Training for a marathon? Apple Watch can help

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Your Apple Watch can improve your race time.
Apple Watch can help improve your race time (but watch where you're going!)
Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

With Autumn rapidly approaching, marathon season is almost upon us. So if you’re planning on running a race, now’s the time to ramp up your training.

Whether you are doing a full marathon, a half-marathon or a 10K race, here are my top 10 tips for using your Apple Watch to achieve a new personal best.

Apple’s savvy fitness plan: Build an indispensable platform

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The Activity app forms the hub of Apple’s fitness platform strategy.
The Activity app forms the hub of Apple’s fitness platform strategy.
Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

If you compare the Apple Watch to dedicated fitness tracking devices, it comes up short, and the forthcoming watchOS 2 will do little to address these limitations. Instead, with this update Apple is focusing on helping improve third-party fitness apps.

That’s because Apple sees its wearable as the main component of a fitness platform, with the Activity app as hub. While the built-in Workout app is mostly for beginners, third-party apps will provide the missing features for hardcore users.

Apple’s fitness guru on what makes the Watch revolutionary

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Apple Watch is the perfect companion for spin class.
Apple Watch is the perfect companion for spin class.
Photo: Apple

Jay Blahnik has been one of Apple’s key hires in getting the Apple Watch and now in one of his first extensive interviews since joining the company, Apple’s fitness guru has revealed how his teams of experts tried to differentiate the Apple Watch in the hugely competitive new wearables market.

When it came down to making Apple Watch, it wasn’t just about making something that looks good that also tracks your steps and calories. Blahnik tells Outside that Apple’s goal was to silence the noise by ignoring the fitness trends and focusing in on the three things that mattered the most.

Here are seven key things we learned from the interview:

Could Apple Watch soon track weightlifting as well as cardio?

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Stainless steel Apple Watch meets pumping iron.
Stainless steel Apple Watch meets pumping iron.
Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

As a fitness tracker, Apple Watch is currently little more than a fancy pedometer. It only tracks distance and calories — the quantity, not the quality, of your movement. That’s a problem because fitness is about more than burning calories.

However, an interesting patent from Apple — plus a new technology claimed to be “Siri for understanding human movement” — suggests that Apple Watch could soon be adding weightlifting to its repertoire. Which would be good news for gym-goers and CrossFitters everywhere.

Why you may run into trouble if you try to switch running apps

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It's not always easy to switch running apps.
It's not always easy to switch running apps.
Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

Using a running app to log your workouts is a great way to track your progress and stay motivated. But have you considered who actually owns the workout data you are logging?

If you ever decide to switch apps, you might be in for a surprise. While some services, like Strava, make it easy to transfer your data, with others it can be difficult or even impossible.