Any competitive runners with AW3?

James.K.Polk

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My fiancee wants to sell her Space Black Stainless Steel Apple Watch 3 and move to a Garmin full-time for training. No one in our training group uses an Apple Watch, nor do I see many of them at the start line of major races.

But... since we're having a hard time selling it, even at a huge discount, I figure I could try to use it. I'm not as competitive as I was in college, but I run probably 60-70 miles per week, with probably a tempo and a track session included. Hoping to break 2:30 in the marathon.

Does anyone run seriously with AW3? Do you use Strava? Workouts? How does it handle track work?
 
I'm sure you could get a pretty good idea of the experiences from your fiancee... but I understand it's best to get a breadth of experiences.

As for me, I've fallen away for running as of late, but during the first year of Apple watch (Mid 2015 to mid 2016), I ran 3 half marathons and was probably averaging in the ballpark of 30-40 miles per week and I think my best half time was around 1:45. Obviously I'm not to the "competitive running" level you are describing, so take my thoughts with a grain of salt...

For me the Apple Watch was sufficient, while sometimes frusterating. Much of my frusterations have centered around my attempting to use 3rd party apps (mostly Nike+, but I've also tried Workouts+ and lately I tried Strava a couple times). The issue is that they were much more prone to crash, or not start, or have some weird fluke where it didn't track my workout or didn't end the workout. Also they have tended to be slower to update my run stats (even with watchOS 4 versions). In fact when I did most of my running I had settled on starting the built-in workout app on the watch simultaneously with Nike+ on my phone (because I'd been using that for several years). That setup has always tended to be my favorite.

3rd party apps aside, it's ok. Honestly there is a reason you don't see many (or any) apple watches from highly competitive runners. It's more finnicky, doesn't use physical buttons, battery life isn't as good... My honest opinion (of owning an AW for nearly 3 years) is that it's fine for casual runners, but if you want to run 50+ miles a week and if you want to be extremely competitive with your running then you'd probably wanna look elsewhere.

What have you currently been using to track your runs?
 
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James.K.Polk

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I'm sure you could get a pretty good idea of the experiences from your fiancee... but I understand it's best to get a breadth of experiences.

As for me, I've fallen away for running as of late, but during the first year of Apple watch (Mid 2015 to mid 2016), I ran 3 half marathons and was probably averaging in the ballpark of 30-40 miles per week and I think my best half time was around 1:45. Obviously I'm not to the "competitive running" level you are describing, so take my thoughts with a grain of salt...

For me the Apple Watch was sufficient, while sometimes frusterating. Much of my frusterations have centered around my attempting to use 3rd party apps (mostly Nike+, but I've also tried Workouts+ and lately I tried Strava a couple times). The issue is that they were much more prone to crash, or not start, or have some weird fluke where it didn't track my workout or didn't end the workout. Also they have tended to be slower to update my run stats (even with watchOS 4 versions). In fact when I did most of my running I had settled on starting the built-in workout app on the watch simultaneously with Nike+ on my phone (because I'd been using that for several years). That setup has always tended to be my favorite.

3rd party apps aside, it's ok. Honestly there is a reason you don't see many (or any) apple watches from highly competitive runners. It's more finnicky, doesn't use physical buttons, battery life isn't as good... My honest opinion (of owning an AW for nearly 3 years) is that it's fine for casual runners, but if you want to run 50+ miles a week and if you want to be extremely competitive with your running then you'd probably wanna look elsewhere.

What have you currently been using to track your runs?
Sounds about right - thanks for the write-up!

I have a Garmin FR35 I do most of my running with, besides when I really slog and don’t want splits... I am always thinking of going to the Fenix 5S, but there are non-running features of the AW I think are useful and may be beneficial, and I don’t know that I could justify having both, even though I think that’d be the perfect combo.

It really is the physical buttons - especially getting into the sweaty summer - that worries me. I know the workouts app allows you to hit the side and wheel together to pause but that seems like a hassle.
 

chestvrg

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Garmins are better known for running/triathlon offering advanced features such as heart rate variable, oxigen saturation, ground contact time, cadence, compatible to pair with other ANT+/BT sensors, recovery time and much more and battery can last up to 2 weeks on high end Forerunners.

