Garmin just added some of its best new features to more watches for free

Garmin Race Day update
(Image credit: Garmin)

Garmin quietly announced a new update to its Fenix 7, Epix 2, and Instinct 2 watches, revealing that the Race Widget, HRV status, SatiQ, and Garmin’s Stock Tracker are available on the above watches now. Previously, these features were only available on Garmin’s latest Forerunner watches, the Forerunner 955 and 255 series. 

The Race Widget seems very well-timed for a wider release, as summer moves into fall and marathon season begins in the US and Europe. I'm in the process of setting up my own Race Widget on the 955 Solar for my first 26.2-mile race in April, so I anticipate many more runners will be doing the same over the coming months. 

The Race Widget is a comprehensive widget allowing you to better prepare for a forthcoming event. When you place an upcoming race into your Garmin Connect calendar online, it’ll alter your training recommendations and, as your event approaches, it'll provide you with details such as the likely weather forecast. If you have multiple events coming up, you can select one as your “primary” event. 

You’ll be able to set a goal time and upload a course, which can help Garmin tailor its recommended daily workouts to your upcoming event. Combined with other features such as the Training Readiness score, you can make sure you arrive at the starting line well-equipped, properly trained, and sufficiently recovered. This is useful if you’re running a local 10k, but absolutely essential if you’re running a marathon in the next few months. 

Check out how to set up and use your race widget in the vid below.

However, the Race Widget is just one feature coming to the Instinct 2, Epix 2, and Fenix 7. Heart rate variability, or HRV Status, allows you to “track heart rate variability while sleeping to get a better handle on recovery and an overall wellness picture”. Training Status also received an update allowing it to incorporate the improved sleep tracking, thanks to HRV status, into its recovery metrics. 

SatIQ is another new feature that automatically turns off multi-band GPS to save battery, then turns it back on when it’s most needed, such as when you’re around tall buildings or in deep valleys.

 How to get the latest update 

Garmin says “customers can update their smartwatch by enabling automatic updates from their device or by using Garmin Express.” Express is a free piece of software for your computer, which you can download on the Garmin website for PC or Mac. Express can help you regularly update your device automatically, syncing new software and maps. Express will auto-sync with Garmin Connect if you regularly update your Garmin account online.   

Remember, only users of the Garmin Instinct 2, Epix 2, and Fenix 7 smartwatches will be receiving these free upgrades. Edge 1040 cycling computer users are receiving a separate set of features including music controls, HRV status, recent exercise history, and full eBike support, but we'll be covering that one in a separate article.

Want to get more out of Garmin? Here are five Garmin Connect features you ought to be using.

Matt Evans
Fitness, Wellness, and Wearables Editor

Matt is TechRadar's expert on all things fitness, wellness and wearable tech. A former staffer at Men's Health, he holds a Master's Degree in journalism from Cardiff and has written for brands like Runner's World, Women's Health, Men's Fitness, LiveScience and Fit&Well on everything fitness tech, exercise, nutrition and mental wellbeing.

Matt's a keen runner, ex-kickboxer, not averse to the odd yoga flow, and insists everyone should stretch every morning. When he’s not training or writing about health and fitness, he can be found reading doorstop-thick fantasy books with lots of fictional maps in them.