Apple launched its first smartwatch in 2015. At that time, the Apple Watches were used as a fashion accessory. Later, Apple started to make highly advanced smartwatches with many health and fitness tracking features such as a built-in GPS, ECG Monitor, blood oxygen, etc.
If you are a runner, you might probably use your Apple watch to track your running and other outdoor activities like mountain biking, hinking, etc. But the question is, “Is an Apple watch good for running”? Let’s find out.
Also Read: Do You Really Need a Smartwatch for Running?
Is an Apple Watch Good for Running?
Yes. The Apple watch is suitable for running. I recommend the Apple Watch Series 3 and later models for running because it has sensors such as a built-in GPS, accelerometer, gyroscope, and heart rate monitor to track your speed, distance, and other health metrics. Plus, the previous models are discontinued now.
If you are a serious runner and still unable to decide whether to buy an Apple watch, check our Garmin and Apple Watch Comparison guide.
Accuracy of Apple Watch for Running
The Apple Watch has an advanced GPS and accelerometer sensor that accurately tracks your running metrics like running pace, distance, etc. If you are worried about the accuracy, you can calibrate the Apple watch before your run to ensure more accurate results.
If you need more in-depth running metrics, you need advanced Garmin running watches such as Forerunner 955 or Fenix 7 Series. Both watches have great accuracy and features for runners and other outdoor enthusiasts. However, these Garmin watches are far more expensive than the Apple Watches and not really required if you are just a beginner or occasional runner.
When it comes to heart rate monitoring, Apple and Garmin watches are pretty accurate. Both watches show real-time heart rates and alert you if your heart rate goes below or above the desired range.
The Advantages of Using an Apple Watch for Runners
Even though it is not an advanced running watch like Garmin or Suunto, the Apple watch offers a handful of cool features that makes it ideal for every runner.
1. Advanced Location Tracking Features
Advanced Apple Watches like Series 9 and Ultra 2 are packed with GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, QZSS, and BeiDou Sensors that help you track your speed, distance, and location accurately. Apple watch also has an advanced on-screen navigation map that runners can use to find their way, especially when they explore new trails. So, you don’t need to carry your iPhone when you go for a run.
If you are a runner or athlete, it is essential to monitor your VO2 Max. It is a measure of the amount of oxygen that you can consume in one minute. The higher the VO2 Max, the better your aerobic endurance and fitness level. Apple watches Series 4, 5, 6, and 7 support VO2 Max tracking. In addition to that, it also monitors SpO2, which is also an essential metric for runners.
3. Apple Watch Security Features for Runners
The Apple watch has multiple security features, making it a good choice for runners. Let us have a closer look at a few of these features.
Fall Detection: Fall detection is a life-saving feature on Apple Watch Series 4 and later variants. If you fall, an Apple Watch with fall detection will detect the fall and call Emergency Services with your exact location if you do not respond for one minute. Plus, it will send messages to your Emergency Contacts with your live location, and this helps them to reach you even after you have been moved to a hospital after a fall.
Emergency SOS: Apple Watch has an Emergency SOS calling feature as well! To make an Emergency call, long press the side button until you see a slider to call Emergency services. Now, move the slider to the right-hand side to call the local emergency service in your area and share your live location so they can quickly locate you. When you finish the call to the local emergency services, it will alert your emergency contacts with your live location.
High and Low Heart Rate Alerts: The high and low heart rate alert is another safety feature on Apple Watch 1 and later variants. If your heartbeats go above or below certain limits, the Apple Watch will alert you. An irregular heart rhythm can indicate atrial fibrillation(AFib), which can be deadly if not treated promptly.
Fall detection and emergency SOS are essential for every runner, especially when you run on remote trails alone. There are many such incidents already reported where the Apple watch’s fall detection and emergency SOS have saved people’s lives.
4. Set Goals: Apple Watch allows you to set personal goals for metrics like steps, distance, and burned calories. You can also set a goal to close your Exercise ring or move goal. Achieving these goals gives you a sense of satisfaction and motivates you to do better next time.
5. Track your Progress: The Apple Watch tracks your various activities and health metrics and displays your metrics in the Apple Health App. The App displays your health and fitness metrics in graphs and charts, which helps you track everything in detail and make necessary changes to your workout plan to achieve your goals.
Plus, it also supports many running apps such as Starva, Nike+ Run Club, Runtastic, etc. These apps give you extra features such as coaching, tracking your progress, and competing with your friends.
6. Music Playback: If you love listening to music while running, you can do that with the Apple Watch. The Apple watch supports music streaming services such as Apple Music, Spotify, and Pandora. Additionally, you can also download music to your Apple Watch and listen to it without carrying your iPhone.
7. Make Phone Calls from Watch: Apple Watches come with a microphone and loudspeaker, which allows you to make and receive phone calls and SMS directly from your watch. If you buy a cellular smartwatch, you can do the same even when you are not carrying your iPhone. This is very convenient when you are out on the run and do not want to bring your iPhone. I don’t even think about carrying my iPhone 14 Max Pro while running because of its heaviness.
Water Resistance: Apple Watches come with 5 ATM water resistance, which means you can use the Apple Watch while running in the rain or swimming in the pool.
Disadvantages of Using an Apple Watch while Running
Apple watches can track your running and other outdoor activities such as walking, swimming, and cycling. However, there are a few disadvantages to using an Apple watch while running.
1. The Battery Life is not great: One of the biggest disadvantages of using an Apple Watch for running is its battery life. The battery of the Apple Watch is only 18 hours, which is very short, especially if you go for long runs or trail runs.
The battery will drain faster if you use music, GPS, and cellular features while running. On the other hand, Garmin watches, such as Fenix 7, Forerunner 955, Enduro, etc., come with intelligent battery modes that optimize the battery life based on your usage.
2. It is not that accurate: The Apple Watches are not accurate compared to the Garmin running watches. I noticed this multiple times during trail running. I feel that the GPS struggles to lock on the satellite, so the distance and speed tracking are incorrect.
The Apple Watch is an excellent smartwatch with many features that can be useful for runners. However, its disadvantages include short battery life and accuracy issues. If you are looking for a dedicated running watch, I recommend the Garmin watch. But if you want a smartwatch with advanced health and fitness features and don’t mind the battery life, go for the Apple Watch.
Shisha is a passionate Gadget lover who loves to run. When he’s not pounding the pavement, he can be found glued to her laptop, researching the latest gadget trends, or testing out the latest apps.