Running with the AW2

Discussion in 'Apple Watch Apps' started by dallison13, Jan 26, 2017.

  1. dallison13 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2014
    #1
    Now that the Series 2 has been out since October, and it's now the end of January, I wanted to give an update on my running with the Series 2. I have chatted with many users on here and heard your thoughts as well. Please chime in and give your experiences as well.

    As a disclaimer, I run between 20 and 30 miles a week, and try to incorporate some swimming and biking in as well. I'm training for a sprint triathlon in May. I run on the road over known distances, and also on the trails in and around Portland, Oregon.

    I also occasionally use an Garmin 735XT triathlon watch.

    DISTANCE
    The Apple Watch is accurate when using the built in app or the Nike+ app as far as distance in concerned. I find that many other apps are consistently off by a few percentage points and many apps do no correction and are horribly off, especially the hiking apps. I have tested the apps that use the onboard GPS, including, Nike, Pear, RunKeeper, Trails, and Viewranger.

    PAIRED WITH PHONE
    Over the last few months, many of the apps now give you the option to use the phones GPS (including barometric altimeter) or just the watch. Runkeeper does this as well as Trails. Trails has no Pause AT ALL on the watch which is crazy. Runkeeper has a nice interface and gives you the option to choose between 3 sports ON THE WATCH. Why not all the options that are on the app? Plus no Auto-Pause on the watch. Nike+ will only use the GPS on the watch if started from the watch. If you start from the app, it'll use the watch as a second screen. Unfortunately, it'll save two activity events at the end. Still work needed to be done by Nike there. Sportstracker is a nice app that works only with the phone, but is buggy on the Watch. No one app seems to work perfectly. Activity ++ does not use GPS, ViewRanger is better but is geared towards hiking, as are GPS Tracks, GAIA, and others. ISmoothRun and Runmeter haven't updated their apps with anything meaningful in quite some time. Nothing new from Strava yet.

    ON THE TRAIL
    Yesterday, I ran a trail in Forest Park in Portland; heavily wooded but a very popular trail nevertheless, in the city. I pre mapped the route on Strava to estimate the distance. 4.7 miles. I ran with the Nike app and my Garmin 735. The AW2 recorded 4.8 miles compared to 4.4 with my Garmin. I notice the Garmin seems to struggle a bit in the woods. And yes, GLONASS and GPS are turned on. Anyway, they are usually pretty close to each other on the open road.

    CURRENT PACE, ETC.
    I believe that the one flaw the AW2 has is the ability to display a consistent current pace. Through any of the apps I've used, the current pace is basically unusable. Also in the results at the end, they don't really make sense. Everything AVERAGES out ok, but to use it during a run doesn't work. I'm guessing this is a hardware flaw.

    APPS
    The Workout app gives you the basic amount of detail which is too minimal for ME. The Nike app is hot garbage. Syncing is abysmal and the app is a gateway to sync with other apps at best. I have personally figured a way to sync consistently, but if you want to get your data out through something like RunGap to Strava or Garmin, you MIGHT have to wait for HOURS. Oh well. While RUNNING, The Nike App works well. The SportsTracker app is the most well designed app Ive seen or used. If only it worked better on the watch!
    Obviously you can export your data from the Native Apple app minus the maps by using RunGap. You can also do this for Nike and RunKeeper as well. RunKeeper's data, once uploaded to Strava is all over the place. I've read several blogs about this and don't understand why.
    If you care about cadence data, using Nike will not help you. No steps are recorded in the Nike app when running. So if you export your data to Garmin, your cadence will not be recorded. Small minor detail, but good to know nevertheless.
    Garmin's app is feature packed and a good place to store your runs as they have nice graphs and historical data. Strava is the king of social running and can auto receive runs from Garmin. So my current workflow is typically to run with Nike+, then upload to Garmin/Strava/Sportstracker via the RunGap app. Works fairly well. MOST OF THE TIME.

    The Nike App gives great voice feedback. Runkeeper is a barely noticeable haptic.

    HR
    I think the heart rate monitoring is actually pretty consistent depending on the app. Ive seen a few apps where the monitoring didn't start right away or stopped in the middle of the run. When it's running, it's very much on par with the Garmin. I had a Wahoo Tickr X for a while and don't wear it at all anymore.

    BATTERY LIFE
    Not really an issue as long as it's charged sufficiently. That's partly why I keep the Garmin around. In case I have a run and have forgotten to charge my watch. But that's extremely rare.
    I also try to reboot my watch once a week. It's a computer after all and I think it helps the watch be less glitchy. Works for me. By using this method, I've only had my watch fail to record properly twice using the Nike app. Once I started rebooting weekly, that went away.

