Garmin Running Power Ultimate Guide

This is a simple guide that will explain how to setup Running Power on your Garmin device. 

It includes the details of every watch that currently supports Garmin running power, how to download the Garmin running power app, and the accessories you will need to unlock running power stats.

It also provides a solution for Garmin products that don’t support running power, while clarifying why some of Garmin’s newer products (like the Vivoactive 3 Music and Forerunner 245) don’t  support running power measurments.

Now that you know what this guide is all about, let’s get stuck in. 

Super Quick Summary of Contents

Garmin Running Power - Compatible Devices

The Foreruner 645 is Garmin’s premium running watch. It doesn’t have open water swimming (so not suitable for triathlon). It’s a very good option for people that focus primarily on running. 

Although it’s not the latest and greatest Garmin triathlon watch (that honor belongs to the Forerunner 945), the FR935 is still an excellent choice for serious triathletes. It doesn’t have music or a pulse oximeter, but it does have all Garmin’s best triathlon features, a solid GPS battery life and pretty much all the main sports modes that Garmin offers. It’s still a very good choice, despite the fact that it’s a slightly older model. 

The Garmin Forerunner 945 is the successor to the FR935, and it’s comfortably the best triathlon watch that Garmin has ever made. It literally includes every technological feature of the Fenix 5 Plus, while being significantly cheaper.

Any Original Fenix 5 Model

Just in case you aren’t super familiar with Garmin’s product range, there are essentially two groups of Fenix 5 models. The first set was released in 2017. The original Fenix 5 series includes the Fenix 5, Fenix 5S and Fenix 5X. None of these versions include music or contactless payments. The original Fenix 5X is the only one in this series with TOPO map technology. All of them are fully functional triathlon watches (multisport mode + open water swimming), and because they are a bit older, you can often get them for a pretty good price.

Any Fenix 5 Plus Model

The Fenix 5 Plus series was released in 2018. This is the series of Fenix 5’s that includes music storage, contactless payments and TOPO map technology in all of the models. The only slight difference between these models is battery life, and the fact that the Fenix 5X Plus is the only version with a Pulse Oximeter.

It’s no surprise that all versions of the Garmin MARQ support running power. These are the most expensive sports watches in Garmin’s product family, and they also include all the latest technology released in 2019 (Pulse Oximeter, Body Battery Score, Garmin Coach etc). These watches are out of my league in terms of budget, but if you’re coining it and you like the design, it should comfort you to know that the MARQ series supports running power and every other feature that Garmin offers.

Any Garmin D2 Model

Again, this should come as no surprise. The D2 models are essentially just variations of the Fenix 5 Plus. But just to make things explicitly clear, these are the D2 models that support Garmin Running Power. 

  • D2 Charlie
  • D2 Delta | D2 Delta S | D2 Delta PX

Additional Garmin Models that Support Running Power

These are the only other Garmin options that support running power. 

Garmin Running Power - Required Accessories

Just to be super clear, you only need 1 of the accessories listed below (rather than all 3). 

Garmin Running Dynamics Pod

If you want to access Garmin running power without using a chest strap, the Garmin Running Dynamics Pod is the option for you. Unlike the Stryd Sensor, the Garmin Running Dynamics Pod, is worn around your waist rather than on your shoes. These are main benefits of choosing the Garmin RDP:
  1. It’s much more comfortable than a chest strap
  2. It’s the cheapest way to unlock Garmin running power
  3. It also unlocks Advanced Running Dynamics

Garmin HRM-Run Chest Strap

The Garmin HRM-Run belt is another excellent option for runners hoping to access Garmin running power. It’s a bit cheaper than the HRM-Tri, and it gives you super accurate heart rate readings regardless of the exercise you choose. When you opt for the HRM-Run, you effectively open up the following benefits:

  1. Super accurate heart rate measurments during any exercise (except swimming)
  2. Advanced Running Dynamics
  3. Garmin Running power

Garmin HRM-Tri Chest Strap

The benefits of the HRM-Tri are very similar to the benefits of the HRM-Run, but with one key difference. The HRM-Tri can measure your heart rate when you swim as well. So basically, it unlocks the following 3 benefits:

  1. Super accurate heart rate measurements during all exercises, including running, cycling and swimming
  2. Advanced Running Dynamics
  3. Garmin Running power

How to download the Garmin Running Power App

To download the Garmin Running Power App, you simply need to visit the Garmin Connect IQ Store.

But before you download the app, make sure that your watch has been added to your Garmin Connect Profile. You do this in 1 of 2 ways:

Click the image above to Download the Garmin Running Power App

What To Do If Your Device Isn't Compatible?

