Apple Watch running metrics: How to use the new Workout features in watchOS 9
watchOS 9 has a lot of useful new features for runners.
From heart rate zones to stride length, ground contact time to vertical oscillation, and new features like ghost racing your personal best and making custom workouts, here's a look at the new running metrics in watchOS 9 for the Apple Watch.
watchOS 9 has the best running metrics for the Apple Watch to date, whether you're an experienced runner, just starting out, or want to make steady progress.
With watchOS 9, you can improve your form or be more purposeful with heart rate zones, get extra motivation with ghost racing, and stay on track with a new pacer and alerts.
Apple Watch running metrics: What’s new in watchOS 9
Note: It looks like you have to have an Apple Watch Series 6 or later to get all of the new measurements.
Here are the 9 most important new running features for the Apple Watch:
- Heart Rate Zones
- Stride Length
- Ground Contact Time
- Vertical Oscillation
- Average Power
- Race against best or last run
- Pacer with on-screen metrics and alerts
- Create custom run workouts with “work” and “recovery” segments
- Multisport workout type that automatically switches between running, biking, and swimming for triathletes
Here's how the new running metrics on the Apple Watch work:
Heart Rate Zones
When watchOS 9 is used to start a running workout, the first screen shows the time, current heart rate, rolling mile, average pace, and distance.
You can get to the new running metric screens by swiping from the bottom to the top or by using the Digital Crown. Heart Rate Zones is the second one.
Based on the Heart Rate Reserve method, Apple Watch automatically sets up your 5 heart rate zones. And the max and resting values are automatically updated every month on the first.
But you can enter heart rate zones manually by going to Settings > Workout > Heart Rate Zones on your Apple Watch or in the Apple Watch app on your iPhone > Workout > Heart Rate Zones.
You can swipe or scroll up and down to see three more screens: Split, Elevation, and Exercise Rings.
The iPhone Fitness app will show you a more detailed breakdown of how much time you spent in each heart rate zone after your run. Tap See More Details next to Heart Rate and then choose the workout from the Summary tab.
Stride Length, Ground Contact Time, Vertical Oscillation, and Average Power
The first time you run with your Apple Watch on watchOS 9, Stride Length, Ground Contact Time, Vertical Oscillation, and Average Power will be measured, but they may not show up on the main Workout app screen while you run.
After tapping the recorded run in the Summary tab of the iPhone Fitness app, tap Show More next to Workout Details.
You can also change the order of the metrics at the very bottom.
Apple Watch running metrics: Race against last or best run, Pacer, Custom Workouts
If you tap the three-dot icon in the top right corner of a run Workout in the Workout app on your Apple Watch, you'll get more options. Some of these ideas will be to race your last or best run.
You can also sort the different Run Workouts by Suggested, Goal Based, Custom, or Route.
And if you don't want to use the Workouts that are based on goals, routes, or pace, you can make one that is completely unique: