Image source: Garmin

Unpacking the new Endurance Score metric from Garmin

In this piece, we delve into the recently launched Garmin Endurance Score. Presently integrated into the Fenix 7 Pro and Epix 2 Pro, this innovative feature offers athletes a detailed insight into their capacity to maintain performance levels over long durations. The metric will be rolled out to a few other Garmin watches in Q3, making it accessible to an even broader range of users.

Understanding the Endurance Score

The Endurance Score is a dynamic figure that changes over time to reflect variations in your endurance. A higher score signifies a greater capacity for longer performances, providing a tangible measure of your endurance capabilities. This score takes into account every activity you log using a heart rate monitor.

The benchmark for aerobic fitness, VO2 max, is a single number that captures how well your heart, lungs, circulatory system, and muscles are working together to power your performance. However, as any seasoned coach or athlete can attest, people with the same VO2 max frequently experience very different performance outcomes. The Endurance Score comes into play in this situation by offering more information about the variations in endurance performance. It explains a number of physiological changes brought on by training that improve fatigue resistance but are not entirely reflected in changes in your aerobic performance capacity.

Calculating the Endurance Score

Your aerobic fitness, as determined by your VO2 max, serves as the basis for calculating your Endurance Score. This perspective represents the most significant contributor to your endurance score due to the well-studied and established relationship between aerobic fitness and endurance.

Most Garmin devices automatically estimate VO2 max during outdoor runs and cycling activities recorded with a power meter. If you don’t have a recent VO2 max estimate from either of these activities, Garmin estimates your current aerobic fitness based on a combination of your age, gender, BMI, and recent activity levels.

By examining and interpreting your activity history from the standpoint of endurance development and support, the Endurance Score goes beyond VO2 max. This analysis aims to account for both how challenging your training has been and the degree to which your activities likely contributed to the development of fatigue resistance and the capacity to perform sustained efforts. The metric takes into account factors such as activity duration, intensity, speed, power, VO2 max, age, gender, BMI, and activity level.

Garmin Endurance Score
Garmin Endurance Score

In addition to the Endurance Score, you get a convenient list of icons at the bottom of the screen. They list the activities that have been most instrumental in the growth of your current endurance capacity.

You can also view these same stats in the Garmin Connect app.

These are the colour codes Garmin uses to represent the figure.

Garmin Endurance Score estimates

The following tables provide classifications for endurance score estimates, segmented by age and gender.

Garmin Endurance Score estimates men
Garmin Endurance Score estimates women

Endurance Score and performance expectations

The obvious question is, how can you use this metric in real life?

Let’s say you are preparing for a marathon. Your Endurance Score can help predict future performance and show you the progress you have made during the months of training.

Having said that, it is important to note that endurance doesn’t transfer perfectly from one activity type to another. For instance, if you run a lot and rarely swim, your endurance score will likely be a strong indicator of running abilities but may not tell you much about your swimming performance. Similarly, if you are an avid swimmer who rarely skis, your endurance score will reflect your swimming performance more than how ready you are to tackle a 50K cross-country event.

The Endurance Score is more than just a number; it’s a tool that can be used to improve your athletic performance. It helps you understand your overall endurance based on all recorded activities with heart rate data. You can view recommendations for improving your endurance score.

To make the most of this feature, simply track your activities as normal for two weeks using a compatible Garmin watch. All activities contribute to the score, but longer aerobic activities in any sport will have the biggest impact. The more completed activities you add to the score, the more accurate it becomes. This allows you to see the direct impact of your training efforts on your endurance score, providing motivation and insight as you strive to improve.

How is Endurance Score different from the Stamina metric?

Both the Endurance Score and the Stamina metric are available to Garmin watch owners. But they have distinct uses and offer various perspectives on an athlete’s performance and fitness.

The Stamina metric has been around for a couple of years now. It is primarily used to help athletes pace themselves during individual workouts. The metric provides real-time feedback on the current state of an athlete’s energy, helping them understand how much longer they can maintain their current level of effort. This can be useful during a workout or race, as it can help prevent premature fatigue and ensure optimal performance.

The Endurance Score, on the other hand, is a wider and more thorough metric. It examines an athlete’s overall endurance capacity over time rather than just one workout or competition. It is designed to reflect an athlete’s ability to sustain performances over extended periods, making it a valuable tool for tracking long-term endurance development and training progress. Although both metrics are useful, they have different uses and offer various forms of feedback.

Coming to more Garmin watches

The Endurance Score serves not just as a snapshot of your current fitness level, but also as a guide to your potential progress with regular training and effort. At present, this feature is exclusive to the recently launched Garmin Fenix 7 Pro and Epix Pro.

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Yet, Garmin has plans to extend this feature to a wider range of its watches in the upcoming Q3 firmware update cycle. Anticipate its arrival in Alpha and Beta versions in the weeks ahead. The company has confirmed that the feature will be available to owners of the Fenix 7 series, Enduro 2, Tactix 7, Epix & MARQ 2 units, along with the 955 and 965 Forerunners.

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Marko Maslakovic

Marko founded Gadgets & Wearables in 2014, having worked for more than 15 years in the City of London’s financial district. Since then, he has led the company’s charge to become a leading information source on health and fitness gadgets and wearables.

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