Don’t despair. You will be glad to know that there are two options available for people who have Garmin devices that don’t support Garmin Running Power. 

Option 1 - Stryd Sensor

The Stryd Sensor can be used with any Garmin Forerunner Watch that has ANT+ connectivity. This includes the FR25, FR35, FR45, FR235, FR245, FR645, FR935, FR945. The Stryd sensor also supports all Garmin Fenix models and all Garmin Vivoactive models. 

Personally, I would go for the Stryd Sensor over the RunScribe, because it’s half the price (Stryd = $199, RunScribe $399 at the time of this writing). 

  1. Forerunner 25
  2. Forerunner 35
  3. Forerunner 45
  4. Forerunner 230
  5. Forerunner 235
  6. Forerunner 630
  7. Forerunner 735XT
  8. Forerunner 920XT
  9. Forerunner 245
  10. Forerunner 645
  11. Forerunner 935
  12. Forerunner 945
  13. fenix 3, quatix 3, tactix Bravo
  14. All fenix 5 models
  15. Garmin quatix, delta & Charlie
  16. All Garmin Vivoactive models
  17. All Garmin MARQ models

Option 2 - RunScribe

RunScribe Plus is the most expensive 3rd party running power app. At $399, it’s actually more expensive then a lot of Garmin watches. 

But the point of this article is not to discuss price. The Runscribe Plus supports the following Garmin models:

  1. Forerunner 230
  2. Forerunner 235
  3. Forerunner 630
  4. Forerunner 735XT
  5. Forerunner 920XT
  6. Forerunner 245
  7. Forerunner 645
  8. Forerunner 935
  9. Forerunner 945
  10. fenix 3, quatix 3, tactix Bravo
  11. All fenix 5 models
  12. Garmin quatix, delta & Charlie
  13. All Garmin Vivoactive models
  14. All Garmin MARQ models

Why Garmin Running Power is limited to selected devices

I’m not going to go super deep here, because this is actually pretty simple. For your device to be compatible with Garmin Running Power it needs to have the following two features:
  1. Barometric Altimeter – Garmin use the information from the barometric altimeter to help calculate their running power measurement. 
  2. Advanced Running Dynamics – Garmin also use advanced running data metrics to calculate running power.  
So there you have it. Your device must have have a barometric altimeter and it must support advanced running dynamics in order to support Garmin running power. 

The Best Bonus Benefit of Garmin Running Power

Apart from the ability measure your wattage when running, the best bonus benefit of Garmin running power is that you also get the following advanced running stats as well. 

  • Ground Contact Time (the time your foot spends on the ground with each stride)
  • Ground Contact Balance (Symmetry between left and right foot)
  • Vertical Oscillation (degree of ‘bounce’ in your running motion)
  • Vertical Ratio (the cost-benefit ratio with stride length)
  • Cadence (Real time)
  • Stride Length (Real time)
So you get running power, and 6 other running metrics at the same time. Of the 6, vertical oscillation and vertical ratio are probably the most useful. Figuring out your most efficient stride length (vertical ratio) and reducing unnecessary bounce (vertical oscillation) can literally make you a better runner, especially if you consistently try to improve them. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Does the Garmin Vivoactive 3 support running power?

Nope. The Vivoactive 3 doesn’t support advanced running dynamics. Your device has to support advanced running dynamics in order to measure Garmin running power. 

Does the Garmin Forerunner 245 support running power?

It doesn’t.  The Forerunner 245 doesn’t have a built-in barometric altimeter, which Garmin uses to calculate the running power measurements. 

Can you clarify which Garmin products don't support Garmin Running Power

Devices that don't support Garmin Running Power Devices that do support Garmin Running Power
Garmin Forerunner 25 Garmin Forerunner 645
Garmin Forerunner 35 Garmin Forerunner 935
Garmin Forerunner 45 Garmin Forerunner 945
Garmin Forerunner 245 All Fenix 5 Models
Garmin Forerunner 735XT All Fenix 5 Plus Models
All Garmin Vivoactive Models All Garmin MARQ Models
Garmin Instinct GPS Watch All Garmin D2 Delta Models
All Garmin Vivosport Models Garmin Descent MK1
All Garmin Vivomove Models Garmin Quatix 5
Garmin Forerunner 920XT Garmin Tactix Charlie
Garmin Fenix Chronos

Is there anything else you need to know?

Not really. You could potentially investigate the science of how Garmin calculate running power, but that could prove to be quite a challenging exercise (unless you are a physics major). 

Basically, everything you need to know about how activate running power on your Garmin device is contained in this article. However, if you do have any questions, please let us know in the comments below.