The Apple of my eye – Apple Watch + RunMeter review

Before I had to take my short leave from running due to the operation, I was busy “training” my Apple Watch, an incredibly generous birthday present from The Boy. I know it is one of those gadgets that divides people a bit like marmite; though I would bet that out of the people who have one you won’t find many that haven’t found it useful (or just one of those nice things to have..)

As soon as the Watch was announced in September 2014, I was desperate to get my hands on it. I managed to shake the urge off but every now and again it would make it’s presence known, making my wallet tingle. The main reason why I was interested in the watch (The Watch) was that I felt it would be a useful addition to running; being able to see my stats as I ran but also to measure my heart rate. I do have a Polar heart rate monitor but I find it’s chest strap restricting. I always feel like I can’t breath when I am wearing it so to be able to wear something on your wrist seemed perfect.

But I resisted. Because, you know. I do that.

And then The Boy insisted on getting me one. Now, I am terrible at receiving gifts. Absolutely terrible. I hate feeling as if I owe anyone anything so I’d much rather be the giver than the recipient. But there we were one Friday –  at the Apple Store, trying one on…. We went for the smaller Apple Sport in Space Grey Aluminium with black band. My wrists are tiny so the bigger screen looked a bit ridiculous on me.

Fast forward to today, about three weeks later and I am inseparable with my watch. I love controlling my music from it when I am out and about (Gawd, how did I ever put up with the hassle of having to dig my phone out to change the track or control the volume!?…), getting notifications on it (Facebook and WhatsApp – get your act together and come up with an app for the Apple Watch!), checking when the bus is coming and being able to pay with it. The watch is amazing. But as I predicted, my biggest kick comes out of using it for running and checking my heart rate.

RunMeter (only THE BEST running app there is) luckily has an Apple Watch app so I can see my progress as I run. Obviously I also get the announcements from the phone through my Yurbuds but sometimes I just don’t hear them and especially towards the end of the run every 500m matters..

It is possible to set the Apple Watch to notify you as well but I have these turned off. I think in interval training I might have them on.

FullSizeRender (2)

Here are some screenshots of RunMeter on the Apple Watch:

I love the heart rate and pace gauges. Obviously if it was an active run, the needle would be on the current heart rate.

How accurate is it? Well, during the run when I raise my arm it sometimes takes a while for the screen on the watch to portray the current stats. The accuracy is down to the iPhone I still run with (the RunMeter running on that as well) as the watch doesn’t have GPS. The main incentive is really just to be able to see comfortably where I am exactly at that point in time.

The heart rate seems to be getting more accurate. The first run I did seriously underestimated my calories, I assume mainly due to lacking heart rate readings:

My 25km run is usually around 1440+ calories so to be quoted 738 was a bit of a shock! Looking at the heart rate measurements -the first picture is from my first run with the watch on 16/2 (also the same run as the big pic) and clearly some calibration was needed. The second picture is from a run on 23/2- 3rd run with the watch. Interestingly the app then told me I had burnt 1619 calories! Clearly not quite right either but I was much happier accepting this number over the 738 calories!…

Once the weather gets a bit warmer and I actually have some function in my hands as I run, I am looking forward to also being able to use the watch to control my music as I run (no more suffering through a really shitty song because it’s too much of a faff to change it on the phone as you run). And I feel I will be making more and more use of the heart rate and pace gauges as time goes on.

The battery power was something that worried me but I make sure the watch is fully charged before a run and then I pop it in the charger when I take a shower (though there is anywhere from 50-70% left on it depending on how much I have been fiddling with it during the 2h+ run) and it more than gets me through the day.

If you do have an Apple Watch then I definitely recommend doing what you can to calibrate it to make sure it is as accurate as possible when you are running without GPS (i.e. your phone); though personally my phone is always with me.

Can you live without the Apple Watch? Sure, of course you can. At least until you actually get one and it becomes as necessary as a bra or a pair of socks.

I can’t wait to be out there again, pounding those pavements that are calling my name like Sirens to Odysseus. I know I should resist a little bit longer but not sure I can… I want to be staring lovingly into the screen of the Apple Watch again and seeing those magic numbers that confirm a run has been banked…

 

2 thoughts on “The Apple of my eye – Apple Watch + RunMeter review

  1. Do you still run with this combination – RunMeter and Apple Watch? Are there any quirks that you don’t like? Do you feel this is a good system?

    I like RunMeter (CycleMeter is what I use) but just using it alone on my phone is bothersome. I am looking at buying a watch to alleviate that. Thanks for the review.

    1. Hi Eddie! I do indeed still run with RunMeter, Apple Watch and my iPhone. I have the 1st gen Apple Watch so it doesn’t have GPS but even if it did I would still run with the phone. I strongly suspect that RunMeter would need to have the phone anyway and the watch “leeches” off this (“phone powered, watch enhanced”). There were some issues with the Apple Watch RunMeter app initially but these have long since been ironed out and it really works beautifully now – never have issues with it. I am a huge fan of RunMeter but then I am preaching to the choir here as CycleMeter user you would know how awesome the app is. So long story short; I think you still would need your phone… But a good armband and you won’t even know it’s there! 🙂

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