Garmin has quietly begun offering the ability for users to start re-broadcasting their heart rate over Bluetooth Smart with certain wearables, via an open beta program. While virtually all Garmin wearables made in the last…ever…support re-broadcasting of heart rate over ANT+, none have supported re-broadcasting over Bluetooth Smart. In fact, almost nobody in the industry supports re-broadcasting over Bluetooth Smart (using the standard BLE HR profile). Whoop started semi-recently doing so with their latest band, and years ago Polar kinda introduced it on certain wearables (but it was fraught with odd compatibility issues that mostly made it useless).
However, today’s update is a reasonably big deal. It lets you pair your wearable up to apps like Zwift or TrainerRoad, for those training indoors. Same goes for even devices like treadmills. The way it works is Garmin will now broadcast both your current heart rate but also your current pace (speed) and cadence over the standard Bluetooth Smart device protocols/standards. This is currently available in beta for the FR245 & FR945 watches. No word on whether it’ll hit other watches, though my guess would be we’ll soon see it on the Fenix 6 units. I wouldn’t expect other older watches to get it. Again, just my hunch.
Oh – and as an added bonus on the FR245/Music & FR945 they’ve added Widget Glances. Woot! This was one of my favorite features on the Fenix 6 series, which condensed down the widgets into threesomes. Instead of one large widget per page, you get basically the same information of three widgets within a single page.
How it works:
First up, remember it’s a beta. As such, it’s not production quality which means there might be bugs. Bugs could include loss of data or your watch turning into a hamster. Probably not, but ya never know. Don’t load beta software on your watch the night before a big race. To start you’ll need to download the applicable version:
Garmin FR245 beta download here
Garmin FR245 Music beta download here
Garmin FR945 beta download here
Now, if you read the release notes, you’ll notice that technically this is called the ‘Virtual Run’ indoor profile. I’ve gotta believe at some point they’ll just add a ‘Virtual Bike’ profile to round things out that basically does the same thing, minus the running speed/cadence.
So after you get the beta installed (it only takes a second), then the watch will show you a note about adding a new sport. In this case, they’ve added the ‘Virtual Run’ sport, but it won’t show up by default in your list of sports. You need to go into the settings menu and add it. That too only takes a second.
Once that’s done, open up that sport mode just like any other.
However, you’ll immediately notice things are a bit different. Namely because it gives you instructions.
But really, it’s this screen that you’ve never seen before:
What it’s showing here is your HR, pace, and cadence. But also the connectivity status to any Bluetooth Smart connected app or device. It’ll state that it’s ready, and then after that, ‘connected’.
Meanwhile, on your app – let’s say Zwift Running in this case, you’ll see you can pair each of the three sensor types: Heart Rate, Cadence, and Speed.
These should be funneling over a single Bluetooth Smart channel, so for Apple TV users they’ll only ‘cost’ you just one channel for all of them.
After that, you’ll go ahead and start Zwift, or the app of your choice, like normal. You’ll see your stats in real-time up on the app:
Responsiveness is the same as you’d see on your watch. Some super quick hotel testing on the treadmill indicated that initial start time (till it registered pace) took about 8 seconds. However, once running it registered subsequent pace changes in about 3-4 seconds. Which is basically the ramp speed of most treadmills anyway.
But what about the data recorded on the watch? Well, you’ll want to start that too, so that it gets a recording there. Or you can ditch the recording afterwards. I’m not quite certain yet how long it’ll last in paired but not started mode. Once started, it’s just like a normal activity recording.
Now, what about cycling? Could you use this for Zwift or TrainerRoad in that setting? Mostly, yes. The only thing you’d do is not bother connecting the cadence or speed sensor sides of it in the app. Obviously, the title is wrong on your Forerunner, but that’s a mere nit. For example, here it is pairing in TrainerRoad in this mode:
Out of curiosity, I went into the normal ‘Broadcast HR’ mode to see if that also now broadcasts your heart rate in both ANT+ & Bluetooth Smart. The answer: Nope.
No apps found it in that mode (over Bluetooth Smart).
So that is something that would round out the picture and make it easier for folks to understand. Simply have it broadcast both ANT+ & Bluetooth Smart HR when in broadcasting mode. I say ‘simply’, but it’s plausible there’s some hardware/software ramifications beyond that. Maybe when Garmin wakes up (it’s 3:12AM there right now), I’ll find out.
Still, it’s definitely useful for both cyclists and runners today, as-is.
Frequently Asked Questions:
I’ve added this section post-publishing, based on some questions I’ve seen. Hopefully it helps folks!
Does this broadcast on Bluetooth Smart, or just ANT+?
YES! This is all about Bluetooth Smart broadcasting of heart rate, pace, and cadence as proper Bluetooth Smart profiles. As such, it’ll work with *any* app/device that can connect to a Bluetooth Smart heart rate strap, and/or Bluetooth Smart footpod.
Does this also broadcast running pace/cadence over ANT+ too though?
No, it doesn’t appear to at this time.
Does it still broadcast my heart rate via ANT+?
Yes, that remains unchanged. Virtually every Garmin wearable supports heart rate broadcasting over ANT+. You can enable this in the settings of your watch, generally near/in the sensors menu. You’ve got basically two choices: The option to just broadcast your HR right now (like turning on a light), or the ability to always broadcast it when in sport modes. Note that as of right now, this is just broadcasting via ANT+, and not via dual ANT+/Bluetooth Smart. Hopefully that changes.
Can this broadcast my heart rate to TrainerRoad via Bluetooth Smart too?
