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Garmin Forerunner 955 Complete Beginners Guide & Features Overview

Just a super quick weekend note for those that don’t subscribe on YouTube, that I’ve posted my massive 50-minute-long user guide for the Forerunner 955 series. This guide covers virtually every feature of the Forerunner 955 from start to finish, taking you through not just the newness to the FR955, but also core features of the watch itself. So if you’re jumping into a Garmin watch for the first time, or perhaps upgrading from a 3-4-year-old model, this will cover all the things that have also been added in the last few years.

Of course, I dive deep into the new Forerunner 955-specific features too. Areas like the new Training Readiness, HRV Status, dynamic training plans based on races, revamped Daily Suggested Workouts, and more. In fact, mid-way through the video, I go out and do a hard interval workout to demonstrate those features in real-time and how they change throughout the day due to these impacts.

There’s plenty of goodness and tips/tidbits in this video that I just didn’t fit into my full written review – especially around navigation, music, and contactless payments (though, those sections will be added shortly to the written review too). And best of all, you can skip right to the video section you’re looking for using the YouTube chapters in the video itself, or the quick-links below:

0:00 The Game Plan
0:40 Watch Face, Widgets, Daily Activity Tracking
4:22 Sleep Tracking, Body Battery, HR Sensor
8:36 HRV Status Deep-Dive
11:48 Training Readiness Deep-Dive (and Load/recovery)
17:21 Solar Version Details
20:20 Race Calendar and Dynamic Training Plans
24:05 Sport Modes, Configuration, and Usage
29:48 Native Running Power
32:05 Multiband GPS
34:23 Stamina Deep-Dive
39:26 Sensors & Pairing
41:36 Maps Downloads, Navigation, Routing
47:22 Music Support (Spotify)
49:54 Garmin Pay/Contactless Payments

I’ve got a similar guide coming up this week for the Forerunner 255 as well, though as you might imagine, much of the features are the same (at its core, minus Training Readiness, solar, and mapping-related functions).

With that – thanks for watching!

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89 Comments

  1. Stephen Sands

    Just bought 955. Wonder if will track treadmill runs as have running pod but 935 was always off and asked to recalibrate at end of run but it was based on that specific workout speed. Also, I use workout plans on paper and wondered if I can upload LHR plan to watch rather than rely on the Garmin derived plan.

    • You can override the lactate threshold level if that’s what you’re referring to?

    • Stephen Sands

      Me? I just wondered if my mileage and pace, etc can be accurately captured on a treadmill with the 955. I have a running pod but not a foot pod.

    • Generally speaking, assuming you get in an hour or two of running outside across varying paces, you’ll get reasonably good indoor treadmill accuracy. Basically, the watch creates internal ‘pace buckets’ that figure out your running form for different paces. I find when I get off the treadmill, it’s usually within 1-2% of my treadmill, which, doesn’t necessarily mean much as many treadmills are still iffy.

  2. JP

    Hi and thanks. When will this watch be added to the Product Comparison Calculator?

    • Probably this afternoon. 🙂

      I want to add a few new data fields to account for some of the newer features.

    • Jeremy B

      Millions await!

    • Manuel

      Everybody wants this 😀
      For me the main reason is to understand if is worth the extra money compared to 945…
      945 with big discount can be a great choice (for me at least)

    • Jeremy B

      And den?

    • No more and den!

      Done!

      (I’m still not entirely sure where to stop in terms of adding some of the features here. I’ve long tried to keep the product calculator as company-neutral in terms of adding features, and tried to keep them more generic. Meaning, I don’t have Stamina in the product calculator, since that’s only on the Fenix 7, Epix, and Forerunner 955, yet not on the FR255/Instinct 2. So in that sense, the product calculator is less useful at showing those differences. Yet oddly, those are the differences that probably matter the most.)

      Always open to feedback there.

  3. Peter^

    Where to buy this in EU to receive it quickly, preferably with a affiliate link for ray, and maybe even a discount? Checked wiggle, but they don’t have it in stock. Garmin website says ships in 3-5 weeks…

    • I don’t have any EU affiliate ones that have it in stock, nor have I seen many others in the regions I looked at (namely, Netherlands for myself).