I’m looking into getting the forerunner 935 (non-music version 645), but still plan to keep my AW3. I don’t run much but because of recently diagnosed health issues have to exercise, jog to keep my fitness going.
 
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mtnbike

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Aug 8, 2016
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Not competitive but 5 marathons, countless half’s. I’ve got a AW3 and a Garmin Forerunner 230. My Garmin works, every single time, and every time I raise my wrist I can see my pace. My AW pet peeve is trying to check my pace without messing up my stride and it not turning on the display.

If you want to run, use the AW, if you want to Train, use the Garmin.
 

PatrickNSF

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Jan 24, 2011
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I'm not sure what being a competitive runner means, though I've trained hard enough to qualify for Boston twice. I'm getting ready to run marathon #12. I have a Garmin 935 and an AW S3 LTE.

I think you can get by using the AW for training, though I'd look into something like iSmoothRun if you plan on doing any intervals or other speed work.

I've been recovering from an injury this spring, so I've been using the built-in app for simplicity, and I think it's fine. I have the LTE version, so being able to run without a phone and with music is key for me. In fact, since I'm not running this weekend's marathon for time I'm planning on just using the AW and leaving the Garmin behind.

Frankly, I think most people I know who buy a Garmin by default use very few of its running-specific features and would be perfectly fine with an AW or even a Fitbit.
 

QCassidy352

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OP: I, too, am not as competitive as I was in college, but I still really prefer a Garmin (645) to an AW for training. I had a S3 for a little while, and it wasn’t really working for me. The AW does time/pace/distance/HR, and that’s about it. I used the Nike+ app, which is often reviewed as the best or one of the best AW running apps, and it’s still pretty limited compared to a decent Garmin. No cadence, no training zones, no pre-programmed workouts, no advanced metrics, no ant+ support, etc. (I know that a lot of those things are not really necessary, even for a competitive runner, but I’d still rather have them than not.)

Other pros for a Garmin (or similar): Physical buttons, always-on screen, longer battery life, more robust online training tools (overlays of pace, elevation, HR, cadence).

I’m my view, evaluating them purely for training, there’s no comparison. AW is a terrific smart watch that can do some basic running metrics. A high end Garmin or similar is a terrific running watch with some basic smartwatch features.
 

mtnbike

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Aug 8, 2016
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Another difference between the AW and Garmin is the pace refresh rate. When wearing both devices, while the average pace and total distances end up within .03-.05 of each other, the active running pace on the Garmin updates quicker.

if I slow down to cross a street and go from 9s to 11s and back to 9s. The Garmin will track my pace within seconds where the AW still has me at 11s after I’m back at 9s.
 
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MJ22

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Oct 3, 2017
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I consider myself competitive (female, sub-20:00 5K, sub-6:00 mile) and I love my AW. But I’m not a data junkie like a lot of folks.

I don’t do marathons, so I don’t worry much about battery life, which in my opinion is the biggest drawback. People who take 4-5 hours to do a marathon probably won’t make it with the AW unless they turn off basically every other feature.

I do my workouts on a track and use the regular stopwatch app. I don’t need the pace for a track workout, I go by time only and use these workouts as a lesson to properly pace myself without relying on a watch to do it for me. I use the native Workout app for everything else. What else do I need besides distance, time, and pace?

I agree that it takes a little longer for pace to otherwise update in real time. But I don’t see that as so bad. I’ve been running for 24 years, about 15 of those were without a GPS watch!
 
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QCassidy352

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I’ve been running for 24 years, about 15 of those were without a GPS watch!
Heh, 24 years for me, too!

I had a Nike accelerometer/watch combo as far back as the late 90s and ran with the iPod Nano/Nike+ system for a number of years about a decade ago. I didn’t get a gps watch until about 4 years ago.

All of which is to say, your point is well taken. We have become ridiculously spoiled by the rapid pace of technology in this (and other!) areas, and we surely don’t need an Apple Watch, a Garmin, or anything else but our bodies to be good runners.

That said... the technology is here now, and it’s damn useful (and fun), so we might as well select the best among what’s out there. For my money, that’s unquestionably a Garmin, if the goal is the best running watch available. It’s an Apple Watch if the goal is the best smartwatch available.
 