Yes, though right now there’s a few quirks there. Mainly that you’ll just have to use the ‘Virtual Run’ profile. But that’s fine, TrainerRoad doesn’t know/care. Simply pair up the heart rate side as seen in the last photo of this post. Easy-peasy.
What if I’m using an ANT+ chest strap with my Forerunner, will it re-broadcast that as Bluetooth Smart HR?
Yup. So let’s pretend you’ve got an HRM-TRI or HRM-RUN or classic Garmin chest strap. All of which are ANT+ only. This effectively turns them into Bluetooth Smart straps. The second you put on your chest strap, the Forerunner will use that value instead of the optical HR sensor (it turns off the optical HR sensor), and re-broadcasts the chest strap value as Bluetooth Smart. Cool, huh?
Will it re-broadcast cadence from an HRM-TRI or HRM-RUN as Bluetooth Smart?
Yes. However, in my testing with the beta and an HRM-TRI strap, it appears to have a bug and halves the cadence when broadcasting to Zwift. Obviously, that’s an easy bug for Garmin to fix. But the good news is here that it works. Note: Neither the HRM-TRI or HRM-RUN broadcast pace (or the RD-POD), so that’s still coming from your wrist.
Will it rebroadcast cadence and pace from a running footpod, such as Garmin or Stryd?
Yes. However, you’ll want to think this through a bit. For the Garmin running footpod, it makes a ton of sense – as that’s ANT+ only. Go forth! However, for the Stryd footpod you’d be adding an extra ‘hop’ from a connection standpoint, as well as losing out on running power, as Garmin won’t re-broadcast that.
Will this come to other watches?
I don’t know. I’ll ask. However, I would fully expect we’ll see it on the Fenix 6 series, since that was also a 2019 watch. I would not expect to see it on the Fenix 5 Series or prior, nor anything else much older. Unknown’s would be watches like the Vivoactive 4 or Venu, which in my mind would make total sense to add. Additionally, while I’m not sure Garmin would do it – I’d think the FR645 would make a lot of sense too (ya know, given it’s supposedly Garmin’s premier running-focused watch by definition).
This is a sweet move. For a lot of people that end up at hotel treadmills (or any shared treadmill) and want to use Zwift Running, this quickly solves that problem without extra hardware (such as the NPE Runn or a Stryd footpod). Now the accuracy of running pace via wrist-based accelerometers can sometimes be a bit wobbly (namely when pressing buttons on the treadmill), but for the most part I’ve found it pretty darn close after proper outside calibration of the watch to your running stride. So that’s likely good enough for most people in most situations. Or at least, better than nothing.
The bigger one of interest to me is the Bluetooth Smart broadcasting of heart rate from the optical HR sensor. That’s a biggie for Zwift, TrainerRoad, and other users. While I find wrist-based optical HR sensor accuracy usually pretty rough for outdoors cycling, I actually tend to find it nails almost every indoor ride without much issue. So this is actually a huge win for just jumping on a bike, pairing up my watches heart rate via Bluetooth Smart to what is typically my Apple TV Zwift setup, and calling it done. Boom. ANT+ couldn’t do that.
Now I’d like to see them create a similar app for indoor cycling, or just offer a simplistic way to broadcast heart rate over Bluetooth Smart in the same manner (such as enable the BLE profile within the already existing ‘Broadcast HR’ profile). And, atop that I’d like to see them have the FirstBeat metrics actually account for Zwift or TrainerRoad workouts pushed back to Garmin Connect (today, that training load isn’t accounted for within the Garmin ecosystem). I know, I’m always asking for something. #SorryNotSorry
With that – thanks for reading!
So cool! I have been thinking about buying a bluetooth footpod just to try out Zwift running. But since I already have a Forerunner 945, this is great news.
android has native ant+ if you have a phone laying around you can just screencast it to your tv. Then you can use ant+ hr broadcast during all activities.
Zwift for Android doesn’t support ANT+ yet to my knowledge.
They have started rolling it out. HR straps at the moment.
I just re broadcasted my 935’s OHR wrist to zwift. With Samsung s10 phone
It does with my garmin cadence sensor. Using Galaxy S8.
How did you get that done?
If I’m broadcasting my HR with my 935 and use my companion app on my Samsung S10e it won’t show up in Zwift. (It will show up in Tacx device app)
Do you think they will roll this out to 645/645Music too?
[Sigh] Yet another apparent reason to abandon my FR645M. Saving pennies to get a Fenix 6X Pro asap.
What other reasons do you have for ditching your FR645M?
Firstbeat should be calculated in Virtual Run activities? This is one of the bigger pluses on this mode: save the run directly on the watch and use Zwift as a simulation only.
Now I’m not white if I will send back the RUNN wich arrived yesterday of If I will use it. There is one main treadmill on the firestation I want to use it on, without I’m 3-5% of. If I’m doing Intervalls, it’s more.
What’s your recommendation?
Bit early to be totally sure given it is so new but the Runn ought to be a lot better than anything other than a Stryd for determining your actual speed on a treadmill. Unless you have a Stryd, I would keep the Runn.
And Runn also sends incline data – it doesn’t show in Zwift but it does if you view the Zwift activity in Strava
If I’m using a Garmin foot pod, will it rebroadcast that pace over BT? Or will it be using the watch’s accelerometer?
Yes – that is largely the idea to take ANT+ only device like the Garmin foot pod and rebroadcast it as BLE so can you use it in Zwift without say using a 3rd party bridge device like a CABLE.
