is one tracker that will go the distance for you, and then some! The Garmin 935 is the ultimate tool for dedicated runners everywhere. Whether you are a triathlete or trail runner, you cannot pass up on the Forerunner 935xt. Super concise data is a runner's best friend and with the Forerunner 935, you'll have all of the data you need. Multi-Sport dynamics (running, swimming, and cycling), VO2 Max, wrist-based heart rate, recovery time, race predictor, and more. The 935 also offers you more ways than ever to store and track your data. Use automatic uploads to Garmin Connect, or use “Strava” live segments to turn every run into a virtual race. The 935 is truly the most powerful Forerunner ever.

Thanks to its impressive array of sensors, the watch offers sophisticated insights into your training status, telling you whether it’s a good idea to train or not. When used with a compatible Running Dynamics Pod (or an HRM-Run or HRM-Tri heart-rate monitor), it also delivers advanced metrics such as ground contact time, balance, stride length and vertical ratio that can help you to better understand your running technique.
The Forerunner 935 also does a great job of tracking your everyday activity.

Design and features:
The Forerunner 935 is a sports tracker first and foremost, so its looks are unlikely to wow you. However, its black casing is subtle and inoffensive enough to wear when you’re not training, and it’s compatible with Garmin’s QuickFit 22 bands, so you can swap the plain silicone band for something fancier if you prefer.

The Forerunner 935’s traditional five-button running-watch design works well for navigating its many menus and allows easy control of the watch during activities. Touchscreens and scrolling knobs are fun, but when you’re sweaty nothing beats a physical button for precise control.

One advantage the Forerunner 935 has over rugged watches such as the Fenix 5 Plus is that its plastic design helps it to be lightweight. At 49g, it’s some 37g lighter than its stablemate. And despite this, it packs plenty into its design. There’s GPS, GLONASS, Garmin’s Elevate optical heart-rate monitor, a barometric altimeter, accelerometer, compass, gyroscope, and thermometer.

It’s waterproof (5ATM), and while its 30.5mm display doesn’t dazzle compared to those on smartwatches like the Apple Watch or Fitbit Ionic, it’s always easy to read and only becomes more so in bright sunlight.

Battery life is listed as 24 hours for GPS use, which can be extended to 60 hours with Garmin’s UltraTrac mode. This mode isn’t as accurate because it takes readings less frequently, but it’s a handy feature for ultramarathon fans seeking the ultimate in longevity. In general, I achieved around two weeks of use from the Forerunner 935, even when logging outdoor activities most days, which is terrific. The Forerunner tracks a huge variety of sports, but its running mode is the most feature-rich. I’ve used it through two marathon training cycles and, well, it’s just phenomenal. Hit the Run button and it quickly locks on to GPS plus any sensors you have nearby (including running pods such as Stryd. In my 18 months of using it, the longest I’ve waited for a GPS fix is 60 seconds, and usually, it locks on in less than ten seconds.

Distance and heart-rate tracking are both accurate and I’d say the latter in particular stands out on the Forerunner 935. Wrist-based optical sensors are never totally dependable, but the Forerunner 935’s is reliable enough that you don’t need to use a chest strap, even if you’re following a workout based entirely on heart rate.

You can create such a workout or, indeed, one based on time, distance or pace in Garmin Connect and beam it over to the watch wirelessly. There’s also a simple Intervals mode you can set up on the watch itself. Trainers agree that Garmin is leading the way when it comes to making it easy to create and follow workouts on the wrist, which is a key feature for keen amateurs and pros alike. A host of features kick in after you finish running, starting with an estimate of how many hours of recovery you need. You’ll also be advised on the effect of your session in terms of aerobic and anaerobic benefit, the former marking improvements in your general cardiovascular fitness and the latter your ability to run at speed for longer.

You can also monitor your overall training load and whether a workout is effective in improving your fitness in terms of your VO2 max, which is also measured by the watch. Push too hard too often and you’ll be told you’re “Overreaching” in a counterproductive fashion, risking injury without actually benefiting your fitness.

Ideally, you’re aiming for “Productive” or, if you’re about to race, “Peaking”, which suggests you’ve reduced your training load in a smart way to smash your PB. The Forerunner 935 estimates your times for a 5K, 10K, half marathon and marathon based on your VO2 max.

Activity and other sports tracking
Most of the other sports modes on the Forerunner 935 work in a similar fashion to the running mode, measuring distance, pace/speed, and duration of your workout while adding in a few sport-specific stats such as stroke rate in the case of swimming. They all feed into your overall training load too. This is a triathlon watch, so unlike many GPS wearables, there is an open-water mode, plus a few different multisport options including swim/run and duathlon.
The performance of the Forerunner is impressive across all of these sports, with accurate heart-rate and distance tracking, although it won’t attempt to track heart rate when swimming. Many other trackers try this with mixed results, but if you need these insights you’ll need to link to a swim-specific heart-rate monitor like Garmin’s HRM-Swim.

The Forerunner 935 tracks your everyday activity, recording steps, floors climbed, resting and active calories, active minutes (over the course of a week) and even your stress level, which is based on heart-rate variability. The steps target adjusts automatically based on past activity based on its on-going assessment of the data it accumulates.

Heart rate is tracked 24/7 and you’ll get an estimate of your resting heart rate each day, so you can monitor this over time to see if you’re getting fitter – the number going down is a good sign. Sleep is recorded and the Forerunner 935 has Garmin’s advanced sleep-monitoring features, using heart-rate variability among other info to provide a more detailed picture of your night’s rest. Along with total duration, it will tell you the time spent in light, deep and REM sleep, and also depict your movements through the night.

All this information is engagingly presented in the Garmin Connect app. Small tiles on the home page show key data, and tapping these tiles gives you more in-depth data into trends over recent weeks and months. On the watch itself, you can scroll through widgets that show your everyday stats and also set up alerts to move if you’ve been sedentary for too long. Everyday tracking is not what the Forerunner 935 is primarily designed for, but it does it well.

So the results are in and the verdict is that the Garmin Forerunner 935  is a five-star multisport watch that blows everything else in its price range out of the water. As well as offering in-depth insights into running, swimming and cycling, it’s an everyday activity tracker that’s lightweight and comfortable enough to wear, ALL the time!

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