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Real People Review: John Bauer Reviews the Garmin Enduro

Garmin Enduro

Last September I upgraded to the Garmin Enduro from a Garmin 645 Music due to fatigue of too-frequent charging demands. Produced by Garmin for a couple of years now, the Enduro is set to provide superior battery life and to self-charge with solar exposure during outings.

I chose to upgrade because the display was larger and would offer more information on the watch face, to see metrics, as they are called. I was also told that XC skiing metrics (power wattages) were offered for skate and classic snow skiing with this model. Garmin offers standard measuring information for trail running, XC skiing (skate and classic), biking, hiking and walking…I’ll get into the value of those.

The user can name individual modes such as roller-ski skate, roller-ski classic, row indoor, etc. and set them to favorites. These are captured by the watch and synched to your smartphone. Even more detail is available on the webpage, which stores years of workouts, to be viewed on your Mac or PC.

Garmin enduro with sport modes to pick from.

There is abundant information on the web about poor accuracy of wrist-based sensory devices. In my opinion, this seems to be the same for the Garmin. For the truest readings, you need to use a chest strap monitor which also feeds input into the GPS system to track how the human body moves up/ down/ forward sideways. You cannot track all the metrics in running or measure XC ski power without the chest strap monitor.

I feel that the Garmin devices are a game-changer if you are a runner or XC skier. I am not familiar with the cycling metrics measured, though I see you can pair a cycling wattage meter to the Enduro. You can link the Enduro watch to a Concept II SkiErg or rowing ergometer…how neat is that!

The many modes of the Enduro Garmin.

For my running display I set the data fields at HR, distance, average ground contact time balance (GCT) from left foot versus right (i.e., 50/50 (ideal)/ 49.5/ 50.5, etc.)) timer, cadence (strides per minute), pace, vertical oscillation (cost of going forward…in terms of how high you lift your body to go forward) and time of day. On the app these metrics are explained. Most helpful, a ground contact time change from 50%/ 50% shows when you are breaking down and compensating; and vertical oscillation shows the same. Vertical oscillation cost is always higher when running uphill by the way.

Screen to focus on your load on the Garmin Enduro.

I found it interesting to use the XC power-watt metric when skiing. I found the overall power wattage measurements to be surprisingly low, as compared to cycling. Garmin claims that human beings are not that efficient in XC skiing, as an explanation. I found that my peak wattage in racing 30-50 km to be 450 watts. During interval training the peak wattage (in either skate or classic—could not generate any more power in skating surprisingly) was around 400 watts. It was interesting to note that in moderate distance training the wattage would be 280-300 watts. It seems that high wattage can be gained in relatively low heart rates as in when it is fast skiing (I have found that case this spring). I think, then, this wattage measurement can show efficiency in XC snow skiing, as opposed to measuring with just HR versus ski pace.

I am truly looking forward to continued use of the watch this summer. For instance, I will test the watch while roller- ski classic and roller-ski skate to see how the wattages match up versus on-snow measurements.
Happy training!

John Bauer in a ski race.

 John Bauer is an American cross-country skier. He competed in three Winter Olympics, earning his best finish of 5th in the men’s 4 by 10 kilometers relay at the 2002 games.