Stuart Breckenridge

Running Without Apple Watch Workouts

This week I’ve been running every day: five days on the treadmill and one day pounding the pavement. I could have used the Workout app on my Apple Watch to track these workouts, but it lacks basic functionality that all other fitness trackers have, which make it of little use to me.

#####A Lack of Context After completing any workout which is tracked by the Apple Watch, the resulting data set is shipped into Activity app 1 on your iPhone. From there you can see:

  • Type of Workout
  • Active/Total Calories
  • Total Time
  • Total Distance
  • Average Pace (plus Splits)
  • Average Heart Rate

Things you can’t see, which result in a lack of context:

  • Maps (for outdoor activities)
  • Heart Rate at any given point on a run
  • Elevation (for outdoor activities)

Maps are perhaps my most sought after feature. If I want to know where on a route I am gaining or losing time, they are essential. If I want to recall where my Saturday Morning Run was a year ago, they are essential. It’s something Apple could easily implement, given that they have their own mapping service.

These features are available–and have been for a long time–in competitor apps such as RunKeeper or Strava.

#####Inability to Edit Another bugbear is the inability to edit workouts logged by Apple Watch. For outdoor workouts, this is OK, as I’ve found the GPS to be accurate. For indoor workouts, it’s criminal. For every 5KM run I’ve completed on a treadmill, Apple Watch has logged it as somewhere in between 4.25KM and 4.75KM2. Once it’s logged, that’s it, forever inaccurate.

I’ve been using RunKeeper this week. Workouts has been a huge letdown.

  1. And the Health app. ↩︎

  2. This is after several hours of outdoor calibration runs. ↩︎


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