    • Eugene

      My advice, if you really want it soon: find out which brick shops sell Garmin in your country or neighborhod (e.g., Google it). There you can ask if they have it in stock. Should be avalilabe somewhere I’d say…
      In Belgium, Garmin is sold in AS Adventure, Vandenborre, Mediamarkt, and other shops. Don’t know yet which has the 955.

  4. Luca

    Hi Ray, for those folks who use the running power IQ app, do you think Garmin will ever explain or add some sort of support on how users should estimate their own Threshold Power in order to have some ballpark numbers to use for running power zones?

  5. Simon Hadley

    Niche question – I find it hard to sleep with the watch on so wear a VivoSmart4 as my primary device and use my Fenix 5 for workouts. As you know they wont share data which is why I make the Vivo priority device so I get Body Battery etc.

    With the 955, if I keep the same system, that is the Vivo as primary, worm. 24hours a day and just wear the. 955 for activities will the features like HRV, Body Battery, Training Readiness work properly? or will there be gaps.

    Appreciate. any feesback

    • Roman

      Unfortunately, HRV data are not part of Physio TrueUp and thus are not synced between devices. So even if vivosmart 4 supported HRV status (it doesn’t) it wouldn’t be synced to 955. If you want to have HRV status and Training Readiness score, then currently the only option is to sleep with the watch.

    • Correct, no Physio TrueUp support yet for HRV Status. It sounds like that’s in the hopper (there’s some piping already in the world), but wasn’t super critical to get in place for launch given no other devices have it (and most people aren’t going to be switching between a 955 and Fenix 7 at the moment).

    • Pinooo

      What if I wear a FR955 all day, except during activities. Any idea if the training readiness will be accurate? (I will record my ride with a Garmin 530 ans H10)

    • giper54

      I wear my Forunner 945 on one wrist and my Apple Watch series 7 on my other wrist. I have two wrist so why not. You can always wear both devices.

    • Ken

      Grumble… okay, if I’m willing to sleep with my 955, do I have to wear it all day too for training readiness? Or can I measure daily stress with something like a Vivosmart to fill in the stress component?

  6. Greg Goate

    How does the HR compare to earlier versions and say Coros Pace 2?

    I ask because no garmin has ever given me accurate workout wrist HR. However the pace 2 has so I’m looking for a similar sensor.

    And the gps chipset is the same company that is supplying the pace 2 as well? The sony chipset in the 945 was the worst I’ve ever seen. Too many issues.

  7. gingerneil

    Do any of the metrics rely on HRV, and therefore the inbuilt HR sensor, during a workout? If I wear a third party oHR (wahoo tickr FIT) that doesn’t support proper HRV, will it impact any of the stats? I *think* the tickr adds in HRV data to what it sends, but its not correct?
    Also, I work in an office where I cant wear a smart watch, so its locked away 9-5 (apart from a lunchtime run). I wear it all other times and overnight. Can I expect ‘accurate’ recovery, readiness etc metrics or do these rely on true 24/7 wear? Although of interest, I dont expect my life and training to revolve around these stats, but having an idea of their accuracy against my wear patterns would be useful either way.

  8. Lee

    Copying from the 955 review post…
    About 23 minutes in you discuss the suggested workouts for races that you loaded in Connect. Would the essentially act as a adaptive training plan like Garmin Coach? I love using Garmin Coach but for some strange reason there is no marathon plan and wondering if this would kinda take the place of it?

  9. Joris

    Hi, I currently own a Fenix 6 Sapphire. Is there any possibility there will be a software update coming in the near future to these devices including HRV status, training readiness, morning report and real-time stamina?

    From a hardware perspective I don’t see any reasons why not?