Not sure if clear from above but say you have a Garmin foot pod and/or an HRM-Run/Tri which are ANT+ only you can now use them “as normal” on your watch but broadcast them over BLE for Zwift etc etc. Mostly I find for me that a foot pod (if calibrated) and a HR chest strap will work more reliably than the native watch offerings for this. Also, even with TrueUp from Zwift or similar, it is better to also record an indoor activity on your Garmin if you want all the Firstbeat fitness metrics to work as best as they can. With this feature you can get both Zwift and your Garmin using the same sensors.
This was exactly my question. If my Fenix 6 starts doing this my mind will be blown. Queue SO eye roll when I try to explain again why upgrading from the 935 was so great.
AFAIK the codebase on the 945/245/Fenix 6 is basically the same so you ought to be in luck I would think soon. My 945 and indeed 245M are now on 4.06. What is your Fenix 6 on?
Actually I see the Fenix 6 releases are on a different numbering system so maybe aren’t totally aligned. One assumes that Virtual Run is likely to appear on a Fenix 6 beta soon though. No firm info though.
I just tried the HRM-TRI scenario. It correctly pulls in HR from the HRM-TRI as a connected sensor, and re-broadcasts it over BLE (I had the watch on the desk).
It also pulls in cadence too, however there appears to be a bug there and it’s sending the halved value of cadence (compared to using wrist based it sends the full value).
Raises a point about the precedence for cadence in this scenario. I think it used to be HRM-Tri/Run, foot pod, watch for the watch itself but not checked for a while.
I have the Garmin Tribute HR but my new Vivoactive 4 doesn’t pull data scubas stride length, vertical ratio%, vertical oscillation (cm), ground contact time balancer ground contact time (ms).
If the Vivoactive 4 has both bluetooth and ANT+ technology. why won’t it pull this data.
Feel Like I sill need to keep my Fenix HR (that’s can’t be right).
Any thoughts or workaround?
I guess super wishful thinking that this would roll out to the 5 plus series…
Ok, similar to other comments. On the treadmill I wear my 945, HRM-Run, and Stryd (I like data). Which HRM and pace will go to Zwift?
For HR data I can confirm the HRM-RUN data will go to Zwift. I haven’t tried the Stryd combo yet to see which data goes (easy to test, simply leave watch on desk and then run around in circles).
It should definitely be the Stryd although you could of course pair the Stryd direct for pace anyway. You may still want to pair Stryd direct for pace if you want Zwift to record your power. Conversely I believe the Virtual Run connection would honour any calibration you have setup on your watch whereas Zwift would not and you would have to do the Zwift one! TBH it gets a bit confusing and best to try it for yourself to be sure got the setup you want (well if possible).
Normally I would agree with the direct pairing, but I find that my both my Stryd and Garmin Dual HRM can be a bit finicky when each is paired to my aTV… I’ll get frequent drops from either at random times. Issue still persist even when paired through the Zwift Companion app… Depending on event I’ll just stick to Stryd for pace and cadence…
If I can pair my Dual HRM and Stryd to my watch then watch to the aTV without dropouts that would be great.
Also, as you noted, the pacing displayed on my watch from the Stryd is never inline what is displayed on Zwift. I have to regularly calibrate on Zwift in order to try and match my watch. Rebroadcasting the pace from the watch would ‘fix’ that issue as well.
Tried that today, and it worked fine! Data from HR-strap and Stryd via my FR945 to Apple-TV. Now I don’t need the CABLE ??
Thanks for confirming… Looking forward to giving this a try once it’s out of Beta.
Super happy with all the post-purchase updates that have applied to my 945.
Now, I agree next big thing would be first beat metrics recognising all my TrainerRoad workouts.
Apologies if this is obvious, but couldn’t you just record your TR workouts simultaneously on your watch? Your trainer/power meter will pair to both your TR app and a device.
Interesting! Will this allow me to broadcast HR from my 945 to my Peloton? This would save me from having to use a separate HR strap for rides.
Yup. Though honestly it did that already, as the Peloton bike can pickup ANT+ signals, which the FR945 can already re-broadcast via ANT+. 🙂
I wonder if this is coming to the fenix 5, 5plus, or 6. Good article!
Important move as I feel that it was already the case with a simple Apple Watch (I used it now instead of using the 4iii HR belt used before as bridge for the rest of the ANT+ sensors)
Using an Apple Watch with Zwift for indoor cycling has been inconsistent, in my experience. Most of the time the watch won’t pair with the Apple TV app before you begin riding (in the initial Zwift pairing screen). You need to start the ride, then stop pedaling, then visit the menu, then pair with the Apple Watch. But sometimes this doesn’t work, either, and I end up riding without HR. It was such a pain that I gave up and bought a Polar OH1 when they went on holiday sale (using Ray’s link, of course).
It’s indeed a little unstable but I always find a way (don’t ask me how 🙂 with the App and the Apple TV
Can you broadcast HR to a cyclocomputer via bluetooth?
Thanks DC, now i would buy one.
very interesting!!! there is any chance about a FR935 roll out in the next future? Or any support and development on that platform is stopped?
I hope so, love my 935!
This is awesome! Tried it this morning and it gave me the best Zwift running users experience I’ve had, just displaying it on my iPhone. Using a simple 10 year old Garmin footpod which tends to keep my speed within 2% of the treadmill, from 6mph to 10mph, and the OHR on the watch, this just worked. Nice work Garmin!
