Feb 16

Should I disable Smart Recording on my Garmin watch?

Category: FAQs

Yes please. 😀

On some Garmin devices there is a Data Recording option that allows you to select between ‘Every Second’ and ‘Smart’.

Every Second Recording

In this mode, your watch continuously records data every second. This results in fine detailed data, but at the expense of increased memory and battery usage.

Smart Recording

According to Garmin:

Smart Recording logs key points when the fitness device detects changes in direction, speed, heart rate or elevation. It takes up less memory and allows the user extended recording time since it records less track points. Smart Recording does not affect the data being recorded such as pace and distance or heart rate. It only affects the data that is written to the file for storage on the device and on Garmin Connect by removing redundant data points.


Whilst Garmin state that Smart Recording ‘only affects the data that is written to the file for storage’, it is our experience that this is not really true, and can result in significant periods of data loss, i.e. gaps in the data that can span many minutes. And whilst, if running at a constant pace your velocity might be fairly stable (though a cursory look at velocity traces suggest otherwise), heart rates can fluctuate more significantly. This obviously becomes problematic for analysis and subsequent interpretation for training plan generation.

Changing the Data Recording Setting

If present on your watch this is most commonly found under the System menu option. Under here you should find the ‘Data Recording’ option. Ideally, please ensure that this is set to ‘Every second’.

If you experience difficulties locating this option, please refer to your particular device manual. You may be able to find this online at the Garmin Support website.

About The Author

Dr. Sean Radford, the Founder & CEO of TrainAsONE, is a medical doctor, IT expert, coach and podium finisher in international endurance events. He has dedicated more than 20 years to the research of health, fitness and social well-being of the general population. He has been developing Artificially Intelligent (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) tools to help tackle some of the world’s leading health issues. Dr Radford is a Tech Ambassador for the UK, considered a leading expert in his field, and is a regular speaker at key events, as well as an author of numerous research publications.