  10. Mike

    Hi Ray,

    Can you quickly rattle off what features this 955 has that the Fenix 7 won’t? I’m debating whether to return my Fenix 7 and get the 955 on account of the lighter weight for more comfort and accuracy, plus the lower price. Also dual-band gps on a $200 cheaper device than the standard 7?? With Garmin? It feels like you pay $200 more for a probably $20 piece of stainless steel on the Standard Fenix 7.

  11. Justin Clay

    Does anyone know if the Dynamic Training Plans work with ultra-distance races? For example if you put a 50 mile race on the calendar, will it still try and build a Dynamic Training Plan for that?

  12. Mike

    Hi all,

    I really like the HRV status and the training readiness, is there any chance there will be an update for the FENIX 6? i really like the watch but i would like to have the new features and i think it would be easy to get an update right?

    Thanks for the info!

    Mike

  13. Sven Gustavsen

    Hello DC Rainmaker.
    I have folloved you for some years now.
    I am wondering if you have a date for adding forerunner 955 to your
    product-comparison-calculator ?

  14. zipuni

    Quick question. Is there a way to have HR be measured using the high-power / high-accuracy mode normally reserved for workouts but in 24/7 wearing? In the past I have been running on a no-GPS activity all day, to “force” the HR to operate in high-accuracy mode. As you can imagine, I don’t care that it will be consuming more battery, I would just like the most accurate all-day HR results. Thanks!

    • DanielB

      Hey Zipuni, I’ve also done this in the past… one significant thing I noticed is that my daily active calories and total calories went through the roof.

      Did you notice anything similar?

  15. Stephane Tremblay

    As always your reviews are so well done. Thanks, I would be really curious to compare the accuracy of Stryd vs Garmin running power … Any references ? Thanks

  16. Niklaus

    Dear Ray
    You say somewhere that the new functions of the 955 will also be available later on the Fenix 7. Does this also apply to the Epix 2? Is there any information you can share on this? Many thanks for your great work!

  17. Freedom Paulette

    Can the FR955 (or the Edge 1040, or the Fenix 7) be used in replacement of GPS tracking devices as a personal tracking device in the races that require one (The Transcontinental bike race in particular).

    • Michael Raz

      Race instructions are very clear – either your own SPOT device or one is included in the fee. SPOT (and Garmin inreach) include remote messaging capability (satellite based) so no comparison to FR955 etc as these only provide YOU your location and linking them with a cell phone in anyway would not meet the requirements of tracking and messaging out of cell coverage.

  18. Brian McIntyre

    In regards to navigation, other than the size of the display, would the 955 do everything a unit like the Edge 830 would do?

  19. Chris

    It occurs to me that nobody has asked whether the new features will be ported over to the Enduro. Do you know Ray? And do you think we will see a new version of the Enduro, or do you think it is going to be a one off which will be phased out? You would have thought they would add the new GPS chip and reverse the nutty decision on maps and call it the Enduro 2…..

  20. Antonie

    I own a Stryd and just got received the 955. Garmin power is about 100w higher. Is there a way to disable Garmin running power. Now some apps pick up the Garmin power and some the Stryd.

  21. Matthew Martin

    Do you know if it will fit the 935/945 quick release kit?

  22. MikeD

    Any news on new firmware? FR955 is so buggy i cant even use maps which i use on old epix and FR945.
    When the forced beta will be closed? :/

  23. Michael R Withers

    Does anyone know how often the pace field updates on the 955. I have a 935 and have to download an exact pace app because its every 5 seconds

  24. Melissa Michaels

    Would you say this forerunner has all the same features of the swim 2? I went swimming with my forerunner 945 and it seems that the tracking is going downhill fast (my cynicism says it’s planned obsolescence). Thanks!!

  25. Pattie Wallner

    Hello there,

    Thanks for the great deep reviews you do. I upgraded from the Garmin 920xt (which is still going strong) to the 955 and am enjoying the huge upgrade.

    Can you tell me under what heading the “distance per stroke” is on the watch for swimming? I look under stroke fields on the app, but it is blank on the app.

    Thank you so much!

    Cheers,
    Pattie

  26. Alex Mlawsky

    (FYI, I posted this on your YouTube channel also….)

