Image source: Humon

Wrist-based running dynamics arrive in Garmin Fenix 7 update

Garmin has kicked off the first round of this quarter’s firmware updates with the Fenix 7 series, Epix 2, Enduro 2, Quatix 7 & Marq 2 watches. They have received a significant update with Beta 13.09, introducing new features and resolving numerous issues.

For us, the highlight of this update are wrist-based running dynamics. To remind, this was first introduced with the recent launch of the Garmin Forerunner 265 and 965.

Many Garmin watches come equipped with cadence and stride length features. However, until now, accessing advanced running dynamics required pairing the watch with a Running Dynamics Pod or a compatible heart rate chest strap. The latest update introduces a variety of additional running dynamics metrics measured directly from the wrist, such as ground contact time, vertical oscillation, real-time stride length, and real-time steps per minute.

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Another worthy upgrade is the short-term and medium term Load Ratio. This is a new metric. Maintaining a balanced training ratio can help promote overall well-being and prevent performance plateaus.

New features and enhancements

Here’s the list of updates.

  1. Expanded Power Controls and Hot Keys: The update allows users to add more apps and glances to power controls and hot keys, giving them better access to frequently used features.
  2. 7-Day Sleep Stage Graph: Users can now view their sleep patterns over the past week, providing valuable insights into their overall rest and recovery.
  3. Apps Category in Activity/App List Add Flow: This addition simplifies the process of adding and organizing apps and activities.
  4. Calorie Burn Rate Chart: Post-activity summaries now include a chart that displays calorie burn rate.
  5. Flashlight Strobe Option: Fenix 7X, Tactix 7, and Enduro 2 users can now access a strobe feature in power controls for the flashlight.
  6. 4-Week HRV Status Graph: The update adds a historical graph for Heart Rate Variability (HRV) status, enabling users to monitor changes over time.
  7. HRV Status Data Field on Watch Faces: Users can now see their HRV status directly on their watch faces.
  8. Load Ratio in Training Status: This new metric provides insights into how training load compares to an individual’s baseline.
  9. Enhanced Data Page Layout: The update introduces more data field options, allowing users to customize their hierarchical data page layout.
  10. New Activity Stage Landing Page: Users can now access a dedicated landing page for activity stages.
  11. Obstacle Course Racing Activity: This new activity profile helps users track their performance in obstacle course races.
  12. Workout Execution Score: Post-activity summaries now include a score reflecting how well users followed their planned workouts.
  13. Wrist-Based Running Dynamics: The update introduces running dynamics measured directly from the wrist, providing valuable insights into running form.

No mention of skin temperature tracking

For now, there is no mention of the rumoured temperature tracking function. To remind, this was spotted recently in Garmin Connect.

Some Garmin smartwatches come equipped with an internal temperature sensor, designed to measure the ambient air temperature near the barometric altimeter port rather than skin temperature. This update is purported to introduce wrist temperature measurements, akin to those found on Fitbit or Whoop devices. It is still uncertain whether this feature will be incorporated into upcoming watch models or if the existing hardware can accommodate the functionality.

Bug Fixes and Improvements

The Beta 13.09 update also addresses numerous issues and offers improvements, including:

  1. Fixing the Armenian font issue.
  2. Resolving problems with Wakesports activities, such as negative run timers and incorrect max speeds.
  3. Ensuring Health Snapshot glance compatibility with Quatix watches.
  4. Correcting Tides menu options and Outdoor Maps+ deactivation flow.
  5. Addressing potential shutdown issues related to smart notifications, fitness age, and pool swim drills.
  6. Improving battery estimates for flashlight usage during activities.
  7. Enhancing compass smoothness and Ski activity tracking to distinguish between lifts and downhill skiing.
  8. Refining Altitude Acclimation calculations.

How to install

This is the initial version of the software which was previously referred to as Alpha. Garmin has changed things around slightly and now calls this as a “First” or “Early” Beta update.

To download Beta 13.09, users can connect their Garmin watch to a Wi-Fi network and follow these steps: Main Menu > System > About > Check for Updates. This process will initiate the software download.

For those who prefer not to adopt the update early, no action is required. They can simply wait for the automatic download, which will be pushed to their watch Over-The-Air (OTA) when Garmin is prepared to advance to the subsequent Beta phase.

You can check out the full change-log of Beta 13.09 on Garmin Forums.

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Ivan Jovin

Ivan has been a tech journalist for over 7 years now, covering all kinds of technology issues. He is the guy who gets to dive deep into the latest wearable tech news.

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