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Garmin's new $199 running watch is perfect for beginners

Garmin's new $199 running watch is perfect for beginners
(Image credit: Garmin)

As much as I love to exercise, running still intimidates me. Maybe the $199 Garmin Forerunner 55, a new GPS watch with beginner-friendly running features, can change that.

Garmin designs many of the best running watches, but some of them more advanced than others. The Forerunner 55 goes back to basics with suggested workouts, mid-run guidance and recovery recommendations. It's available in three different colors starting June 2.

The Garmin Forerunner 55 gets Garmin Coach, a virtual training program that provides running tips from expert coaches, as well as free 5K, 10K and half marathon training plans. These plans are tailored to your running progress over time.

Meanwhile the PacePro feature lest you tailor an individual run based on the course or distance you'd like to go. You'll get notifications to adjust your pace when needed, as well as when you've changed your cadence. And, when you've planned your run beforehand, the finish time estimator will let you see when you'll reach your distance or destination goals. 

Garmin's newest entry-level running watch also gets some of the runner safety features you'll find on the new Garmin Forerunner 945. The Forerunner 55 gives you the option to send a message with their location to designated contacts. The LTE version of the 945 has more emergency communication tools, but it costs $649 before monthly cellular fees.

While the 945 could be a valuable investment for seasoned runners, beginners might be attracted to the lower price and versatility of the 55. It's not as fashionable as the Fitbit Versa 3 or even the Garmin Venu — it's pretty sporty-looking — but it has enough health smartwatch tools for everyday wear.

In addition to continuous heart rate monitoring and activity tracking for several different sports, the Forerunner 55 has sleep tracking and Garmin's Body Battery energy monitoring feature. Women can track their menstrual cycle or pregnancy symptoms, too.

The Forerunner 55 also mirrors your smartphone notifications and supports certain apps from the Garmin Connect IQ Store. It's not as capable as the $279 Apple Watch SE, but again, it's competitively smart for the price.

It has many of the best smartwatches beat in battery life. According to Garmin, the Forerunner 55 gets up to 2 weeks of battery life in smartwatch mode and up to 20 hours in GPS mode. 

Of course we'll need to test those battery life claims, as well as running and general performance. Stay tuned for a full Garmin Forerunner 55 review,`