Any runners use their Apple watches instead of standard GPS?

Thread: Any runners use their Apple watches instead of standard GPS?

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  1. #1
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    Any runners use their Apple watches instead of standard GPS?

    I'm curious if there are any runners that use an Apple watch in place of a traditional GPS watch (e.g. Garmin, etc.) for running and how it works for them? (Distance and pace accuracy, resistant to elements, etc.)

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Member BarracksSi's Avatar
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    Re: Any runners use their Apple watches instead of standard GPS?

    I've pretty much switched away from my Garmin 410 to my AW.

    Some caveats, though: the stride-calculated distance measurement isn't working for everyone, which affects the pace, too. The optical HR is probably good enough for most of us, yet requires third-party apps to read the data from Health of you want to see graphs and such. You can also use a Bluetooth HR strap for more accuracy, and it might be better than the optical sensor for monitoring crossfit-type workouts.

    Aside from these notes, I'm digging the AW. I like how simple the stock Workout app is, but I can also choose third-party apps for more specialized data.

    My AW's screen also responds better to sweaty fingers than my 410's touch bezel, mainly thanks to Force Press behaving almost like a hardware button. It's also more comfortable, and it washes off easily in the shower afterwards.

    If I'm out with my phone, I almost never miss seeing a text or call -- but I can also easily choose to ignore texts or calls without having to fumble around with the phone in an armband or pocket. (I'd rather carry the phone in my hand, but it's kinda annoying, too)

    I have Garmin data going back to 2011, but I just don't care about any of it. Im not training for races or anything. I'm thinking of selling my 410, and may yet decide whether to also sell the bike accessories. Depends on whether I switch to a dedicated bike GPS or just go without.

  3. #3
    Member MuckyMark's Avatar
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    Re: Any runners use their Apple watches instead of standard GPS?

    Not yet. I have used for a few treadmill runs and it works well. I use a TomTom Spark Cardio for outdoors runs. I actually acquired it just before I received the AW, my previous run watch was the Nike/TomTom sportwatch . My biggest reason for not running with the AW is the need to bring the phone along for the GPS to work. I don't like packing the phone along when running. Having said that I travel for work and always like to get a run in in different cities. This gives me an option instead of packing a single use run watch along. Stay tuned I'll post updates as they happen.

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  5. #4
    Member DonQuixote's Avatar
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    Re: Any runners use their Apple watches instead of standard GPS?

    The AW is extremely inaccurate since I run with a group of folks who have their phones strapped on or various expensive Garmin/Suunto's and therefore I have found the AW to overcalculate the run with an extra 1.5miles average even after bringing my phone to sync up the strides, etc. so I have since stopped using it reliably though it does make me feel better with some sub-6 minute miles which weren't true.

  6. #5
    Member briburt's Avatar
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    Re: Any runners use their Apple watches instead of standard GPS?

    I'm not a runner, but I use my AW along with the Strava app for both cycling and Nordic skiing, and the GPS works like a charm. It's very easy and convenient to be able to start and stop a workout from the watch, and automatically upload the data to Strava via the iPhone app. Also, the newer version of the Strava app can tap into the AW's heart rate monitor data to provide even more data beyond the GPS tracking. I personally think the fitness tracking features of the AW are some of the most compelling reasons to use the AW at all. I used to use a Garmin Forerunner, but it was just too big and clunky, and I had to wear a heart-rate monitor strap. The AW provides the same functions in a smaller, easier-to-use package.

    I would say the only real issue with using the AW as a GPS-replacement for cycling is battery life — if you do longer rides (2-3+ hours) the battery on your AW will definitely die on you (and you won't realize it). The dedicated GPS cycling computers provide much better (day long +) battery life suitable for longer rides.

  7. #6
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    Re: Any runners use their Apple watches instead of standard GPS?

    Who knows? The screen shuts off and when I turn it back on I have to try and touch the tiny app while running. Too much trouble.

  8. #7
    Member BarracksSi's Avatar
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    Re: Any runners use their Apple watches instead of standard GPS?

    Quote Originally Posted by 'Busa View Post
    Who knows? The screen shuts off and when I turn it back on I have to try and touch the tiny app while running. Too much trouble.
    Apple's Workout app should automatically come up each time you raise your wrist.

    Other apps may or may not have the same priority. Go to Settings -> Wake on wrist raise… and turn on Last Used App.

  9. #8
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    Re: Any runners use their Apple watches instead of standard GPS?

    My girlfriend uses hers both with phone connectivity as well as through it's accelerometer-based distance tracking. She noticed that it has definitely gotten more accurate as it calibrated itself over the first few weeks of use. I myself have a Garmin, and it's distance algorithm has also gotten more accurate as I've used it with GPS and then gone without GPS. Anecdotally, I've found that it works best for long, steady runs versus track workouts or speedwork.

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