Fitness Gear

Wow! The New Apple Watch Update Has the Best Updates for Runners Yet!

Written by Charlie

The brand new Apple WatchOS 9 is releasing the best updates for runners yet! Check out all the new metrics and features that are coming for runners!

I’ll say right up top – I’ve been tough on Apple for a long time about their Apple Watch for runners. While they originally marketed for runners, they never brought their software up to date to be beneficial to runners with a broad range of data sets. Well, that is all changing with Apple WatchOS 9!

The New Apple Watch OS 9 Has the Best Updates for Runners Yet

While many runners use the Apple Watch, to get the best out of it, you really needed to use a third party app to access certain data metrics that many runners want to use. For example, using the Apple Watch Workout app for speed workouts was a huge pain as it was not built for that at all.

Last year, Apple simply bought a couple of tiny updates to the watch itself that really did nothing to be more beneficial for runners. Now, the new Apple WatchOS 9 (coming in September) will have the best updates for runners ever. This was just announced today, June 6, at WWDC.

For starters, they are finally adding metrics like ground contact time and vertical oscillation. These metrics help you identify ways to be more efficient in your running. They are also something that can be harder to add right to the wrist as other watch companies typically use pods or heart rate monitors to track these metrics. It will be interesting to see how well this works with Apple Watch.

Next, they are also bringing segment pace. This is something I had really missed on the Apple Watch. The closest they had was the rolling mile but I like to see lap pace instead of a rolling pace.

Next up is elevation information. This helps you see at a glance the elevation profile of the run you are on.

Finally, welcome to heart rate zones on the Apple Watch Workout app! Now, you can see the amount of time you spend in each heart rate zone if you train according to heart rate. Great to have!

Apple is also finally bringing the ability to structure your workouts. This is awesome for things like workouts for repeats – something I had severely missed on Apple Watch before and part of what drove me back to Garmin.

Now you can also set Alerts for things like Pace, Heart Rate, Cadence and more.

You can scroll through the various data screens during your workout to see things like the amount of distance left on a workout as well as your interval pace and time – more helpful metrics for workouts.

The next one is a bit surprising – Apple says they are bringing running power to the WatchOS 9 update. Running power is something that even Garmin has not really brought to the wrist itself though competitor COROS, for example, does have it on their $199 COROS Pace 2. But, does the current lineup of Apple Watch models have the hardware components to do this or will it be only for Apple Watch 8? Cool update and can’t wait to see how accurate it is.

Another thing Apple is finally bringing is the ability to race yourself on a previous course you ran. This is something that other running watches have and is a great way to check your performance and improvements against your own training.

Lastly, Apple is bringing multisport ability to the Apple Watch that will be great for triathletes. The Apple Watch will be able to identify your transition and update the view and screens as well as the activity for it. Well done, Apple!

Bottom Line

While we don’t know more than the blurbs that Apple share today, we will find out more when the betas start coming out shortly. I will also be downloading the beta one my wife’s old watch to check and see how it works and which models will work with some of these updates.

But, the fact that Apple is finally bringing the Apple Watch OS up to date for runners is a great thing. Will it make me and many others switch from Garmin? Well, a lot will depend on how well the battery life is in the next model. I am currently using a Garmin Epix 2 with a beautiful AMOLED display and I get 15 days of battery life out of it. 🙂 Yeah, I’m not ready to leave this to charge a watch every day just to get metrics I get already – plus, Garmin has a whole lot more.

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About the author


Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.