Should I get a Garmin Forerunner as a Cyclist for the purpose of running and daily usage? Or am I better off with an Apple Watch?


I had a Garmin vivoactive 3 for a couple of years - now it is broken. It was my daily watch and I used it for running. Now I look for a replacement.

I checked Garmin, since I use an Edge and basically Garmin connect as my main platform. After testing OLED Garmins, I would only consider the forerunner 965. Display is great, I don’t want to go back to MIP Displays.
The training feature look promising, but: are they more dedicated for runners? e.g. training readiness, training load etc? Would it be useful?

The point is, without benefit of those features, I would probably of get an Apple Watch SE. It is cheaper, Music, Podcasts and Audio books are not as great of a pain as with Garmin, same is true for payment.

So just for running, focus on music, podcast etc and having some features like paying - should I still get the Garmin? I like the look much better, cannot imaging wearing the AW the entire day.

Anyone with similar struggles? Who did you decide?


Apple watches are smartwatches not training watches.
battery, resistance durability all goes to Garmin. those are built to be sweat on, battery last weeks.
apple watch you have to charge daily at best if not several times per day. and a small impact cracks the screen.

if you want geeky gadget stuff like podcast, music and apple pay yes go with apple watch. if you want a device you can train. upload workouts, and it is not fragile then get a garmin.
i would however strongly suggest to look into the the fenix devices they are more robust and host a myriad of features you can even have mounts. for your handlebars.
and while you are at it… why not get an edge device the 1030+ are cheaper now or even the 830, 530 if you don’t want the latest tech.


I would suggest changing the title since you’re asking just for running, music, and payments, not for cycling. What you need for only those things isn’t the same as what people will recommend for cycling (as you can see in the reply above)


I went for the Forerunner 265, its got the OLED screen, is cheaper, but missing mapping and power meter compatibility.


If you are looking for running stats. Garmin no question. I use mine for music and have no issues. Fenix 6Pro. And upgrade from my forerunner 245 music. 265 would be good choice. Fenix 6 pros are easy to find cheap. You can use for cycling and power meter compatible. If you an edge sure use that. But for some rides where you are really just going to look at the data later it is an option. As for Garmin Pay no issues with linking cards from larger banks. My credit union is not supported. But easy enough to use. Entering code is easier on Apple. Battery life on Fenix is great. HR, pulse OX , running and music. Claims 10days. I get 7 to 8 days playing music during my runs. 3 to 4 runs per week. 60 - 120 mins with music. No wifi sync for music that is a negative. For me that data and stats are way better on Garmin.


I’ve had an Apple Watch since it came out. Put a Garmin 965 on my wish list but wife&kids got me a AW 8 this year. Never been a fan of AW looks but I love it for a couple reasons. My phone notifications have been muted since day one, and filtered notifications that get pushed to my watch. Win win. The Costco Citi credit card is still not supported by Garmin pay. AW used for tracking walks and swimming, very happy with swim stroke detection. Answering phone calls while working in the yard or servicing bike turned out to be surprisingly useful and used a couple times a week. Music and podcast stuff of course works well. I also use AW to control Apple TV. I’ve also enabled higher frequency HRV sampling and feed that along with sleep and workouts into phone apps - the reason I wanted the 965. Works great. Cycling is recorded on Garmin 840.


Hey Elma,
I had a series 3 LTE and loved it for a while. I ran with it a lot and streamed music (apple only at the time). Biggest fault that caused me to switch to Garmin was the battery life. I use a bike computer for cycling metrics, so I was not too concerned with tracking from the watch. I got a Garmin Fenix 5x Plus. Few years later it has been accidentally slammed into a few things but no scratches showing. Battery still lasts forever unless you’re recording something every day, if you do it lasts about a week. I wear it all the time. The thing is bulletproof. I have wanted to upgrade but this one still tracks sleep and resting heart rate really well along with no issues yet tracking the occasional run or walking my dog every day.

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Fwiw, Apple Watch battery life has improved greatly in recent years.

I have an SE and never run into low battery issues since I got it. I used to have a series 1 that couldn’t make half a day if I ran Strava or the workout app on it.

Supposedly the new Pro Watch has more running features and an extra lap button. I’d consider one if I needed more features and just because I like the titanium looks. It’s pricey though.

OP, I use my Apple Watch to record the occasional run, hike, or xc ski with Strava. I got the HR feature working with the app (not obvious) and that is all I need. All the other features are gravy.


Having had an apple watch when they were newish and moved to Garmin as an athlete I would never go back.


I was wondering the same apple watch or Garmin. I tried to only use my watch for running laste week and set it up with strava and loaded music onto it so didnt have to have my phone and it worked great.

The Apple Watch Ultra looks good and has a longer battery life and Apple are getting into the sports wearables space with more features and apps. I am still on the fence with cycling and will probabaly just stick with my head unit though.


Can you share what you did to enable the higher frequency HRV sampling?

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In your phone pull up the Watch app. Scroll down to Heart and enable AFib History.


I’m looking at Apple watch. I thought you enable afib history if you have a known history of afib and the watch then won’t bother you with notifications when it detects it.
If you didn’t have the history, you’d be suppressing notifications you would probably want to see ? (If it happened to detect afib)

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Every Monday morning I get a notification that it detected 2% or less AFib for the previous week.


Thanks. I went and read a bit more about it.

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Wow, thank you for all the answers. I will get specifically back to you.

In general:
I have an Edge 830 for cycling, which is perfect for me.
So the watch would be possibly daily usage (not immensely important, but I would definitely like all the metrics from Garmin) and running / hiking etc (like 4-5 times a month, compared to cycling like 3-4 times a week)

Garmin pick would be forerunner 965 (bezel and display make it much nicer than the 265 in my opinion). Iooked at a Fenix 7s, but I don’t like the display. Epic Gen 2 would be a good price, but for me, it is too big. The Epic 42mm is too expensive vor me, tbh.

AW would be a SE 2, maybe with cellular (it is still astonishing that I would get a AW)

So, for AW: price, “smart features” (eventually, only easier payment and audio books, podcasts are relevant), cellular

For Garmin: I like the optics a lot more. I wouldn’t feel weird wearing it. Better training metrics. In my ecosystem. Only problem: Audio books need a workaround, I need to switch my podcast platform, nfc payment needs a workaround. And it is more expensive.

Anything I am missing? This helped a lot, since the pro / con is leaning towards Garmin now… Thank you

Thank you, that is a good summary.

I have an edge 830 already ant I am very happy with it.

Thank you, I did that. You are totally right. This is also one part of the problem, that my activities are 85% cycling were I wouldn’t use the watch (at least for tracking the activity).

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I’m a long course triathlete and the 265 is great for running, cycling, pool swimming, open water, weight lifting and triathlon.

Both Apple and Garmin are great for running and music, I prefer the Garmin for Health and Training metrics.

I have a 945 and my partner has an Apple Watch SE.

The Garmin is a really good sports watch that is OK as a smartwatch
The Apple is a really good smartwatch that is pretty good as a sports watch

One thing that hasn’t been mentioned in favour of Garmin is Physio trueup (if it’s still called that). Garmin collects training metrics on the backend and syncs to all your compatible devices - so if you’re running with a Forerunner and riding with an Edge then effort, weekly load and recovery time and all that will take into account running and cycling. That won’t happen if running/swimming with an Apple watch.