I just had to buy a Garmin Dual chest monitor to do HR over Bluetooth to get the data to my NordicTrack Studio bike. However, even if this came to the Fenix (5x plus in my case) I’m not sure I’d stop using the dual chest strap monitor. My heartrate from the wrist when using the NordicTrack is wildly different to the chest strap so I’m not sure I’d believe it anyway.
One cool thing I noticed is that somehow it managed to broadcast the HR over bluetooth to BOTH my treadmill AND my phone. I had it paired with my phone and running with zwift, and about halfway through the run noticed that my treadmill was showing my HR too (I think it was showing it the whole time – I just wasn’t paying attention to it)
I did notice that if you have a garmin coach workout loaded up, it doesn’t do the bluetooth pairing at all – I’m not sure if this is a bug or not so I’ll report it to garmin. Getting my HR to show up on my treadmill (or paired to my phone alongside my humon) even when I’m not doing a zwift workout is a nice feature.
This would be useful to broadcast heart rate to a Speedcoach SUP 2, as it only accepts bluetooth HR data while paddling.
It seems crazy to me that the default HR for chest straps is done via Bluetooth, but watches is Ant+.
I have a paired ant+ footpod and my cadence to zwift yesterday I’m pretty sure it was showing my actual cadence on the screen.
I tried to load up the website UI to show it, but zwift’s data view for activities is basically nonexistent… I downloaded the .fit file and in there it is showing the halved value. weird.
I know this is in beta and the FR245 and 945 are a logical place to do that. But I REALLY hope they bring this to the Vivoactive 4. It’s getting more and more difficult to pick a device. I moved from the Forerunner to get more of the lifestyle features like Garmin Pay and also like the Barometric sensor. They still advertise the VA4 for Running so fingers crossed.
1) You mention ‘ I’ve found it pretty darn close after proper outside calibration of the watch to your running stride’. Does this happen automatically when you go for an outdoor run or do you have to set the watch to begin calibration.
2) As a speed sensor, would you use the Garmin watch or a Zwift Pod i.e. which is likely to be more accurate/consistent
1) Yes, this happens automatically as you run. The best way it’s been described to me is filling up pace buckets. Garmin stores calibration values for a huge pile of pace buckets. So each pace bucket has a slightly different calibration value. Thus the ‘best’ way to do this is essentially a week’s worth of runs that include a variety of speeds with good satellite connectivity (so that GPS accuracy isn’t an issue) The fastest way to do this though in a pinch is find a nice straight road, and then do a run through a variety of paces from sprints to walks to your long run pace.
2) That’s tough. I generally get relatively good results in the middle-ground for both, though I find a bit more skewing at the ultra-fast sprint speeds (like 20-second sprints) on both too. I’d have to run some recent side by side tests between the Zwift Pod and a recent Garmin watch to see which one is handling better. I know Garmin has been doing a bunch in the last year around optimizing wrist based pace and calibration, so most of my Zwift Pod comparative tests are older there.
I can understand the 935 not being able to broadcast via Bluetooth, as it might be a hardware restriction, but I would love to see them be able to broadcast running stats via ANT+
Dude, I’ve been wishing that forever! I love the 935
I have been using the North Pole Engineering Heartbeatz to allow my Apple Watch to broadcast HR data to my Garmin Edge over ANT+. Would have been cool if they would have also supported a BT connection.
I have a hack if you want your Garmin to account for Zwift or TrainerRoad (or any app) bike workouts… start an “indoor bike” activity on the watch, record your workout/ride, and then simply discard the activity instead of saving it. This way, the main Zwift or TrainerRoad activity still ends up on your Strava/GC/TR account, AND the watch uses the discarded activity to show proper training load, recovery time, etc. Been doing this for a couple years.
Good tip, but if I understand Ray’s post, the HR data will not be sent over Bluetooth with the Indoor Cycling Activity. Is that correct?
My tip and this new beta software feature are kinda unrelated. If what you’re saying is true, you could certainly use another activity type on your Garmin. For me, Indoor Cycling works fine as I’m recording my Neo’s power and cadence, and HR either from the Fenix 6X or a Scosche HRM… all via Ant+. Then I use Zwift or TrainerRoad via BLE.
Hmm, I’m surprised about the discard trick. Since the entire way the training load bits work (especially in Physio TrueUp) is by the completed .FIT file and time stamps. Odd.
I’ll have to try it out.
When you’re testing this *please* could you assess the accuracy of a 945 broadcasting over the different protocols, both with AND (if possible) without actually recording an activity on the watch – ie only using it as a ‘dumb’ sensor?
In my experience, and that of others on the Garmin forums, the 945 ANT+ broadcast is woeful (ie miles out!) unless the watch is actively recording an activity. The ‘record and discard’ trick avoids duplication of the activity on Strava etc. but at least HR is recorded reasonably accurately. If the 945 is not recording HR is a joke and it feels to me as if all the features and metrics which rely on all-day tracking are undermined by this issue…
Correct, if not in an activity it’s providing lower power to the sensor. As such, the accuracy isn’t great for sports (but is fine for 24×7 type measurements since the rate of change is typically very low). Once you open up a sport app (as this is classified as), then it gives full power to the sensor.
Yeah, that’s what I assumed. It used to be way better on my old 935 and in (much) earlier versions of 945 firmware; I think they must have tweaked power management for the sake of a few hours’ extra battery life. It’s a shame it’s made the non-recording ANT+ broadcast function pretty much totally useless(!)
Thanks for replying – it’s an awesome site. Keep up the great work.
