In review: Garmin’s Forerunner 920XT

13 February 2015



Words: Andre Bekker, professional coach ǀ Photos & Videos: Garmin SA ǀ Video: Garmin


I attended a coaching course in Boulder Colorado, in the USA, last year, to learn how to improve my communications and understanding of the sports I coach. The message that came through loud and clear is that if the platform you are using to coach is not in order, it will severely hamper the communication process between coach and athlete.

Garmin’s new Forerunner 920 XT.

Aimed at triathletes, the Forerunner 920XT has all the stuff you’d expect from a fitness watch.

What I am specifically referring to here is technology to help sportsmen and women perform better. And there is a lot of it around today, From heart monitors and power meters, to sport watches that can just about do everything except tie your shoe laces. I have to admit that, at first, I was slow to react to and embrace all these technological gadgets.

However, the more time I spent on the course coaching, the more it became clear that technology is here to stay and help us bridge the communication gap between athlete and coach.

I left Boulder hugely inspired, not only because of what I had learned but because of the possibilities of being able to communicate quantifiably with athletes. In other words, when an athlete does an indoor set, I can watch and analyse everything they do. Then based on this information, I am able to give instant, corrective instructions and re-evaluate their performance in the same training session. This is pretty powerful stuff. But you are probably thinking that this technology is nothing new and has been around for many years, in different formats, and you would be correct. However, what was available was so complicated that you needed to be an IT guy to figure it all out for you.

The coaching software platform I was using was Training Peaks, which encourage its users to use Garmin product. Now, I am already the proud owner of five different sports watches, each boasting different features, and all compatible with Training Peaks. So did I really need another watch? After a visit to Garmin SA and hearing about Garmin’s new Forerunner 920 XT, I knew I had to have one because I was convinced that the watch’s features and stability of the software were exactly what I needed to make my life easier.

Aimed at triathletes, the Forerunner 920XT has all the stuff you’d expect from a fitness watch.

Steps, distance, calories and personal targets are all options, as well as modes for swimming, cycling and running. This GPS multisport watch is ideal for training, racing and everything in-between.

If you are a multisport athlete, you will love all the cross-over functions.

The product was in huge demand, which resulted in me only receiving mine two weeks before IRONMAN 70.3. Like a kid with a new toy, I enthusiastically set about setting up the watch. Garmin’s service department proved very helpful and knowledgeable and it didn’t take long to set up. It is actually quite easy, as long as you don’t press the ‘default settings’ button once you have customised it to your specific requirements. Anyway, going through the process again helped me to have a better understanding of how the watch works.

This watch offers a host of features, but the one’s I am going to share now are important from a coach / athlete’s perspective.

• First and foremost, it syncs very easily with Training Peaks. So not only do I have graphs and stats that match my training programme, I also have a picture that makes sense and is useful.
• The ANT+™ feature also allows you to sync easily with any other device that has the ANT+™ capability. I had no issues whatsoever syncing my Wattbike, and what I especially liked is that although I always had the stats available, Garmin’s Forerunner 920XT has Wi-Fi, which means that I can easily and immediately access this information on my coaching platform.
• The swim feature records time spent in the water, your distance, pace and stroke count, The only down side is that it doesn't record your heart rate, but then again no other watch offers this feature. However, cyclists and runners will be able to keep track of their heart rate with Garmin’s HR Monitor.
• It’s a fantastic watch for a runner as it will give you all the information you need, such as cadence, vertical oscillation and ground contact time.
• The 920XT is compatible with sensors such as speed, cadence and heart rate to provide advanced training capabilities for your cycling workouts. It can also display power metrics when paired with ANT+™ power meters.
• If you are a multisport athlete, you will love all the cross-over functions.

I used my watch at this year’s IRONMAN 70.3, held on 25 January, and it proved to be the most practical piece of equipment I’ve acquired in a long time. It was also incredible to see just how many other people had the watch on their arms and were comparing information. It clearly is the ‘in thing’, and it’s not hard to see why.

So the bottom line for me, as a coach, is this. I have changed my requirements of athletes I coach and can honestly say what a pleasure it is using the Garmin 920 XT to communicate and improve training.

If you don’t have one already, I strongly recommend getting yourself a Garmin 920XT; you won’t regret it.

More information
For a more in-depth review of the Garmin’s Forerunner 920XT, take a look at DC Rainmaker’s review on