1. How does Garmin measure Running power?
  2. Garmin Running Power vs. the Competition
  3. Which Garmin watches have Running Power?
  4. How to view Running Power during workouts

Garmin Running Power explained: How to use it for smarter running

Ditch the heart rate zones and start tracking your workouts in watts
Wareable garmin running power
Wareable is reader-powered. If you click through using links on the site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

Once exclusively for cyclists, runners can now take advantage of all the insights that stem from tracking 'power' - and certain Garmin watch owners can enjoy the feature directly from the wrist. 

However, while running power is essentially just another measure of work rate or effort, it can be tricky to get to grips with. And with no agreed standard on what should actually be included in running power measurements, things get even more complicated.

To help you gain a better understanding of the insight, we'll guide you on everything you need to know about Garmin's flavor of running power - including which watches can process it directly from the wrist, and exactly how you can use it to boost your training.

How does Garmin measure Running power?

Wareablegarmin running power graph

Garmin's particular measurement takes into account your pace and vertical oscillation, as well as the grade and wind conditions, to calculate in real time the amount of power you're applying to the ground.

In total, Garmin lists five things used in its model to calculate your effort:

  • Kinetic Power: The power required to change pace, measured using speed data
  • Potential Power: The power required to run up or downhill, measured using elevation data
  • Vertical Oscillation Power: The power required for vertical oscillation on each step
  • Horizontal Oscillation Power: The power required for horizontal oscillation on each step
  • Wind/Air Power: The power required to overcome air resistance

However, it's also important to factor in the very nature of running power, which will be very personal to your own running efficiency and weight. 

Garmin Running Power vs. the Competition

Wareablerunning power apple watch

As we mentioned up top, there's no actual agreement on what should be included in a running power measurement. 

There is no right or wrong answer, with scientists disagreeing over what should be included - and this primarily relates to something known as elastic recoil. 

We won't delve into the details of this here, but, essentially, Garmin does include this output in its measurement, while manufacturers like Apple and Stryd don't appear to. 

As with anything relating to running power, the formulas involved in calculating any version of it are mind-boggling - but all you really need to know is that it's unlikely your Garmin Running Power info can be compared to another manufacturer's measurement. 

Which Garmin watches have Running Power?

Wareablegarmin running power on wrist

Once restricted to those with a Garmin Running Dynamics Pod, the running power feature is now available on multiple Garmin watches natively, listed below:

  • Forerunner 255 series
  • Forerunner 265 series
  • Forerunner 955 series
  • Forerunner 965
  • Fenix 7 & 7 Pro series
  • Epix (Gen 2) & Epix Pro (Gen 2)
  • Enduro 2

If you don't have one of these watches, picking up the Running Dynamics Pod (or a compatible Garmin chest strap) and downloading the Running Power app from the Garmin Connect IQ Store is the best alternative.

How to view Running Power during workouts

Wareablegarmin running power data screen

In order to view your running power output during your workouts, you're going to need to add it as a data screen on your Garmin watch.

If you have a compatible device, several charts will be available to you in Garmin Connect once your activity has synced.

They include a graph of your Power (W), Split Average Power (W), Power (W/kg), Split Average Power (W/kg).

In real-time, though, you can view all sorts. There's the potential to view your Power, Power Gauge, Power Chart, 30-second Power, Average Power, Lap Power, Last Lap Power, Maximum Power, and Power Zone. 

Follow the instructions below to add Garmin Running Power insights:

1. Press the 'Start/Stop' button to bring up your activity profiles, then press again to select 'Run'.

2. Next, push the 'Up/Menu' button to tinker with the settings, scrolling down to 'Data Screens'.

3. From the 'Data Screens' list, scroll down to the bottom and select 'Add New'.

4. Select 'Custom Data', followed by the layout you wish to choose for your data screen.

5. Choose the metrics you wish to add by scrolling down to 'Running Power Fields' and picking from the list. 

6. Once complete, use the 'Up/Menu' and 'Down' buttons to place the data field in the list of data screens.

How we test

Conor Allison


Conor moved to Wareable Media Group in 2017, initially covering all the latest developments in smartwatches, fitness trackers, and VR. He made a name for himself writing about trying out translation earbuds on a first date and cycling with a wearable airbag, as well as covering the industry’s latest releases.

Following a stint as Reviews Editor at Pocket-lint, Conor returned to Wareable Media Group in 2022 as Editor-at-Large. Conor has become a wearables expert, and helps people get more from their wearable tech, via Wareable's considerable how-to-based guides. 

He has also contributed to British GQ, Wired, Metro, The Independent, and The Mirror. 

Related stories