    Great recap and explanations…thanks! Question for you and others here. With all the technology and features in the 955 it same like I should start using the 955 to collect all the data when I ride. Currently I use my 1030 to capture all the ride data and then that is uploaded (in my case) to Training Peaks, Strava, and Garmin Connect. To get the full benefits/features & insight that Garmin has developed would you recommend using the watch to collect the data and upload to the platforms and use the “head unit” as just a display then purge/trash after a successful watch upload?

    This has me thinking maybe someone (if they have not already) should make a “monitor” head unit that connects to the watch that could be configured to display any of the watch data fields or generated information. Or give the users the ability to run their Edge units in full monitor mode.

    With all that said maybe I should play around with “Extended Display Mode” on my Edge units….. I just don’t believe it would be a full monitor mode.

    fyi using the term Monitor mode like the AV world does. 😉 lol

    • Sorry, a wee bit behind here!

      Yeah, essentially that was the vision behind Extended Display mode. And it kinda works, but it’s a bit finicky. I guess it’s one of those things that seemed like it might be more than just an edge case, but in reality, most people just end up having two devices. I think part of the challenge is that rather than two separate devices kept in sync (but recording on their own).

      Wahoo has done a bit in this area too, with integration between watch and head units, and in their case it seems to come out a bit cleaner, albiet, they have to support far less things (and only one watch).

    • AndrewAU

      Garmin might get around to that in 2028. I wish they would just push all the data up to Garmin Connect in the cloud, do the crunching there and push the stats down to your device(s) or the web portal. That way they could roll out new features, metrics and analysis easily and simply. Their current ‘hardware’ operating model is fundamentally flawed and is why there are so many overlapping and quickly redundant products. I really hope Wahoo or Whoop get their act together and wipe the floor with them.

  27. Stephen Sands

    Will the 955 download apple podcasts as the option is described as part of the Spotify commands but doesn’t seem to work. There is also a podcast 3rd party app but haven’t tried it and wonder if that’s the work around.

    • You can manually download podcasts using the Garmin Express app on your desktop computer, but that’s clunky. There’s also some 3rd party Connect IQ apps that do it too.

      But in terms of tying directly into Apple’s platform, Apple doesn’t permit it.

  28. Thomas

    Just bought a 955 solar mostly for ultra trails and absolutely loving it. One thing i did not figure out yet is how to upload “longer” courses. For examples, when trying to upload the gpx for my next race, 70k with 4500m+ (meaning lots and lots of small up and down, Garmin seems to only take a “smoothed-out” version of the course, making the overall elevation drop to about 2600m. The original gpx file has about 1000 points and i check manually that the total elevation does add up to 4600 or so meters. Is there a limitation on the number of points a course can have on the 955?

    • Odd. I just loaded up UTMB (170KM), and the stated elevation is precisely the same.

      In this case, I grabbed a course from Strava, which sent it to Garmin Connect (which in turn sent it to the watch as a .FIT file).

      You might want to try importing it into Garmin Connect first, and have it sync out that way (that has other ancillary benefits of things like Up Ahead and such).

    • Thomas

      It seems to work if i upload the gpx to strava, and star it so that it appears automatically in Garmin connect (then send to device to FR955). If i upload the gpx directly to Garmin Connect it loses at least 20% of the elevation. I actually tried with a UTMB 2018 route from Strava (link to strava.com) that went from 10,271m to less than 9,000m in Garmin Connect. Very odd indeed but at least i have a workaround now! Thanks!

    • Huh, weird. Yeah, I used that same exact course/link yesterday, and on my device and on GC it shows the 10,271 (using Strava native sync).

      I wonder if when you export/import the route, it does some shortening of data points or such.

  29. Stephen Sands

    I have a feeling that the Lap pace is current pace and not average lap pace. Am I just overlooking the average lap pace as an option for my data field?

  30. Bhaskar

    I am presently with Apple Watch 3 and would like to upgrade my watch. I am majorly looking for Running (looking to do marathons), Biking (I do 50 mile Rides), Swimming and Trecking. Other than that I am looking for other workout in Gyms.
    I am confused between Apple Watch 7 vs Garmin Forerunner 955.

