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What Does the New Garmin Endurance Score Feature Tell You?

By Jiri Kaloc

Garmin introduced the Endurance Score metric to provide a comprehensive insight into athletes’ capacity to maintain performance levels over long durations. This article delves into what this metric is, how it’s calculated, and how it differs from the well-known VO2 Max metric.

What is the Endurance Score?

The Endurance Score is a new metric developed by Garmin that captures variations in your ability to maintain physical activity over a long period of time. Unlike traditional metrics that offer a snapshot of your fitness at a particular moment, the Endurance Score provides a dynamic view, updating after each workout. This rolling score is designed to reflect how the body is adapting to short and medium-term training efforts, making it particularly useful to cyclists. If you’re working on your endurance base, it can give you insights into how effective your training routine is.

How is it different from VO2 Max?

VO2 Max has long been the gold standard for assessing aerobic endurance. It provides a measure of the maximum amount of oxygen an individual can utilise during intense exercise. However, it doesn’t paint the full picture of your endurance capabilities. This is where the Endurance Score steps in. While VO2 Max focuses solely on aerobic capacity, the Endurance Score considers a broader range of physiological changes brought on by training that improve fatigue resistance but are not entirely reflected in changes in your aerobic performance capacity.

In short, while VO2 Max indicates your aerobic potential, the Endurance Score reflects how effectively you’re harnessing that potential in real-world scenarios.

How is the Endurance Score calculated?

The calculation begins with the aerobic base, captured by your VO2 Max. However, it goes several steps further, looking at your entire activity history. It considers how challenging a workout was, how it contributed to building fatigue resistance, and how it enhanced sustained effort capabilities. Both long-term data (the previous 3 months) and short-term data (the previous 2 weeks) are factored into the score. The longest-recorded activities play an important role in the calculation. The Endurance Score takes into account the following factors:

  • Activity duration
  • Activity intensity
  • Activity speed
  • Activity power
  • VO2 Max
  • Age
  • Gender
  • BMI
  • Activity level

Which Garmin watches support the Endurance Score?

This innovative feature was launched on Fenix 7 Pro and Epix 2 Pro watches, but has since spread to a wider selection of Garmin devices. Currently, the watches that come equipped with this metric include:

  • Forerunner 255 series
  • Forerunner 265 series
  • Forerunner 955 series
  • Forerunner 965
  • Fenix 7 & Fenix 7 Pro series
  • Epix (Gen 2) & Epix Pro (Gen 2) series
  • Enduro 2
  • MARQ (Gen 2) collection

How to use the Endurance Score?

When you first get this metric on your device, simply track your rides for 2-3 weeks as you normally would. All activities, not just cycling, contribute to the score and longer activities will have the biggest impact. The more activities you track, the more accurate the Endurance Score becomes. Looking at the score will allow you to see how well your training plan is working. This can add an extra layer of motivation. Who doesn’t love seeing a number go up, right? But the metric does have its limitations.

Keep in mind that the score is most relevant to your main sport of choice. For example, as a cyclist, the Endurance Score won’t tell you too much about your endurance in swimming or cross-country skiing. Sport-specific adaptation is the main reason for this. So, when watching the number going up, think about your cycling endurance in particular.