One of the criticisms (from DC Rainmaker at least) when the Fenix 5X was reviewed upon release, was that you could not create custom routes whilst on the go.
For those without the Fenix, let me explain. You can log in to the Garmin connect (desktop only) portal and create a route, clicking waypoints as you go to create an entirely custom route. Note that this is different to the Round-Trip Course feature that you can access either directly from the watch or the Garmin Connect mobile app, which do not allow you to customise your route, aside from total distance and general direction. Once you’ve created your route from the desktop, you can sync your watch via USB and you have the route on your device to follow as you run, or walk, cycle etc.
What DC Rainmaker was referring to is when you do not have access to the desktop version of Garmin Connect. For example, if you are on holiday, or if you’ve just completed a route but wanted to add extra distance on. Ray’s comment was “I want to be able to plan routes from my phone and then immediately transfer them to my watch. Is that asking too much?”
As it turns out, no it isn’t, as I have found a way of doing exactly this, although it is a bit of a long-winded process. It definitely works though…
The first thing you need is a mobile app that you can export a GPX file from. The app that I use regularly for planning out my routes is called NewRoute, and this would work, but if you have a subscription to OS Maps, then this would work even better.
From NewRoute, you create your route and then export it and email it to yourself as a GPX file. Once you have picked this up from your email, you can send it to the Garmin Connect mobile app. If you can use OS Maps, then you can export directly to Garmin Connect without the email process. Once opened in Connect, you select the type of course (running/trail running/cycling) and click to save. Following this, you tap send to device, sync your phone with your watch and you have a completely customised route, created away from a PC/laptop, downloaded to your watch ready to follow.
Yes, I have tried it with a 13 mile run around a completely unknown area from work and yes, it worked.
I appreciate that this is not feasible if you do not have an internet connection on your phone, but given the network coverage of modern times, I would argue that if you don’t have an internet connection then the chances are that you won’t have a GPS signal either.