    Please recommend me the best watch for the above purpose.

  31. Michael

    Hi Ray, could you please answer who the 955 performs to Epix2 in GPS- and HR-accuracy?

  32. Tom Janisch

    Got the FR955 a week ago – my first Garmin device. Does anyone know how to include use of extra weights (eg ankle weights, sand vest, etc) when doing floors, running, etc. I searched through the manual and couldn’t find it. Seems to me you would want to incorporate the extra weight so that calories and other calculations can be correctly calculated/tracked.. Any suggestions from anyone?

  33. Heartrate monitor compatible?

    I’m considering to upgrade my 920XT watch (from end 2014) to the FR955.
    Is the old running dynamics heartrate monitor (black, witch came with the watch) compatible?
    Are all running dynamics (Cadence, Ground contact time, Ground contact time balance Vertical oscillation, Stride length, Vertical ratio) compatible with the FR955?
    Do I miss functionality with an old heartrate monitor?

  34. Peter

    Hello
    First of all thanks for your great reports and videos! Really awesome what you do here.

    Briefly a question about the clock. Does the watch have an automatic workout detection? My girlfriend uses an Apple Watch 7 and the activity recognition is great. After a few minutes, it asks whether an activity should be started. Also when you pause it asks if you want to pause the activity and the same when you resume the activity. Is this function also available for the FR955?

  35. Amy

    Hey there! I bought the Venu 2 after having my Fenix 5s stolen. I was ridiculously disappointed in the fact the Venu 2 won’t work with the HR Pro to store my workout info without the watch nearby (can’t wear a watch in my uniform). Was also disappointed there is no training load status. Any chance this is on the horizon or should I suck it up and buy the FR955 or Epix?

  36. Michael Thayer

    I work on airliners and don’t really want to wear a plastic watch at work. I have a Fenix 6 Sapphire that I like to wear that’s pretty tough. Will my training readiness and other cool features be accurate if I only wear the Fenix 6 at work and the 955 all the rest of the time, including during sleep?

  37. Alex

    Hi Ray,

    Your performance widget/glance shows cycling vo2 max and FTP – mine by default has running related fields. How do I change this to mirror what yours shows? I’m more of a cyclist than a runner…

    • Hi Alex-

      Scroll down to the very bottom of the widgets to the pencil, and then you should be able to add the ‘Performance” one.

      However, it’s a bit funky in that it basically shows your last effort in that sport. So for cyclist, assuming you have a power meter, it’ll show whichever sport you last changed your VO2Max on. For me at the moment, that actually reverted back to running this week, after a change there.

      It’s kinda weird that way.

    • Alex

      Thanks for the rapid reply!

      I have the performance widget set on my glances. First activity I did was a run, and even though I’ve cycled since then I still just see vo2 max for running. I have to enter the widget to see any cycling related data, which is kind of annoying. Would be good to configure this, in an ideal world. Maybe it’ll change in a week!

      Thanks 👌

  38. Ivan

    Just bought 955, and used it to run a workout. What I find different from 935 and 945 is that during the workout with a set pace (e.g. 5:25-5:30 is the set pace), 935 and 945 would measure average pace and just inform you if you got out of the average range. 955 however is reporting current pace, which is really throwing off the measurement – e.g. the watch is reporting that I’ve fallen below 5:30 and is telling me I’m too slow, but the average segment pace is 5:22. This is then causing repeating alarms about pace, which is not really accurate since average pace is much different than current pace. I wonder is there a way to make 955 behave like 935/945, so that during workout average pace is taken into consideration, not current pace? Thank you.

  39. Sam rudman

    I have used the 955 for a few months after having used a whoop for several years. Has anyone noticed a REM sleep issue with the 955? The 955 is regularly recording 0 minutes of REM sleep, that is wrong. I have 3 years of whoop data and also recently started using a withings sleep pad to check the garmin. Would be interested to hear of anyone has this issue. Thx.