Please, try it out! Currently I’m discarding Swift activities (or not exporting them anywhere) and saving Garmin’s indoor cycling activity, since the discard trick didn’t work properly for me, and I value more Physio TrueUp trying (and failing) to do something barely decent integrating my data than Swift climbing stats. Thanks!
Any update on this? I’m on a 745 and still doing the discard. 😒
My initial response was MEH! But after realising this would work with Trainerroad I’m stoked. My super reliable Garmin Tri HR strap I cant kill needs the ant adapter which is clumsy, but the Bluetooth Wahoo Tickr X is rubbish and has been replaced twice.
Fingers crossed the optical heart rate data is reliable, as I’m still not convinced I can rely on it when running.
Thanks for the heads up Ray.
Hey Ray, any plans to review Whoop? Thanks for your hard work!
Yup, I bought one last summer. I think I’ll finally have some wrist space from next week. 🙂
Dude, I’ve been wishing that forever! I love the 935
I hope they bring this to the Fenix 5 Plus as well. I love the watch but the fact of the matter is that it’s not an old watch and Garmin are pretending that it’s the same age as the original Fenix 5 and sort of tries to ignore it’s existence.
So I need to “upgrade” my FR645 to an FR245 to get this feature? Hmmm. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
I liked wrist hr measurements until I discovered jabra in hear. Jabra sport elite, Bluetooth.
TBH, I thought my Garmin could already do this… until I tried to do this.
Great news for those days of cold rain or late teleconferences.
Followed instructions, dragged the beta file into my garmin storage using android file transfer as i am on a macbook but nothing happens – I would like the beta – any advice?
Maybe you have an Asia/Pacific version of the watch (which gets updated on a delayed basis). The easiest way to confirm might be to go to Settings->Systems->Languages, and see what your options are. (Or, assuming you’ve set your watch to update automatically, see if you’re still using 3.30 rather than 4.0.)
Great write-up, thanks! Hope you can find out some of the open questions from Garmin.
So when you start a “Virtual Run” activity on the watch, after the run (or bike ride), this activity does not count towards training load? That would be a serious gotcha?
I would understand if it perhaps wasn’t used for the VO2max calculation (I think that only works outdoors with GPS – though that’s a shame, if you have a footpod, the data should be accurate enough to use!). But for training load, all activities usually count.
I hoped this would give HRV data from the Forerunner to apps, like HRV4 training- I could then synchronise with training peaks and monitor resting (overnight) HRV data, charting it alongside training stress, for example. Sadly it doesn’t transmit R-R intervals.
This is a shame, since Garmin collects this data for itself (used for V02, stress &c.) but doesn’t release it for anyone else…
nice concept.. and very cool. but the fonts are TOO garsh darn small. and at this time im looking at my phone while sitting on my couch. while im gasping for air and sweating like a pig, id rather see a big screen of easily readable stats than watching a computer generated runner. the fonts of all the stats are just too small to be useable for me. i cant barely make out the flag symbols
Appreciate the mention of Widget Glances in the write up.
I turned this on and like it quite a bit! How to:
link to support.garmin.com
Do you think Garmin will add this feature to the 935 as well?
With all the new features for the 945, what is the selling point for the Fenix 6 Pro? Nicer case?
It’s a rollout for two watches as a beta test, I imagine if that works out it will be standard issue on most if not all of their models.
I too am sitting on my hands for a Fenix 6 or 6 pro, so will just wait, shouldn’t be more than a month or two?
Could someone can confirm that with FR 245 beta soft it is possible to connect HR Garmin dual via ANT+ to Concept2 PM5 and then transfer the rowing data (watts, stroke rate and HR) from mobile AP – Concept ErgData (or any other) to FR 245 virtual run mode ?
“atop that I’d like to see them have the FirstBeat metrics actually account for Zwift or TrainerRoad workouts pushed back to Garmin Connect”
That would be the best update ever ! It is so boring to have to save it both on the watch and on zwift, then you have it twice in garmin connect, twice in strava …
This and those stupid alerts and vibrations while doing a run workout : link to forums.garmin.com
My apple watch works just fine with Zwift (running and heart rate broadcasting, no external sensors required).
Can it broadcast GPS data (ie location) over bluetooth?
No. I’m not aware of any wearable that does that (in a standards-supported ways).
“I would not expect to see it on the Fenix 5 Series”
*Cries into this Fenix 5*
Got the beta loaded and was able to pair to TrainerRoad and Peloton on my ipad. however, I seemt o be stuck on the main page with my 945 saying “Waiting to Pair” and it won’t let me start the workout. While using peloton, I also had my footpod paired to the watch and the watch was showing pace but I couldn’t actually record the workout. Any ideas?
I’ve tried on my ipad and iphone.
Follow up- Zwift on my iphone paired fine, but not Peloton or TR.
Probably worth shooting the e-mail address on the Forerunner beta page a note (it’s dedicated) to see if they can provide any thoughts (given it’s beta). They’ve already circled back on my comment about with Zwift and halving/doubling cadence via HRM-TRI.
more and more im regreting bought 645M -_- probaly gonna sold and buy 945 this year. If i can afford adjust the budget
Why do you regret F645M? Apart from the Bluetooth broadcasting what are you really missing? And don’t you like the fact that the F645 is smaller?
645M doesnt have PACEPRO nor this heartrate system. first time i bought garmin too! feels been slightly cheated. and Garmin pay doesnt work in my country. Oh well
I would love to have this on my Garmin Venu so I can connect it with Zwift on my PC, I hate those chestbands!
