Apple Watch for runners

Discussion in 'Apple Watch' started by laser71, Dec 5, 2016.

  1. laser71 macrumors regular

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    #1
    For all the runners out there...

    I presently train with a Garmin Forerunner, and am looking to upgrade it. However, I hate the thought of spending hundreds of dollars on a watch that I will only use a few times a week for running - when I could get an Apple Watch that I'd use daily.

    With that said, I'm curious to hear from actual runners who have actually used it, to hear how useful it's been. Seems a lot of reviews are from people who have not actually used it for running, or are otherwise just impressed that it tracks heart rate and distance...

    What I'm most interested in is the ability to race against myself, using a saved run as a benchmark. Similar to Garmin's "Virtual Racer". (e.g. not just against a set pace)

    Is it able to comfortably replace a dedicated running watch yet? Or should I check back in a few more years?

    Thanks
     
  2. cmbauer macrumors regular

    cmbauer

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    Sep 27, 2016
    #2
    I am not a serious runner, maybe 15 to 20 miles a week and I dont track tons of stats, and have had at 235 which was awesome. I switched back to Apple watch because I didnt need all the running stats that Garmin does so well. I use the notifications and intergration with my phone more that I did the 235 options.

    I would say if you depend on stats, a dedicated running watch is still your best option.
     
  3. Julien macrumors G3

    Julien

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    #3
    :apple:Watch is not a true 'runners' watch and is more of a general overall fitness device. I wear and use an :apple:Watch. However when I run, bike or do cardio I use my Gamin 620 also.
     
  4. gsucyclist macrumors regular

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    Oct 10, 2014
    #4
    I run 3 or 4 times a week and the Apple watch has been working fine for me. It just depends on the stats that you want. The garmin is going to give you the most data, but depending on the app you use the Apple watch will absolutely work as a running watch. The built in running app does't provide enough info for me, but apps such as iSmoothRun will measure cadence and other stats that my Garmin does. I still use my Garmin when I race triathlon, but for average training runs I have moved exclusivly to the Apple Watch
     
  5. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

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    #5
    I find the apple watch to be ok, but I'm not a real serious runner in the sense, I need to know my splits, or my distance down to the meter. I have a fairly static series of routes (short, medium and long) and I'm not that jazzed up about having tons of details. I got along fine without a smart watch for decades and while its a nice to have, I don't have much needs.

    If you're a serous runner, then I think other watches are a better option
     
  6. laser71 thread starter macrumors regular

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    #6
    Thanks for all the replies. Sounds like I should give the Apple Watch another year or two to mature, and hopefully then it will have caught up. In the mean time I'll stick with the Garmin family
     
  7. deeddawg macrumors 604

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    #7
    It all depends on the specifics of what you need the watch to do for you.

    BTW you say you have a Forerunner... that name applies to a couple dozen different Garmin models....

    The current Apple watch has a lot of potential. Software isn't quite there yet, but is improving. Unlike the usual running watches, you have a variety of third partys apps that can potentially provide functionality even if the Apple does not. Nike Run Club app is okay, but pretty basic. RunKeeper just released their update, Strava is due soon. I've not looked at RK yet. I don't think any apps yet have an equivalent of the Virtual Racer functionality.

    Remember, the AW2 has only "just" come out relatively speaking and app makers are catching up. Give it time.

    So... with more specifics of what you need we can better advise. Right now I'd say the AW2 is a pretty nice smartwatch that can serve as basic running watch. If you need higher level functionality at this time you'd be better served with a dedicated running watch, ranging from a refurbished 610 or refurb/used 920xt or consider a new FR230 / FR235.
     
  8. Clint1583 macrumors regular

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    Mar 4, 2011
    #8
    Like many people I've had all the typical exercise watches, Garmin, Fitbit, etc... but I finally have settled on my AW2 as being the best for me. When I say best it's because I also run with my iPhone which of course makes the AW2 GPS nearly perfect. For year's I never carried my iPhone running but after have an emergency I've since gotten smart and now carry it inside a SpiBelt under my shirt.

