It’s Runner’s Week at Cult of Mac. Every day this week, I’m reviewing a different running app for Apple Watch in an effort to help you decide which app belongs on your wrist to log all your sweaty miles.
It takes a lot of effort to go running with Apple Watch, and not just because it gets you all sweaty. The hard work starts before you even put on your running shoes. Simply choosing which running app to use is an exhausting task.
Even if you don’t install any of the plethora of third-party running apps, the Apple Watch Nike+ model comes with two preinstalled options to choose from. So this week, to help get you off the starting blocks, we’ll be reviewing six of the best running apps for Apple Watch.
At the most essential level, a running app should provide a reliable way to log your workouts: when, where, how fast and how far you run. Fancy features are all very well and good, but let’s be honest — if an app doesn’t get the basics right, it sucks.
Nike has been busy adding new bells and whistles to its Nike+ Run Club app recently. Which is great if you want stuff like photo sharing and news feeds. But all I want is to log my runs, and thanks to my Apple Watch Nike+, that critical function has become pretty unreliable.
When you start a workout, Apple Watch only gives you a three-second countdown. There’s no time for a warmup first. And when you’re done, the Workout app does not prompt you to cool down either.
That is very different from the treadmills and bikes you find in most gyms, which ease you gently into your workout and steadily lower your pace at the end.
Apple Watch may not (yet) support the warmup and cool-down phases of a workout, but that does not mean you should skip them. These Apple Watch fitness tips will help you get the most out of your workouts.
Sports apparel makers clearly believe that fitness apps are an important part of their futures. Under Armour and Adidas have invested heavily in fitness apps, and Runkeeper’s recent acquisition by ASICS is just the latest in a long series of app acquisitions by apparel makers.
These companies have big brands and deep pockets. Can an indie developer realistically compete with all that? Gareth Nettleton, VP of marketing for indie fitness app Strava, tells me that like any serious athlete, his hard-charging company thrives on competition.
There are so many iPhone apps for runners, it’s hard to decide which one to use. Should you go for a familiar brand like Nike, or a specialist like Runkeeper?
Ultimately, all running apps do pretty much the same thing: They use GPS to track how far and how fast you run. But when you take a closer look, their features and prices vary considerably. So I’ve done the leg work for you, to help you find the right running app faster.
Runkeeper is one of the first big-name running apps to offer full watchOS 2 support, which means you can log a run on your Apple Watch even if you leave your iPhone behind.
The Apple Watch’s built-in Workout app has always offered this feature, but it is new for third-party apps. I had never tried it before, but Runkeeper got me curious. So I left my iPhone charging at home, put on a pair of Nikes and went out for a run.