Rick, on the Venu you can go into the heart rate settings and select Rebroadcast during activity. This will get your wrist HR to show on Zwift.
Thnx for the tip Lee, going to test that later!
So do you figure that an FR645 would be accurate enough via ANT+ hooking up to Zwift. I usually use a tickr but would be good to drop it, also have the experience of transmitting to an ANT+ dongle on the floor beside the trainer been good i.e do you think ANT+ will do 5 feet or so
How do I install this new beta version on Mac? I tried but I couldnt find. Thank you.
Not. You install IT on your Garmin. ?
Any whispers of “virtual bike” coming soon? I have a bunch of ant+ devices that i’d like to broadcast to an ipad without an ant+ dongle.
I’ve been wondering the same thing for a while now too.
link to forums.garmin.com
Doesn’t look like Virtual Run works with your scheduled workouts in your calendar. I have training peaks run workouts that are synced to my Garmin, when I select Virtual Run, I get prompted to do my scheduled workout but doesn’t have the paring screen option. Works fine if you don’t have any scheduled workouts. Anyone else experiencing this issue?
I’m in Asia – I want to update to try Zwift running. Please help
Finally out in production and had a chance to try this out. And so far so good. No drop outs when using with aTV whereas I had quite a few when pairing my Stryd and HRM Dual separately.
Also, the pace on my watch (via Stryd) now matches the pace displayed on Zwift.
My one complaint is the inability to do a structured workout when in Virtual Run mode. The workout library or training calendar is not available.
Great post! I was just wondering a trick: is it possible to create a custom profile, starting from the “Virtual Run” and then have only HR BLE Broadcast active? I am willing to broadcast only the HR BLE to a Keiser M3i indoor bike.
Thanks for the great news… did my first Zwift run earlier today using my FR945, AppleTV, and my NordicTrack tread. Had a real blast.
Any update on if Garmin will push this function to my wife’s FR645M?
I just got a Fenix 6…..can I broadcast the wrist HR via bluetooth to my TrainerRoad (run on my iPhone)? I don’t see “Virtual Run” as an established activity in the menu. I thought that using Indoor Bike might work, but it isn’t seeing the HR as a sensor. I also tried creating a virtual run activity from scratch, but still no apparent signal being broadcast. I also went and tried to enable broadcasting directly, but to no avail.
I can get TR to pair to the watch (945) when in virtual run; however, the watch won’t commence activity b/c it doesn’t see a source of distance paired to it. Pairing a power meter didn’t work.
I am not able to pair 945 with Zwift. The watch says ready to pair but Zwift app is not picking up Forerunner 945? I also don’t have Connect logged in..What am I missing ?
Is there any option this is going to be added to the Instinct?
Has anyone come up with an idea how to combine Garmin(Firstbeat) training effect data and zwift data into a single workout in Garmin Connect? Anyway, otherwise happy with Zwift Companion + FR945 + Galaxy S9!
Any idea if/when Garmin Virtual Bike will be available?
I asked Garmin just last week actually. They said they’re working on a variant of BLE broadcasting, but no set timeframe at the moment.
Fwiw – you can use the virtual run in bike mode. In fact, I actually did it today with Zwift for cycling. If you don’t end up starting the activity (and just leave it on the connected/pending screen), it appears to ‘stay alive’ for about 30-40 mins (not 100% sure, somewhere in there). Or, you can just start an activity and discard it.
Yes, did virtual run on my fenix 6X to get HR on TrainerRoad. Didn’t start the activity, so the HR only broadcast for 30 minutes. Will start the activity next time and then discard it.
Hi DC, but were you able to broadcast speed and cadence sensors as well? With me, zwift don’t connect to fênix 6 pro while in bike mode. Thanks
Any News when a „Virtual bike“- Profile will be launched??
How do people get Zwift rides onto Garmin Connect with FirstBeat metrics? I understand the most commonly used method is to connect your smart trainer/HRM to both the garmin device (Fenix 6 or 530 in my case) and also to Zwift, then set it up so that Zwift posts to Strava and Garmin posts to Garmin connect – issue with that being that the distance/elevation on Garmin connect is wrong. Does anyone have any more effective methods? When the new Virtual Cycle features comes will it help fix this? Then for Virtual Run, does it have the same double posting to Strava or Garmin Connect issue (i.e. if I have my Fenix 6 and Zwift both set up to post a workout to Strava and Garmin Connect – will I get the double posting on Stava/GC)? Thanks!
Sadly, no such way. Long been an annoyance for folks (including myself).
Definitely a plus one on those for me as well. Even with An edge unit on the bike it doesn’t really work
I can get this to work on my iphone 6s and Zwift but cannot for my ipad pro as the Searching on Zwift doesn’t find the watch.
Do you know if the functionality has been rolled out to ipadOS yet?
Okay. It’s probably because I can’t pair my Forerunner 945 to both an iphone and an ipad
Using the forerunner running in Virtual running mode, will it adjust VO2max? As far as I know vo2max data is only updated on run made outside.
I have tried zwift with my FR945 + dumb treadmil and it works suprisely fine! But as i dont like social idea of zwift with treadmill, i like large dashboard with numbers.
Are you familiar with any android/win10 program, that can receive distance/cadence/heart rate data and show this on screen via virtual run?
I think that the Wahoo Fitness App will do all that with most bluetooth sensors.
A roll out to the Fenix series (5,5+,6)
Would be supremely awesome.
While probable for F6, what are the hardware/software limitations that would keep this great feature from showing up on F5,5+ ?
