Every existing fitness Trackers collect vast amounts of biometric data to help active people improve their athletic performance. These sensor-laden wearables can track not only how many steps you take, but also your heart rate, sleep quality, and even how much you eat.However, when planning a workout, I still I haven’t found any smartwatches or apps that offer as smart or comprehensive advice as a live human coach.
After all, people and their bodies are unpredictable. Even expensive, sport-focused platforms that mix hardware and software can only provide so much personalized instruction. Can a watch tell me if I have a stress fracture from stomping like Clydesdale? What if I only have half an hour to spare between meetings, but my program asks to run for 60 minutes? What if I skip strength training and go skateboarding – does it count?
When watchOS 9 rolls out to the public in July, it will mark the arrival of a slew of new, fitness-focused features for the Apple Watch. Many, like the ability to measure running strength, are aimed at elite athletes. However, even recreational runners should benefit greatly from studying their vertical oscillations, creating custom workouts based on their distance and intervals, or adjusting their speed to their route. These additions to the Apple Watch’s already robust fitness features could make the Apple Watch the best sports watch ever made. If only the rumoured battery life improvements could be realized.
Let’s start with three newest features: the ability to measure vertical swing, stride, and grounding while running. These three measurements are key components of improving the economy during physical activity. Obviously, this doesn’t apply universally, but if most people walked forward with each step instead of bouncing up and down, with shorter strides, and minimized contact with the ground, they would run farther and faster.
The watch’s ability to track these aspects of running mechanics isn’t unique — Garmin Running Pod Vertical oscillations have been measured for years — but if you own an Apple Watch, you’ll no longer need to buy a separate device and download a separate app to get this data. Apple says it uses machine intelligence to filter data from the watch’s accelerometer and gyroscope to infer how much your body is moving up and down, and when your feet touch and lift off the ground. (Of course, I’ll have to wait to test watchOS 9 to see if this is accurate.)
The ability to create custom workouts is also a huge improvement. Running Polar, Coros, and Garmin’s (and other manufacturers’) watch software can suggest productive workouts, but it’s often very prescriptive to follow them. These suggestions often don’t fit well with my real-life outdoor running habits, and they may not fit into my busy schedule. Apple’s feature lets you create your own custom running workouts using your own pace, distance, time, or heart rate zones. You can also see new alerts for zone and cadence training.
Like most runners, I run a variety of routes, often completing them at different speeds and on different surfaces. Now I can do long, slow runs on outdoor trails and make sure my heart rate stays low; I can consider slow warm-ups and relaxation jogs to and from the local high school track, I do interval runs at night, or in the rain Record my 30-minute rage sprint around the block. An update to the Apple Watch allows me to adjust my pace based on the routes I run most often.