    NEW FEATURES?
    I'd love to just use the native Apple app. Give me the ability to export via a share sheet or RunGap and most of my complaints go away. It has many of the features that other apps just don't have, like the ability to pause by pressing the two side buttons. In the Activity app, give us dome graphs and more details, even under an advanced tab. Let us re-name activities. Nike needs to allow for an option to use the phone or watch and to make the app understand the difference. Elevation data would be nice to see on the watch if using the phone since it has the barometric altimeter. Strava? Well we just have to continue to wait.

    Overall, I continue to use the Nike app (55 times since it came out) and the Garmin too on the weekends, usually for comparison purposes. I'm very picky so that doesn't help, but overall pretty satisfied.
     
  2. cmbauer macrumors regular

    cmbauer

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    Sep 27, 2016
  3. mitty macrumors regular

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    May 21, 2010
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    Melbourne
    #3
    A great write up Dallison13.

    A little about me: I started running seriously in 2013. I first used Runkeeper with a Pebble as my primary place for recording my runs, so it's kind of always been my "main" place for recording my runs. However when the Garmin Vivoactive came out I got one of those, and kind of switched to Garmin, but still synced my runs to Runkeeper via Tapiriik, as well as I started syncing stuff to Strava. I really like Strava's Social features and enjoy seeing what friends and online acquaintances are doing with it. I'm hoping for a surprise Strava update that supports the AW2 but I'm not overly optimistic it will happen any time soon.

    So when I got the AW2 I used Pear and then Nike to run. When Runkeeper came out I switched to that. It pretty much does what I want, except no Auto Pause, which is very annoying. However with runs syncing to to both Strava and Garmin, I'm mainly okay.

    Though having said all that, I'm still somewhat disappointed with what we've received for the watch so far. It's got so much promise, but there as Dallison says everyone seems to have missed the mark in one way or another, including Apple. I don't own Ismoothrun, but I keep checking for updates. The fact there hasn't been one makes me think that developing an app for the Watch might be harder than we think. A release of ismoothrun or a Runkeeper update that included auto pause would make me fairly happy.

    Also looking at the Watch more broadly, I still can't help feeling like I'm really a Beta Tester for the device, and to some extent I feel like I've been conned by Apple. It's the first Apple Device I've bought that I'm pretty ambivalent about and could basically take it or leave it. I'm actually thinking seriously about selling it while it's still worth something. I would temporarily go back to the Vivoactive but I think I would probably get a Forerunner 235 to replace that since it's the watch I see most on other runners.
     
  4. avkam macrumors member

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    Jun 9, 2014
    #4
    Great post, thanks for sharing your findings.
     
  5. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #5
    Nice write up, and it helps to determine of the AW2 is for me or not.
     
  6. stridemat Moderator

    stridemat

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    UK
    #6
    I am just waiting to see reviews of the AW2 with the soon to be released Strava update which will incorporate the use of the in-built GPS. I use Strava every time I run (3-4 times per week) so hopefully it works well.

    https://www.strava.com/apple-watch

    I can then upgrade from my AW1.
     
  7. JustMartin macrumors 6502a

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    Feb 28, 2012
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    UK
    #7
    like stridemap, I'm also waiting for the standalone Strava app. I got the watch about a month ago because I was getting increasingly frustrated by Garmin glitches - forerunner 225. However, I'm not sure it offers a decent alternative for running data. When I first started out running, many years ago, I used a foot pod and when the data was uploaded via iTunes to the Nike web site, there was useful data you could look at, doesn't seem to be the case now. It seems to me that Nike have missed a trick with this solution and they should be more like Strava.
     
  8. Bob190 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 21, 2015
    #8
    I find the Nike Run Club app works well and have been using it for months. I only had one instance of a run that couldn't be uploaded to Strava and Garmin Connect via RunGap, and that was likely my fault. As mentioned, syncing is problematic at times, and does take hours every now and then, but eventually it shows up on the Nike server and allows me to import with RunGap to be uploaded to Strava/GC.

    The features on the NRC AW app are well implemented. The voice feedback works fine every time (adding current/average HR would be a welcome addition) and the auto-pause function works fine for me. Never had the watch app crash in 50+ runs. Not sure why Nike can't add cadence since your steps are being captured while running anyway, and it would just be a simple calculation.

    As dallison13 mentioned distance is spot on, and seems to work better than my Garmin Vivoactive on trail runs in wooded areas.

