As an ultra runner, I know how important it is to have a reliable watch that can track your progress and provide you with essential data. However, one of the biggest concerns I have is that my Garmin Fenix 6 might not last the distance. I don’t want to have to charge it while I’m on the move, but I’m also not ready to replace my ageing watch with a newer model just yet.
That’s why I’ve been testing out different settings to find the right balance between battery life and performance. In this post, I’m going to share my top tips for extending the battery life of your Garmin watch. These tips can be applied to other watches as well, such as the Enduro, Epix, and Descent series.
Power modes and creating one
Garmin’s power modes allow you to tweak settings to maximise battery life. You can apply any power mode to any activity. In this example, I’ll show you how to create a new power mode and use it specifically for the ‘Ultra Run’ activity.
To begin, long press the menu button (that’s the middle left button on the Fenix). Then scroll down to Power Manager and select Power Modes.
In here, scroll down and choose Add New. Now give the new power mode a name. In this example, I’ve simply called it ‘Ultra’.
You now have various system options to alter. Below are my choices.
Each setting explained
GPS – Set this to normal. GPS combined with GLONASS or Galileo is more accurate, but the difference is often negligible and you’ll gain a few hours by using only standard GPS.
MUSIC – Turn this off.
PHONE – Set this to disconnect. You won’t get notifications or calls, but you’ll improve your watch’s battery life considerably. This disables Garmin’s LiveTrack feature, so bear that in mind if you want friends and family to track you.
WRIST HR – I think it’s pointless enabling this as it’s not very accurate. Switch it off and you’ll extend the battery life by a few hours. If you need heart rate data, then wear a strap.
PULSE OXIMETER – This will automatically be disabled when you switch off the wrist heart rate monitor.
MAP – Allow this. Beware the map screen is the biggest battery drain, so make sure you scroll to another data screen when you’re not looking at it.
DISPLAY – Leave this on. I don’t use ‘time out’ because I find the gesture recognition to switch the display on isn’t great.
BACKLIGHT – Turn this off. You should be OK to use the watch during the day. At night, you’ll probably be wearing a head torch to see the screen anyway.
ACCESSORIES – I allow other devices to connect to my watch, like my heart rate strap. If that’s not something you care about, then disallow all accessories for a battery life boost.
How to apply the power mode
Once you’re happy with your choices and saved the new power mode, you can apply it to the ultra run profile (or any profile, for that matter).
To do so, press the Start button and enter the list of activity profiles. Scroll down to Ultra Run and long press the menu button to enter the Ultra Run Settings section.
Scroll down and select Power Mode and then go into the Default Mode screen.
Lastly, select the ‘Ultra’ power mode you created. From now on, the settings you chose for this power mode will be automatically applied every time you use the ultra run activity.
Hopefully that was pretty straightforward. If you’ve any questions or queries, leave a comment below and I’ll help you as best I can.