Garmin Forerunner 35: A Watch And Training Coach

Melissa Wearing The Garmin Forerunner 35 Along With Her Deadfall 65 Pack
| June 10, 2020
Categories: Gear

When I first started running seriously in 2013/14, I wanted a watch that had GPS and would track my runs accurately versus preplanning on Google Maps. ‘Cause, you know, who has time for that? That’s when I decided to buy the Garmin Forerunner 220 (220). It did its job BUT it didn’t have some of the features I was seeing in the newer Fitbit watches. In response, I did buy a Fitbit but switching between two watches seemed ridiculous and both watches had features I wanted and then lacked in other. I needed an upgrade – something better-rounded – something that was BOTH watches in one!

TLDR? Read the Outline

I Needed A Running Watch

When being used as a watch, the time on the forerunner 35's inverted display is easy to read.

When being used as a watch, the time on the forerunner 35’s inverted display is easy to read.

In 2019, I switched to the Garmin Forerunner 35 running watch for the above reasons. Essentially, the 35 is exactly like the 220, except it had health tracking features like the Fitbit built right into it. The first impression, I like the rectangular design – it made the whole watch seem smaller. My watch is all black, which is ideal for my work (the military) and the is was extremely clear to read while running in the sun. There are other options for colours such as white, lime green, and frost blue if you’re in the mood. As well, if the strap breaks you could find replacement straps online!

The 35 is Easy to Use

The large buttons on the side of the Garmin Forerunner 35 are easy to hit and have a tactile feel.

The large buttons on the side of the Forerunner 35 are easy to hit and have a tactile feel.


The menus on the Garmin Forerunner 35 are intuitive and easy to see.

The menus on the Garmin Forerunner 35 are intuitive and easy to see.

Another feature I enjoy is the simplicity of the menu. There are 5 options: Run, Run Indoors, Walk, Cardio, and Cycling. Within each of these options, you can challenge yourself by changing the running mode into how long you want to run/walk, pacer, or interval training.

You can also change the data field and have different alerts that notify you based on whatever factor you want to track (HR, for one). Personally, I’ve only had to alter the walk/run mode and interval training; both were easy to figure out. While lifting weights I always switch to “Cardio”, not because it’s cardio per se, but because I want my watch to track my HR change appropriately.

Garmin Forerunner 35 activity modes.

Here are some of the Forerunner 35 activity modes.

Track Your Health

Another key feature that was a selling point was its health-tracking capabilities. Before, I had a Fitbit that wasn’t waterproof, which was ONE of the reasons I sold it. Worrying about it getting wet was more of a hassle than I was willing to put up with. This watch IS waterproof and a health tracker at the same time with heart rate, steps, and sleep quality at night integrated into the watch. I feel like all of these features combine into a proper running watch that is a well-rounded investment for any health-conscious cardio pro! The watch collects the data throughout the day and you can view your data fields through Garmin Connect on your computer or phone.

Battery Life

Now, because of all of these features, it does eat away at the battery. However, since it’s not a touch screen and has a simple screen, it does balance out the battery eating monster that lives within every watch. Currently, I’m training for a faster 2.4 km, which means I run 5x a week with ramp and interval training mixed in with some recovery runs. With all of that (and some cycling thrown in), my watch lasts me about a week on one charge…Probably longer to be honest, but I usually charge it on the weekend out of habit.

If You Like Statistics The Phone App Certainly Has Everything Including Your Menstrual Cycle If You Are A Female

If You Like Statistics The Phone App Certainly Has Everything Including Your Menstrual Cycle If You Are A Female

A Couple of Drawbacks

Finally, the things I don’t like….which aren’t a lot. First off, I find it uncomfortable to sleep with. It’s a decent-sized watch — light and small on my wrist but it’s still quite bulky. I sleep on my stomach and my wrist oftentimes is facing the bed, meaning the watch digs into my arm. My solution? I flip the watch around to my inner wrist – still bulky, yet not painful.

Secondly, I really don’t care for the strap material. I understand it’s the best for sweaty arms and easier to clean – however it still irritates the skin. Again, it’s an easy solution, take it off once in a while and let your arm ‘rest’ from the strap and clean the backside of it. Even though I find the strap irritating sometimes, it IS the best feeling strap I have had so far; it’s soft and it doesn’t tug at your arm hairs like an annoying Band-Aid.

I’m Happy With the Garmin Forerunner 35

Honestly, with this running watch, I don’t have a need for anything else. It has the basic features I need, its really well priced, and it is comfortable. EXCEPT! When you have the fitness bug, you can’t help but eye up the newer watches with their awesome upgrades. Sure, this watch is great – but wouldn’t it be cooler if I could measure my blood oxygen levels? Or see maps in colour? Or…

The struggle is real for every fitness nut out there.



For the too long and didn’t read crowd how about a list.

Things I liked about the Garmin Forerunner 35 running watch:

1) Shape, size, and colour
2) Health tracking features integrated: HR, sleep tracking, V02 max,
3) Clear exercise options: outdoor/indoor running, cycling, swimming and cardio (for weights) – intervals
4) Intuitive menu
5) Battery life and charging
6) Price: this thing can be found for under $100 USD if you look around

Things I didn’t like:

1) Uncomfortable to sleep in
2) Irritates the skin
3) When choosing custom running – only have options of time broken down to 30 seconds

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