    I too am waiting for the Strava app, but I fear it won't have voice feedback, which means I will stick with the NRC app as I like not having to look at my watch .. especially in the winter time when it is buried under long sleeves.
     
  9. mk313 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2012
    #9
    Bob,

    Since you are using the NRC app, can I ask what size watch you have? I'm debating between the 38 & 42. My main reason to get a watch is the NRC app. Any thoughts on if you like the size you got, or would have preferred a different size would be appreciated as well.
     
  10. logicstudiouser macrumors 6502

    logicstudiouser

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2010
    #10
    Thanks for posting about this. I am a frequent runner myself and have been curious about maybe getting an Apple Watch for runs. I currently use the old Nike + Running app to track my runs.
    I think the Apple Watch could be a good option for fall, spring and summer runs. Not sure it could hold up in January and February where I am where the temperatures can be in the -20 to -30 celsius range. :p
     
  11. dallison13 thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2014
    #11
    Just noticed a new running App called RunGo. Supposedly:
    • Uses GPS with or without the phone (although doesn't appear at this time to have a toggle)
    • Has a GPS indicator on the phone
    • Has a big export to GPX button on the activity!
    • Apparently tracks elevation - I'm guessing with phone
    • Will let you create and upload routes to the watch
    • Has a subscription for more advanced features
    • Haptic and Voice notifications
    • Uses the crown for pause

    Anyone try it out yet? If so, let me know how it goes.
    https://www.rungoapp.com/watch/
     
  12. Bob190 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 21, 2015
    #12
    I actually have the 38mm since I have small wrists. But to be honest, either would have been fine. I have tried on a friends 42mm, and it looked fine on my wrist. I prefer a small watch, but the readability of the 42mm is much better.
    --- Post Merged, Feb 5, 2017 ---
    I gave it a quick try and it works well .. Especially the pause/resume using the crown. Exporting to GPX is a premium feature that requires a subscription, and it doesn't appear to export heart rate in the GPX. I have asked it that could be added in a future release.

    The voice feedback works well, but the shortest interval is 1 mile .. I prefer .25 mile updates.

    I plan to give it a try on a longer run on Monday.
     
  13. avkam macrumors member

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    Jun 9, 2014
    #13
    I have run couple of times in -20/-25C and watch has served well. No problems. I wish I could say the same about my iPhone.
     
  14. mitty macrumors regular

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    May 21, 2010
    Location:
    Melbourne
    #14
    Runkeeper got an update this week, though nothing of substance that I can see. Instead, annoying, there's now a 3 second countdown before the run actually starts, and you can't turn it off. This could be annoying for those who are trying to time ultra accurately. Still no Auto Pause, this is the main thing that's missing from the app (honestly, how hard can it be?).

    Still holding out for Strava to release their app. There was an update for them a few days back but nothing to do with the AW2.
     
  15. Bob190 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 21, 2015
    #15
    Lastest from Strava is that the app is due in a few weeks. Doesn't look like it will have voice feedback, so I will probably stick with the Nike Run Club app.

    I have had great success using the Nike app and the RunGap to get the data to Strava. The app has gotten better with each subsequent release, and now works fine for my needs. The auto pause works perfectly for me, I love being able to get voice updates every .25 mile, and I haven't had any sync issues in a few months. It might be worthwhile to give it another try.

    If you do try it again, and already have the NRC app installed, I have found it is best to delete it and then download the newest version.
     
  16. dallison13 thread starter macrumors regular

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    Sep 10, 2014
    #16
    All the recent chatter on the Strava board and with Ray Maker finally making some comments this week, makes me think that Apple and Strava have been working on something together. This might be something worth waiting for.

    https://www.dcrainmaker.com/2016/09/apple-watch-series-2-preview.html#comment-1922011

    That being said, I'm really happy with the watch. Really happy. Yes there are some quirks, but the things I still want are relatively minor and picky at this point. I'll always want more, but what I REALLY want is for it to be rock solid, which it is. The automation will come.

    As @Bob190 says frequently, the Nike app on the watch, as simple as it may seem, works pretty great, and is just a feature or two away from being the best running watch that I've ever used. The phone app is still garbage in my opinion, but I basically use it as a gateway to something better.

    Here is to great times ahead with the Apple Watch.
     
  17. stridemat Moderator

    stridemat

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    UK
    #17
    Well that link perked my interest :).

    What do reckon for the possible March event for new iPad and they add on a bit about AW?
     
  18. mitty macrumors regular

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    May 21, 2010
    Location:
    Melbourne
    #18
    All fabulous news. I'm hanging out for Strava. Just PLEASE let it have auto pause. I don't mind if it has voice notifications as long as it has a beep for each kilometre or something like that.
     
