I’ve never been the kind of runner who loves numbers – my ideal run was usually with my phone for music and a simple watch. When I started wearing the Forerunner 245 with music I found that it both neatly replaced my phone and basic watch, and also gave me a bunch of extras I didn’t know I wanted. The 245 quickly became my ideal running accessory.

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For the first time in years, I left the house without my phone to go running. No more stuffing my cellphone into an ill-fitting shorts pocket or sports bra–it was just me, my wireless headphones, and my watch. I felt very professional. Gone are the days where I had to bring multiple devices on my run. The Forerunner 245 has integrated music-streaming services and also has room for up to 500 downloaded songs. Downloading my 15-song running playlist took mere minutes.

The Forerunner 245 does everything most GPS watches do: it will measure distance run, show pace as you move and calculate calories burned. But what differentiates the watch is the holistic approach Garmin takes to bring an athlete an optimal product for training. This isn’t just a watch to wear while you work out, this is a recovery watch, a watch that’s sleek enough you can wear it casually and a watch you can wear to do other activities.

The 245 with music brings you insights into training load and status, it’s like having a coach on your wrist. Training load looks at your past seven days of workouts and training effect will let you know if your workouts are getting you where you want to go.

Garmin 245 Music. Photo: Matt Stetson

Beyond the music update, the watch is bringing you even more training and recovery insights. There’s an adaptable training status based on heat, recovery time and training efforts, there’s a running dynamics feature which allows runners to check out their form on the fly, and finally, a heartrate monitor for even more intel into a runner’s performance. Another recovery insight I really enjoyed was the sleep tracker. Using the pulse sensor on the back of the watch, your movement and energy levels are tracked at night to asses the quality of your zzz’s. The sleep monitor allows the watch to better asses your recovery needs, and will let you know if you’re ready to go for your workout the next day.

Garmin 245 Music. Photo: Matt Stetson

Garmin coach support is also an important addition to the Forerunner 245. The coach support allows you to get free coaching plans from expert coaches so that you can reach your running goals, no problem. It even includes a predicted race time so that you can head into your goal event with an idea of the pace you’re capable of.

If music isn’t your jam, no problem, the Forerunner 245 is also available without it. Forerunner 245 with music retails for $479.99 and without at $419.99 CAD. Battery life is six hours in GPS mode while listening to music and up to seven days in smartwatch mode. The case is a little smaller than the 235 (coming in a 42mm compared to the 235’s 44mm) but the screen size remains the same at 30.4mm.

This watch is a great middle-ground buy if you want something a little more basic than the Forerunner 645 and more advanced than the Forerunner 45. This watch is ideal for someone who’s marathon training without a coach or group: the music keeps your mind occupied, the coaching feature keeps you accountable and the recovery metrics helps ensures you are ready for your workouts. All this adds up to a better shot at a great race day.

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