  40. Stephen Sands

    The music stops playing from my watch to my headphones 3-4 times out of 5 attempts when I start or resume my workout run outdoors. I have unattached and reconnected my headphones and also tried different music apps on watch to no avail. Sometimes it works and other times it stops. Wondering if others have this problem and know how to resolve.

    • Which headphones? And, any chance you’ve got a phone or other device that’s trying to take-over the connection (shouldn’t happen, but is rare).

    • Stephen Sands

      Beoplay E8 Sport. Still happened when turned off Bluetooth on apple phone. There are some reports of this on web with the only rec was to try and switch watch to other hand as maybe the R EarPod connects. Will try to delete music and reload as headphone says it’s connected to watch but music stops right when start run or shortly thereafter. Also wondered if there is an audio prompt setting on watch that I still left on that by default overtakes the headphones.

  41. Stephen Sands

    Fun fact: if you save your workout to complete later but don’t finish, the 955 won’t record your sleep that night. Once you save the workout, it will resume recording your sleep the next night. Maybe let folks at Garmin know so they can fix.

    • Huh….that might actually explain something I saw over the past week. Very much appreciated, and I’ll get that passed directly to the right peoples.

    • Lee

      I’ve noticed with my old 945 when doing a “save and resume later” I do not get body battery and stress recordings until the activity is completed. I am not sure if still acts that way with the 955.

  42. Megan C

    Thank you for all the awesome reviews! Two questions: do you know if the Body Battery or Training Readiness calculations / algorithms take into about the training & recovery advice from the female cycles bit? As in, if you’re in the high hormone phase, the advice is to focus on endurance and not huge strength bursts due to increased inflammation in that phase. Is that included in Body Battery or Training Readiness scores (or Morning Report) if one has chosen to track cycles on the watch? I can’t find that info anywhere! I’m stoked that Garmin and others are finally adding women’s specific physiology metrics since some solid research is being done in that area. I hope it’s integrated! Would be unfortunate to have conflicting advice due to lack of integration.
    Also, as I live in a country where I won’t be buying from your affiliate links, do you have a kofi account / buy me a beer type thing? 🙂
    Cheers!

    • Hi Megan-

      I’m not aware of any current algorithm-driven changes in those areas from Garmin. Garmin has some aspects they’ve done around training load and the ability to pause it for certain events (like pregnancy), but I haven’t seen any discussion around tweaking the Training Readiness calculations to accommodate that.

      For Body Battery, that’s more of a ‘here’s your current body energy’ metric (without suggestion on what to do next), so I don’t think we”d see that change, since that’s (theoretically) accurate based on current body energy levels.

      I suspect part of the challenge for Garmin would be how to balance between those women that want to optimize training tied to female cycles as you noted), versus those that want to optimize training tied to specific training/race cycles. Obviously, there’s valid reasons to do both.

      I suspect we’d probably see Garmin focus more on some of the fertility/cycle prediction bits, like Whoop/Oura do, first. But hard to say.

      Finally, as for (lack of) affiliate links – much appreciated for thoughts! I don’t have a Kofi type thing, there is the ability to become a DCR Supporter, or, on YouTube (the video above), there’s also the ability to leave a one-time tip (ala tip-jar) of sorts of a value of your choose.

      Much appreciated!

  43. Mark Herman

    Hi there,

    thanks for the great review (once more!). I am actually keen on the on the LTE functionality of the FR 945 and am surprised this isn’t available on the 955. Is this something that Garmin might add (as a extra SKU in the lineup next to solar etc?). Or have they given up on LTE?

    greetz

    Mark

  44. Yan Robins

    Considering upgrading from an Polar ignite. I use it for run, ride, swim and strength training. What are pros and cons? A little considered about HR accuracy and size/weight.

  45. Stephen Sands

    Not sure why but my recovery times are calculated excessively long (ie 48 hours) for moderately hard runs. I think it may have something to do with max heart rate setting, which I manually raised but it then got lowered after the next run. Has this recently happened to others?