As always, your reviews ROCK!!
I bought the Cable (connect ANT+ to Bluetooth) from link to npe-inc.com to connect my 10 year old Garmin cadence, speed, and Heart rate strap to my IPad. Works really well. On the iPad you connect to an NPE app first which detects the Ant devices, then switch to the Zwift app. I’m surprised it worked as well as it did since it wasn’t an easy solution to find.
Hi, will it be available for vivoactive 4?
Are there are any running apps that are compatible with this that use real life videos (slowing/speeding the playback speed based on pace)?
Looks like it is time for a watch upgrade… but before I do can i ask a question . Will it be possible to do a training peaks workout using the virtual run mode? The same way you can do a workout on run or treadmill mode? And will zwift then record laps? Or show the workout on the zwift app?
Hi Ray, hope your well during this horrible Virus situation! Now we are further into the year, which Garmin watches will transmit HRT via Bluetooth to zwift and my 830? Kind regards Jason
Great article – I am a newbie, finally someone who explains tech detail simpky. Thank you
Thanks for this article. I have the Forerunner 735XT and am hoping this function will become available. Calling Garmin technical I got the surprise answer ‘we don’t know if or when this will be available for 735XT. It’s up to development centre’. Not very helpful.
Any hint of 735XT capability. It’s not that old and was quite expensive.
735XT is 4 years old next month. That is super old in Garmin terms. If this isn’t coming to 645 then no chance of getting it on 735. Time to upgrade. Seems the 945 is recommended option for you.
Thanks Gary B.
You have hit the nail appointment n the head re corporate greed and lack of customer care at Garmin.
If the watch is 4 years old why is it still in the website as a current watch for tri atheletes at £299. This price bracket is not for obsolete unsupported watches.
Anyone buying it today does not know it’s 4 years old to them it’s 1 gay old and current. If it’s not being supported to be compatible with technology that’s years old (Zwift and Bluetooth sensors) Which is well overdue by the way, it should be withdrawn or reduced heavily in price to reflect this.
The statement ‘ I recommend 9 series’ is so typical of the current state of Garmin. What? You want someone to buy a 735XT for over £300 then find within a year that it is not going to perform on basic apps with well established sensors and you have to buy a second watch for £600. The strategists are clearly ex-Apple employees.
I’m not sure I follow. For someone wanting a pretty comprehensive *TRIATHLON* watch that isn’t perhaps as updated with all sorts of Connect IQ things they won’t use, why bother pay twice as much?
In the US, the FR735 ix currently $214USD. In mainland EU, it’s currently 225EUR. And in the UK it’s currently 199GBP…with the Garmin HRM-RUN (link to amzn.to) – FYI, that’s incredible.
So actually, for a recent 9x series watch, you’re paying more than 3x. Why?
I have the FR735XT. If we only look at the Garmin price as they are the ones who make and sell it as a ‘latest watch’ and want £299 +£70 for HR. All I want to do is train indoors as well as outside using Zwift. Should be easy right? Zwift has been around forever and I have ( let’s say in theory) just bought the FR735XT for £370. Definitely not at the low end of the market here.
So Zwift won’t run the ANT+ HR Even with ABT+ Dongle, as there is no speed or cadence retransmitted by watch. The watch is Bluetooth yet won’t connect to a Zwift foot pod so for £370 you are screwed. Surely Garmin can at least let the FR375 connect to a BT footpod? . You are right. I am definitely not going to spend more money on a more expensive watch which did the same as 735 till a Virtual run update. Ironically the FR375XT has a built in indoor run activity which is so inaccurate it’s hilarious! You would think Garmin would want to improve this activity at least because it is totally useless. Thanks
Yeah, the hardware on the FR735XT simply isn’t there from a chipset standpoint to do Bluetooth Smart broadcasting.
The hardware is there to do ANT+ broadcasting of pace, that’s indeed viable if Garmin were to introduce it. But realistically the ZwiftPod running pod is like 30GBP I tihnk? If that? That’s going to be more accurate than wrist-based pace in most case anyway. As for HR though, it does already broadcast that via ANT+ today. So if you have the right platform (anything other than iOS), then you’re good.
As for pricing, I don’t know why Garmin lists it that high on their website, but I’m guessing most people don’t buy it there.
It’s not perfect, but I think having consumer choice is a good thing. If someone really wants to run indoors, they don’t need a 735XT, they can do it with the ZwiftPod for $30 and then a HR strap for another $30-$40 (and BLE one will do).
Thanks for confirmation DCR. You have managed in 10 minutes to provide information I have tried to get out of Garmin for 3 months!!!
I assumed that the hardware was la mired in 735XT and indeed bought a Zwift footpod and do use the Garmin run HR. The Zwift pod is very accurate at most speeds I have found.
I can also say that the Coospo armband is pretty good too if you don’t like HR straps.
My main gripe with Garmin is the inability of the watch to pick up the Zwift footpod (Or any other sensor) by Bluetooth but as the 735 has gps for outdoor running you are only missing out on cadence.
Is this option a hardwire (I have to buy a new 2020 watch) or firmware update (it updates my existing, relatively new, say 2019) watch? If firmware, will this trickle down to watches like Vivoactive 4, Venu, others? Note that the garmin website does not confirm the FR245 or FR945 does this: link to buy.garmin.com and link to buy.garmin.com
It’s a blend of hardware and software. The VA4 and Venu absolutely have the right hardware to pull this off. No idea why Garmin hasn’t put it in this (yet or otherwise).