  19. dallison13 thread starter macrumors regular

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    Sep 10, 2014
    #19
    So I was invited to the Strava beta and ran with it this morning. As far as I can tell no audio feedback yet. I say that because I thought maybe I didn't hear it while I was run /walking. Or haptic feedback. Auto pause is finicky. But the rest works as advertised. Not as polished as Nike yet. But uploads fast and accurate. After being uploaded to Strava, it lists your device as Strava Apple Watch.
     
  20. stridemat Moderator

    stridemat

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    #20
    How'd you manage that?

    I find the haptic feedback on my AW1 a bit finicky, so nothing new there.
     
  21. Bob190 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 21, 2015
    #21
    Glad to hear it has auto pause.

    Will be a no go for me without the voice feedback. Curious .. were you using BT headphones during your test run? Some apps only pass audio thru the headphones. I found the haptic never worked on Strava's earlier AW apps.

    Still looking forward to imminent release of this and hopefully iSmoothRun.
     
  22. goat5570 macrumors member

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    Jul 9, 2008
    #22
    I asked the developer for ismoothrun while asking about something else. He said he still has work to do on it. Didn't make it sounds like it was going to happen anytime soon.
     
  23. mitty macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 21, 2010
    Location:
    Melbourne
    #23
    I ran with the current Strava app (and phone) today. I actually found it quite annoying, when looking at the screen to see how far I'd run the distance is a small number at the bottom which doesn't seem to be able to be moved. Also the distance takes a while to appear after you tilt your wrist to activate the screen. As far as this goes, Runkeeper is better and more configurable. To be honest, I'd prefer it if there was an option to keep the screen on for the entire duration of your run. I wonder what sort of a battery hit this would cause, but surely if you started at 100% and ran for say 50 minutes, the watch wouldn't go flat.
     
  24. tmiles81 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2011
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    #24
    I'd be interested to hear yours and other opinions on the Runkeeper app.
    I use is occasionally without the phone and get maps that are all over the place. I have attached an example of this (this was a walk, not a run).
    Also, yesterday i used it for a run (with phone) around an oval and the distance, pace, time & calories on runkeeper differs to that on the Activity app. Activity app shows more distance and calories but slower pace, and shorter time.
    I feel that Runkeeper just isn't reliable for me.

    Regarding Strava, i had settled that this was the app for me and was enjoying a free one month premium subscription. However i decided to revert back to free until the Watch 2 update is released, but unfortunately the monthly payment was taken from iTunes. Now this is ok as i thought, at least i have another month to use it some more, but it hasn't recognised the upgrade on Strava, so i paid but cannot use the full features. I've logged a support request for this, as hitting 'restore purchases' does nothing.

    When i used to use Nike+ before buying a watch, i was happy with the interface, but since the upgrade, it seems that things like my PR 5k and fastest 1mile times do not update. I know for a fact i knocked about 50secs off it once, but the old time remained. Also, i was trying to sort a bug (cannot recall which one, may have even been the PR one) and entered a distance well above my previous furthest, and a time that would be way faster than i'm capable of, and then deleting this 'run'. Now the distance remains in the personal records (but when i click on it, the run that opens was my previous furthest).
    I was also getting the odd map not showing up on Nike app where it was only showing a series of lines in a circle - this was also bugging me and all of the above, forced me to move to Strava.

    How has Nike+ improved in recent times, i'd love to hear other users' feedback.
    Thanks.
     

    Attached Files:

  25. dallison13 thread starter macrumors regular

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    Sep 10, 2014
    #25
    Ran with the new Strava app for the second time today, which will probably be the last until the next beta update (back to NRC). Confirmed no alerts yet for mileage markers. Gave me an extremely fast time for my first mile. I know I'm not that fast! App crashed about halfway through my 6 mile run but somehow kept the information and kept going. Segments are also not included yet.
    Beta testing continues. Back to Nike for my next few runs.
    --- Post Merged, Feb 12, 2017 ---
    When I have run with the most recent RK app on the watch only, the map wasn't that bad, but I do think it records a little longer distance than it should. Plus there is NO Auto Pause, which is a non starter for me.
    --- Post Merged, Feb 12, 2017 ---
    Nike+ on the watch is pretty great, albeit light on "features". But it's rock solid. The phone app leaves something to be desired and all the issues you stated are true for me as well. Personal records are pretty much broken. If you can use that on the watch and use RunGap or Smashrun/Tapirik to get your data elsewhere, do that.
     

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