    As for a HR monitor, the basic one with the AW is fine for everyday pulse readings but I found to many wild readings while running. I've since purchased a Polar H7 chest strap and use it paired with my AW. Much better accuracy.

    Besides all the exercise related functions to the watch, I love being able to check and send text messages from my watch. I literally only need to look at my iPhone half as much as I use to. Being able to give a verbal text message is great. I'm even able to see text messages while running or see who's calling me while out on a run.

    I'm also one of those people that still like wearing a watch or that's just another big plus.
     
  9. jbachandouris macrumors 601

    jbachandouris

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    Upstate NY
    #9
    Nope. Stick with Garmin. I use the Forerunner 225.

    My biggest pet peeve with the Apple Watch is pausing/stopping an activity.
    You have 2 choices:
    1. Press both buttons at the same time to pause the activity
    2. Swipe right on the screen to pause/end your activity

    Neither method is instantaneous, so if you care about the EXACT time of your run, you'll never be able to record it. I suppose asking Siri to end the workout might be faster, but nothing beats pressing ONE button to stop/pause your run.
     
  10. Julien macrumors G3

    Julien

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    #10
    3. Use Auto Pause. It actually works quite well.
     
  11. jbachandouris macrumors 601

    jbachandouris

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    #11
    Does it? When I end a 5 or a 10k, I don't abruptly stop motion entirely. I stop running, but then walk for a bit. Would auto pause work in that case?
     
  12. aarontsuru macrumors regular

    aarontsuru

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  13. laser71 thread starter macrumors regular

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    #13
    For me, virtual racer / ghost racer functionality is the most important feature. I run pretty well one of 5 routes, and they all have their own challenges, from hills, to distance, to surface type. If I go for a casual run, I often don't even look at my watch. But if I'm training and going for gains, then I find the virtual racer functionality to be the single best tool for helping me push harder. But like I said, it needs to be benchmarked against a past run, as a simple set pace is too annoying to accommodate for the variables on the courses.

    If I'm running somewhere new, all I need is elapsed time and distance - which I'm sure every running watch and tracker will do. Some with heart rate - although in practice I find I don't ever pay a lot of attention to that.
     
  14. deeddawg macrumors 604

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    #14
    When did Strava release their stand-alone version of their app? I thought it wasn't yet out.
     
  15. Phil A. Moderator

    Phil A.

    Staff Member

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    #15
    I'm not a serious runner (I run nearly every day, but not competitively) and use the Apple Watch with Runtastic to track my runs.

    It's OK, but far from brilliant: Accuracy is frequently off (for example, today the GPS missed out a bend in the road and recorded me going straight on, which "stole" about 400m from my run distance), and I often get errors starting the app up and have to retry it. Also, the heart rate monitor is far from accurate in cold weather (apparently my average heart rate today was 48bpm on a run in sub zero temperatures: If it was, I'd be training for the Olympics, not running for fun!!)

    If I'm honest, I'd say I "put up" with the Apple watch because I love the rest of the functionality and don't want to have to deal with multiple devices, but it is definitely testing my patience and I've looked at dedicated running watches more than once...
     
  16. deeddawg macrumors 604

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    #16
    Not available on any current Apple Watch standalone running up as far as I know, at least not at this time.

    You'll probably need to stick with a running-specific watch for that, and probably stick with Garmin.

    Be *very* careful in checking features though, Garmin's been bad for dropping features when they release a "new" version of a watch model. Do NOT assume that because one model has a feature the newer one will have it too. As I don't use VR functionality I can't comment on which have or don't have it.
     
  17. Bob190 macrumors 6502

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    #17
    Currently, only if you carry your phone. The version of the Strava app that supports the Series 2 standalone GPS won't be out until early next year.
     
