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Garmin Forerunner 255 Complete Beginners Guide & Features Overview

Just a super quick note for those that don’t subscribe on YouTube, that I’ve posted my massive 50-minute-long user guide for the Forerunner 255 series. This guide covers virtually every feature of the Forerunner 255 from start to finish, taking you through not just the newness to the FR255, 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 255-specific features too. Areas like the new HRV Status, Morning Report, Race Calendar, dynamic training plans based on said races, revamped Daily Suggested Workouts, and more – all based on boatloads of real-world daily usage for quite some time.

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 – hopefully on a quieter day on Thursday). 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 FR255 vs FR255S and Music
1:00 Basic Usage & Hardware Overview
2:18 Watch Faces, Widgets, Daily Activity Tracking
7:24 Sleep Tracking, Body Battery, Resting HR
10:55 Body Battery vs Garmin FR955 Training Readiness
11:55 HRV Status Deep-Dive
13:56 Morning Report
14:48 Training Status, Acute Load, VO2Max, Recovery
18:53 Race Calendar and Dynamic Training Plans
21:08 Sport Modes, Daily Suggested Workouts
24:15 Sport Mode Configuration & Running Power
28:41 Structured Workouts & Courses
30:20 Multiband GPS
32:48 Battery Saver Mode
33:34 Contactless Payments (Garmin Pay)
35:08 Sensor Pairing, Music, and Spotify

I’m also contemplating a Forerunner 255 vs Forerunner 955 deep-dive, that goes into all the little nuances beyond the big-ticket differences. Let me know if that’s something you’re interested in down below, or if there are specific areas you’d want focused on within that. Similarly, I’ll be doing a Forerunner 255 vs Instinct 2 Series deep-dive, but I want to wait for the upcoming Instinct 2 firmware update that gives it many of the Forerunner 255 features, so that it’s a bit more useful longer-term.

With that – thanks for watching!

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30 Comments

  1. jason m

    You may have accidentally linked to the 955 deep dive in the first paragraph…

  2. Long Run Nick

    Ray, you have cost me a lot of money over the years. Excellent review. Just went over 19 days wearing, HRV graph appeared as advertised. Love the 255, I am too embarrassed to mention all the watches and fitness gadgets I have used over the last 46 years of “serious” running. This watch covers the bases. No longer use Whoop, Bio Strap, Oura Ring and other brand running watches. Garmin’s Body Battery outshines the other devices I have used.
    A little egocentric data: Soon to be 79, closing in on 98,000 road running miles(and counting). Very grateful. I use the SETBO method— Start Easy,Then Back Off!
    Thanks for all you do. Nick

    • base651

      Respect! I hope to still be grinding at your age. My father (83) a nationally competitive triathlete in his 50-60s still rides 3x week.

  3. Geoff B

    Yes, a Forerunner 255 vs 955 comparison would be informative. Thanks!

  4. Taylor

    Something I’d like see added is in regards to the hardware. Comparisons of the display in day/night from both different companies and older models. For instance I have a Forerunner 235 right now, and I’m curious how the Garmin MIP display technology has improved over the last 6 years. Is the new model more vibrant? Is it still washed out looking at night with the light on? Please include pictures in your views of the devices in the dark with the lights.

    I’m trying to decide whether I should stick with the Forerunner series or jump to the Venu series for my next watch. And comparing displays is a big part of that and if the more vibrant OLED display is worth the drop in battery life.

  5. Andy

    Yes, a 255 vs 955 comparison would be great. Any chance you could throw in the 945 LTE? Coming from the 735xt I like the intermediate size, but worry about the “older” hardware and support despite promises of leveling up the software. Thanks Ray!

  6. Allan

    I like adding a 945lte too. I would like to know the detailed differences in these models with the latest beta of the 945lte.

  7. Emmanuel Millán

    Hi Ray,

    Thank you for the video!

    A comparison between FR255 vs FR955 will be great.

  8. Pete

    Agree with the comments above: a FR255 vs FR955 comparison would be great.
    Garmin are masters of splitting hairs with which features are on which devices (and there’s often extra nuance even if the feature is on both)!

  9. Dzhisov

    Yes very good idea! I’m wondering what the difference is between the glasses on the two models and how much easier the Forerunner 255 is to scratch. I’m wondering what you think of the extremely plastic look of both watches. And why Garmin save on a metal bezel! I don’t approve of the Instinct 2’s split display which makes the analog face look bitten off and awful! I think it would have been perfect if the FR255 and FR955 were in an Instinct-like body. The bezel should be 1 or 2 mm above the glass. These watches are not cheap and serious attention should be paid to protecting the glass! I also don’t like how the Instinct and FR955 have sportier profiles!? For example, cycling profiles!

  10. Keith

    I’d be VERY interested in a comparison between the FR 255 and 955!

  11. AK

    How is it compared to the Forerunner 55 which many had said made the 2xx series a bit useless?

  12. craig

    Interested in the 255 vs 955 deep dive.
    Do you think Garmin is likely to introduce a 755 next year, similar features to the 955 but smaller form factor, or did the updated 255 basically kill off the 7 series do you think?

  13. JF

    Is a deep dive 955 vs fenix 7 in the books? That would also be useful.

  14. Kevin D.

    Hey Ray,
    It may well be me misunderstanding the nuances, but I’ve noticed an anomaly with the upcoming race training feature. I entered a 10K race which was due to be held this coming Sunday. I put it in the race calendar and could see my predicted times, weather etc as per your review.I’ve been following the suggested workouts but the race has since been cancelled. I deleted it from my Garmin calendar, synced the watch but the race remained there. I eventually deleted the ” Glance ” on the watch, but my “suggested workouts” for the day are still following the training plan. Seems as if I’m missing a step somewhere. Any ideas?

    • Kevin D.

      Replying to myself, today’s suggestion is for a short workout including 6x 15 second efforts “ To best prepare you for tomorrow’s event “

  15. Mathew

    Thanks, I’ll have a look, I’m upgrading from a 920xt with stuck elevation.

  16. Jim S.

    I have encountered inaccurate heart rate zones on the 255 and have been unable to correct them manually. Others also report these problems:

    link to forums.garmin.com

    Eight days ago, Garmin said: “We do have some other reports of this and are currently investigating. When we know more, I’ll be sure to post updates to this thread.”

    link to forums.garmin.com

  17. Tomas J

    Does 255 have integration of Training Peaks workouts as 935/945/955?

  18. Allan

    It sure is. I have to decide if training readiness is important enough for me to get the 955 or whether it get t he 255.

  19. Michael Davey

    Great video.
    My fr235 just broke so in need of a new watch. I don’t really run (cycle loads) but want to track walks and cycling commutes without using/taking my cycling head unit on my bike. I think the fr255 would do as it now records power. Are there any major cycling advantages bergen the 2? I’ll be using my Edge 810 and SRM PC8 for my proper cycling.
    Thanks

  20. Adam

    Very interesting watch, especially for me the multi band gps navigation sensor.

    Anybody knows the gps refresh rate? (or any other multi-band gps sensor’s garmin watch’s fresh rate?)

    • It’s once per second, no matter the mode/type. The recording rate is configurable, but that only changes what it actually writes to the file. By default it’s smart recording, which roughly records every 3-7s, but you can set it to 1s, as I do.

      The reception part is always 1s, no matter the recording rate. This is the same across all Garmin devices.