As for Garmin.com, they rarely (virtually never) show features that came later in firmware updates. (Insert shrug emoji here)
Hi Ray! It’s 6 months later…has this update come to the Fenix 6 yet? Tried connecting it to Zwift, but didn’t see anything (not sure if additional steps would be required other than Zwift searching for the broadcasted HR signal)
Yup, it came a few months back. Same exact steps.
Hi Ray is this available for my Venu? Would be handy for Apple TV Rouvy ?
Sadly they haven’t extended it there. 🙁
Trying to connect Virtual Run HR to my Tacx App (tried Android and on PC) – it transmits but then always stays in the “Ready to Connect” state which will disconnect after 30-40min. Am I doing something wrong – or that’s how it is between Garmin Fenix 6 Pro and it’s (now) own Tacx software? 😉
Can you confirm the same behaviour with your setup?
Thanks for a short feedback
You just need to press the start button. 🙂
Otherwise, it’ll disconnect as you noted after 30-40 mins.
Thanks Ray – of course that’s what I do – but the virtual activity on the Fenix just doesn’t start running and while showing the tablets connected name with the bluetooth symbol in the lower part of the Fenix screen – it still keeps showing “Ready to connect” on the top 🙁
Which tablet/OS are you using – also Android and/or PC?
Same problem on my 245 Music. It shows connected to my peloton bike+ but it never moves past the pairing. It show the device is connected and the bike reads the heart rate. It just never allows the activity to start and will go to sleep after a period of time. Have you figured this out yet?
So in the case of the Peloton Bike, you can actually just pair via the normal ANT+ method (either in a sport profile or not).
Have you ever noticed any interference with playing music on a 945 and broadcasting heart rate? I start my music first, then start a virtual run to pair it to Zwift/TR. I typically find that the playlist will stop after one song and after getting it restarted, it stops again after the next song. I’d rather have music than heart rate so I’ve stopped using the feature
DC, I guess this isn’t coming to FR 645/645M? That’s shameful from Garmin. So many people are now zwifting and such, it’s hard to believe 645 can’t handle ble hr broadcasting. I sense Garmin has a tendency to overlook its mid range devices. FR 245 appeals to runners in general and so must sell very well, 945 is a does-it-all piece and appeals to those deep pocketed (reverting good money to Garmin). And so 645, which should be their top tier running-only watch, does not live up to that, being prematurely abandoned update-wise.
Is this available for the Forerunner 935?
“Note: Neither the HRM-TRI or HRM-RUN broadcast pace (or the RD-POD), so that’s still coming from your wrist.”
Indeed the HRM-RUN doesn’t broadcast speed over Ant+, however in the case described here, “everything” comes from the watch itself, as it is acting as a “hub” for the Ant+ and internal sensors and then rebroadcasts everything with BLE. Is that right?
If so, then does the speed really come from the wrist or is the watch using the cadence data from the strap to factor in the speed?
(note: I’m talking about the latest version of the Fenix 6 as it appears that it is available there as well now)
Thanks in advance for your reply and for the detailed post on the subject.
Interesting feature that I’d definitely be welcoming for treadmill runs and DirectDrive Tacx spins – but struggling with the set up in my gym re. the treadmill. Hoping someone can help out. I have a Garmin FR945.
So the gym has treadmills from the Matrix brand, which are able to detect my FR945 via BT. When I then put the watch in VR Run mode, it finds the treadmill! But unfortunately from there I cannot get it to connect, it won’t let me start the activity…
The annoying thing is I have a FR935. Dang….
Thanks a huge lot!
To make sure I’m 100% with you: Even if I “ride” indoor on Swift, The app I must select is always “virtual run”?
I start the activity (this way it never goes offline), and discard it at the end to count on Swift to record it, and to push it to my linked accounts (Garmin and Strava)?
Somewhat related question. I just bought a Sole F85 treadmill and it broadcast the speed to apps like Zwift, so I no longer need to use the NPE Runn. However, is it possible to have the speed from the treadmill sent to my 945 via bluetooth?
Any news for FR645?
No plans at this stage. 🙁
Any updates on Fr945 or fenix to Keiser 3mi bike?
Ideally Id like all my info to go from Keiser to Garmin connect, but currently I dont think that is possible. I am deciding on a Garmin watch based on compatibility. I emailed Garmin but the reply was that they didnt have a keiser to test it on so the responder didnt know if the 945 or fenix could connect to the keiser to pull keiser data to Garmin app or to push garmin data to keiser app.
Thank you for this comprehensive article.is there any update regarding fenix 5s? Will it support eventually heart rate transmitting in Bluetooth?
Found this older post now that weather/roads are cold and slippery. Bluetooth broadcasting worked today with my Forerunner 745, Rouvy, AppleTV (Treadmill Run). Previously using Runn from NPE. Broadcasting must have been added sometime ago.
Can someone please explain if I can broadcast heart rate from my 935 to Zwift? When I broadcast and search for heart rate device on Zwift on a computer or my phone Zwift doesn’t find it. This has probably been answered but I couldn’t find it. I can broadcast HR to a Peloton so it is surprising that I can’t do it on Zwift.
The FR935 broadcasts HR in ANT+, but not Bluetooth. The reason the Peloton Bike can see it, is that it supports both ANT+ & Bluetooth Smart.
Zwift can do both too, but only on platforms that support it (PC or Mac with a USB ANT+ stick). Else, it’ll just see Bluetooth Smart only.
Thanks. I think I have an old Ant stick from a Garmin 310xt. I will give that a shot.