  18. neilg-uk macrumors newbie

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    Oct 2, 2008
    #18
    It does for normal running, I've been using that for some time. However I've recently got into a different training regime with intervals etc. and I've got a TomTom Runner Cardio to use while training. Takes out a lot of guess work.
     
  19. satchmo macrumors 68000

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    #19
    I suppose one additional thing to consider is if you listen to music while you run.
    That's a big plus for the AW.

    As much as I would love to see Garmin implement on-board storage on their watches, I feel like this goes against their DNA of being a serious athletics brand.
     
  20. deeddawg macrumors 604

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    #20
    Yes, being able to load music directly onto the AW2 is a nice benefit.

    Though it's also quite easy to run with a current-gen ipod nano and get much better support for multiple playlists and podcasts while retaining bluetooth headphone capability. That's what I've done for years before getting an AW Nike edition -- I rarely bring my phone with me on a run.
     
  21. Bob190, Dec 5, 2016
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2016

    Bob190 macrumors 6502

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    #21
    To the original poster ..

    I would say that the Apple Watch Series 2 has all the hardware necessary to give you everything you get with a Garmin watch and much, much more.

    The problem currently is that the development community has been painfully slow to build software that takes advantage of the watch. There is nothing that would prevent some good developers from giving you all the advanced stuff you get with a Garmin Forerunner .. the problem is that most don't seem interested or don't see a profit in it.

    I consider myself a competitive, serious runner, and I use the Apple Watch Series 2 with the Nike Run Club app. I guess I am old school, so I don't like running with a phone, but I do like running with music which makes the S2 perfect for me. I run with just the S2 and bluetooth headphones and get GPS tracking, music, audio updates in my ear every .25 mile.

    As far as metrics go, as long as the basic GPS data is captured accurately, you can do a lot of post run analysis on sites like Training Peaks, etc.

    I still have a Garmin, but I no longer wear both as I am comfortable now with what the S2 offers.
     
  22. aarontsuru, Dec 5, 2016
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2016

    aarontsuru macrumors regular

    aarontsuru

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    #22
    Yeah, I don't worry about intervals, so not sure how Strava handles them (if they even do). But for tracking your running for later analysis, Strava on the Apple Watch works great.
    --- Post Merged, Dec 5, 2016 ---
    I always carry my phone. Maybe it shows my age, but I've been in too many "sh*t happens" situations in my life (getting hurt, stranded, sick, something happening to my partner and/or kids, and in NYC, we got a few bad guys here and there), I will always carry a phone with me on my runs and bike rides.

    Besides, the iPhone has a great GPS too, so good run/ride accuracy. Also, if I'm running late, my partner can check my location and make sure I'm good, which gives them some peace of mind. And finally, the iPhone takes great photos and in this city, you never know when you are going to run into a bit of inspiration....

    So yeah, in conclusion, I carry my phone.

    Cheers!
     
  23. satchmo macrumors 68000

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    #23
    Anyone here running with a 42mm SS?
    I'm thinking that might feel a tad heavy...certainly more than a Garmin, no?
     
  24. Bob190 macrumors 6502

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    #24
    Don't disagree with any of your points, just pointing out that if your choose to run with the Series 2 Apple Watch that has a built in GPS chip (thus no need to carry your phone for GPS tracking), the Strava app currently doesn't work.

    Strava will release an updated version in early 2017 that will work with the Series 2 integrated GPS.

    Since the original poster was running with a Garmin Forerunner (which doesn't require a phone), I was assuming they didn't run with their phone and were looking at the Series 2 as a phone-free alternative.
     
  25. aarontsuru macrumors regular

    aarontsuru

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    #25
    I'm finding App makers are getting slower and slower at supporting things on the Apple Watch. That's something to consider too. Garmin isn't bailing on their devices anytime soon. Apple could "change focus" or app makers can lose interest too easily. I used to love iSmoothRun and was excited to use it when the Apple Watch was released, but oh man, it's been a disaster for me on the watch to where I've completely abandoned the app all together.
     

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