Kermit262

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Sep 16, 2014
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My buddy and I run 3 times a week together and train for various races throughout the year. He uses his AW exclusively for training. He doesn't have a Garmin. I have an Apple Watch and a Garmin 935, to take take full advantage of having two wrists. :) I don't use my AW for training, I wear it just for recording steps and closing my rings. I use my Garmin while running.

I will tell you that during our runs it inevitably falls to me, on almost every run, to track our splits, paces, etc. The Garmin is SO superior to the AW in this regard. He's constantly frustrated by the AW's lack of screen responsiveness when it's raining or he's sweaty, and it's inability to display the multitude of data fields and stats that the 935 can.
 

MJ22

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Oct 3, 2017
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It’s funny because I coach a training group and one of the other coaches kept making like, weird, almost snide remarks about that fact that now I wear an AW for running. It was always something like, “oh, everyone has such a hard fine figuring that out” or “oh, your mile marker isn’t exactly lined up with mine” (which, either unit can be affected by a multitude of factors)...this woman is not at all fast and has been running for about a quarter of the time that I have. Finally I had it and I was like, “when your Garmin makes you faster than me, I’ll change back to one.” Haven’t heard another comment since.
 

James.K.Polk

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I consider myself competitive (female, sub-20:00 5K, sub-6:00 mile) and I love my AW. But I’m not a data junkie like a lot of folks.

I don’t do marathons, so I don’t worry much about battery life, which in my opinion is the biggest drawback. People who take 4-5 hours to do a marathon probably won’t make it with the AW unless they turn off basically every other feature.

I do my workouts on a track and use the regular stopwatch app. I don’t need the pace for a track workout, I go by time only and use these workouts as a lesson to properly pace myself without relying on a watch to do it for me. I use the native Workout app for everything else. What else do I need besides distance, time, and pace?

I agree that it takes a little longer for pace to otherwise update in real time. But I don’t see that as so bad. I’ve been running for 24 years, about 15 of those were without a GPS watch!
I can't imagine battery life is a huge issue - if a marathon takes 2:30 or (on a bad day!) 2:45, I'm sure it's still going to hold up. I haven't listened to music on a run in years and don't plan to. That said, maybe the annoyances make it not worth it. I'd love to use both (as others have suggested), but even I, gadget junkie #1 can't really imagine running with $1000 of gear on my wrists at once!

And wow, our post made me think - I'm at 15 years of running now. That's a lot of miles. And porta potties.
[doublepost=1524054065][/doublepost]
OP: I, too, am not as competitive as I was in college, but I still really prefer a Garmin (645) to an AW for training. I had a S3 for a little while, and it wasn’t really working for me. The AW does time/pace/distance/HR, and that’s about it. I used the Nike+ app, which is often reviewed as the best or one of the best AW running apps, and it’s still pretty limited compared to a decent Garmin. No cadence, no training zones, no pre-programmed workouts, no advanced metrics, no ant+ support, etc. (I know that a lot of those things are not really necessary, even for a competitive runner, but I’d still rather have them than not.)

Other pros for a Garmin (or similar): Physical buttons, always-on screen, longer battery life, more robust online training tools (overlays of pace, elevation, HR, cadence).

I’m my view, evaluating them purely for training, there’s no comparison. AW is a terrific smart watch that can do some basic running metrics. A high end Garmin or similar is a terrific running watch with some basic smartwatch features.
Should have known with that username ;) I'll keep trying to sell the AW3 ... thanks, guys!
[doublepost=1524055638][/doublepost]The counterpoint to all of this, of course, is that I do track work very sparsely and can definitely imagine it working fine for tempos... aka the bulk of my workouts. Hmm hmm.

I just really want to try the Fenix 5S, I think, is what's driving this. But I can't reasonably afford to have both so... maybe will let this AW3 take me as far as it can.
 

QCassidy352

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Should have known with that username ;) I'll keep trying to sell the AW3 ... thanks, guys!
[doublepost=1524055638][/doublepost]The counterpoint to all of this, of course, is that I do track work very sparsely and can definitely imagine it working fine for tempos... aka the bulk of my workouts. Hmm hmm.

