Running With My Apple Watch

Move Streak

From the moment I first strapped on my Apple Watch, I’ve been diligent to fill all three rings in the Activity app. Though it may seem silly, it felt great when I got the below badge for filling them all every day in the month of June.

June 2015 Achievement Badge

I still use RunKeeper, which I’ve used to track my runs since October 2013. Rifling through my old running stats, I can see that I’ve gone through quite a few workout spurts over the years. The regimen I’ve kept up these last two months and change is by far my most consistent fitness effort to date.

And it’s working!

Since May I’ve shaved about 90 seconds off my first mile time and 6 pounds off my gut.1 This is after I spent a little over a year trying to lose all the weight I put on eating my way through Texas after I first moved here.

So, is this all because of Apple Watch? I don’t know. Will it last? Who knows. But I can tell you personally that I really, really like my Apple Watch, with this latest burst of fitness perseverance being my most illustrative reason.

I still always run with my iPhone. For one, Apple’s Workout app doesn’t let you retrieve split timings, so I need to rely on RunKeeper for that. Once they add splits I’ll most likely be done with RunKeeper. (Right now I use both apps to track my runs.)

The other, bigger reason I run with my phone is for safety’s sake. It allows me to call for help if I need it and provides emergency contacts for others to help me. While I appreciate the ability to run with only my Apple Watch, I don’t see myself heading out without my iPhone any time soon.2

Some Apple Watch Workout Tips & Tricks

Here are a few things I’ve learned from running with the Apple Watch. Some of these may be obvious or known, but they weren’t to me at first. So I thought I’d share them.

  1. 6 Second Start
    • It takes 6 seconds from the moment you tap “Start” on a workout to the time your Watch actually starts tracking the workout
    • If you tap the screen after you hit “Start” it will end the countdown and go right into tracking
    • I have a 10 second countdown on RunKeeper runs, which gives me a little leeway to sync RunKeeper and Workout
  2. Elapsed Time, Distance and Heart Rate on One Screen
    • Here’s what I like to see on my watch during a run:

      Watch Workout Sample

    • Set a distance goal so the middle numbers on the Watch screen will be your mileage
    • Swipe the bottom metric all the way to the right to get your live heart rate during your run
    • Tap the clock in the top of the workout screen to get your elapsed time to display there
    • If you need to know the time, I find it’s easier to just switch back to the watch face (double tap the crown) than cycle through your options on the line
    • For reference, here are the options for each row on the workout screen in the order you can cycle through them
      • Top row: Current Time, Pace or Elapsed Time
      • Middle row displays your goal, either: Calories, Time or Distance. An Open workout will display the elapsed time
      • Bottom row: Elapsed Time, Pace, Distance, Calories, Heart Rate
  3. Taking the Watch Off Mid-Workout Isn’t All That Bad
    • If you want to wipe some sweat out from under the heart rate sensor, just take the watch off to wipe it
    • You can pause your run if you want, but it will work and continue timing even if you don’t
  4. You Can’t Come Back From Accidentally Ending a Workout
    • If you accidentally end your workout instead of pausing it, there’s nothing you can do
    • Just save the workout and start another one where you left off
    • I learned this the hard way when I tried pausing a run to clean the heart rate sensor, which is also how I learned how to do that without pausing (see above)

That’s all I can think of for now. Apple’s Workout app is pretty rudimentary for now. I really hope it gets better because it’s the best Watch running app available today. I haven’t mentioned RunKeeper’s Watch app because it’s not so great yet. The text is hard to read while you’re running, and it’s missing some key metrics, namely heart rate. When watchOS 2 debuts later this year I’m sure RunKeeper will have a chance to give Apple a run for its money…or maybe the other way around.

  1. Give or take on both counts. It was just a holiday weekend, you know… ↩︎

  2. Other reasons include: camera, streaming music (hello, Apple Music and Beats 1), listening to podcasts, entering run notes into Day One and probably a dozen others I can’t think of right now. ↩︎