I just really want to try the Fenix 5S, I think, is what's driving this. But I can't reasonably afford to have both so... maybe will let this AW3 take me as far as it can.
Ha, you’re only the second person in 15 years on this site to get the reference.

Since you have it, I guess you might as well try the AW and see how it works for you. It’s not like Garmin is going to stop selling the fenix line, if you change your mind.
 
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canyonblue737

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I've been running over a decade, but I'm a plodder who mainly runs based on distance. I have done quite a few half marathons but my training runs are like "go run 3 miles" "go run 8 miles" etc. I've just never got into intervals, targeted pacing, tempo runs etc. For me I had a decade of expensive Garmin watches that I barely tapped into the features of, so for me the Apple Watch Series 3 has been perfect, blending the very best day to day smartwatch on the market with a sportswatch that has the features I NEED. That said if I was a "competitive" runner or even a runner who trained like I was a "competitive" runner I can't see how you wouldn't want to own a Garmin. The pacing is more accurate, battery life isn't an issue, there are endless options for creating workouts with intervals and far more etc. That said the Garmin's PALE in comparison in features when NOT working out.

PS: I had the Garmin 5S for 10 months and sold it for the Apple Watch SS SB series 3. As a day to day watch I like it much better. As a running watch for me it is the same, I do miss the Garmin Connect website (although there are ways to get your Apple Watch workouts into Garmin Connect) but I love the AW so much more in day to day use. If I used many of the advanced running features it would change the game for me.
 
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James.K.Polk

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I've done a few runs now - across Apple Workouts, Strava, iSmoothRun (ugh). I think the best way so far is to use Apple Workouts and sync via Run Gap to Strava (where I keep my log).

The biggest issue is weak notification of mile splits (fine, I know most of them anyway by heart) and the screen rotation to turn on the watch face - though this second one isn't as big a deal as I thought. It works pretty well, overall.

Yesterday I ran with the AW3 on one wrist and the FR15 (fiancee's) on the other - seemed to be within .02 or so per mile. AW chimed a little early - but Strava always messes with data so I couldn't get an exact look at it.
 

QCassidy352

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Mar 20, 2003
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The biggest issue is weak notification of mile splits (fine, I know most of them anyway by heart) and the screen rotation to turn on the watch face - though this second one isn't as big a deal as I thought. It works pretty well, overall.
The raise to wake the watch face never worked correctly for me with my old AW, and I had to manually manipulate the watch more often than not. I don’t know why that happened, but it really hurt AW as a running watch for me.
 
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DoubleFlyaway

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I am only a sh...tty runner who doesn’t need much. But raise to wake always works fine for me.
 

ob81

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I am not a professional or nothing but I run quite a bit. I did a marathon and a few other races. My buddy has a Garmin and he recommended it until the lte version came out. He wanted to listen to music as well, and counted that as a fault (solved now).
I have multiple watches but I hate switching out during the day. If I got a Garmin it would be a fenix, so I could wear it all day. The plastic Garmins, for me, are not good as a daily watch.
 
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Resqu2

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Apr 23, 2011
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I use the stock workout on my watch then start Runkeeper on my phone which is paired to my AirPods. Depending on how far I’m running I will set Runkeeper to give me updates. You can get them every minute if you want or like the Half Marathon I did yesterday I set it for .25 mile updates with pace, distance and time. This combination is perfect for me.

As for a track workout, GPS on anything sucks and isn’t accurate, I was told it was the tight circles that it just couldn’t accurately compute. Neither my phone or watch will get the distance right. For some reason the first .25 miles is good then it started getting way off as you do more laps.
 
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molala

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Oct 25, 2008
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I’m a slow runner, happy when i’m not in the slowest 10% at parkrun, but I do run regularly, several parkruns (5km), 10k’s, a few halves. Had the Garmin 620 which was nice but I’m now always using AW3. I use the stock app (as accurate as my garmin), then move the .fit file to garmin connect using an app called HealthFit. I don’t see cadence, stride length or vertical oscillation, but don’t really miss it. I only wore my garmin on run days previously. But now I can track my cycling and encouraged to do my combined yoga & foam rolling on non-run days (because I can record them as a workout :))
 
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