Is Apple Fitness the best running app for Apple Watch?

ByLance T. Lee

Mar 20, 2022

The stock Apple Fitness app makes the most of the features included in the Apple Watch, but third-party apps might be better for avid runners.

the apple watch is the world’s most popular smartwatch, and in addition to its versatility as a smartwatch and watch, it tracks fitness and health data to improve wellness and save lives. The stock AppleFitness The app is the default option for runners to monitor stats while training. However, Apple is a relatively new entrant in the fitness market, especially for professionals. For decades, hardware and software companies like Garmin, Nike, and Strava have refined running tracking features. While Apple tends to offer its offerings to all users, other companies offer more specialized options tailored to a specific function. That begs a complicated question: Is Apple Fitness good enough for running tracking, or is a standalone app a better choice?


The Apple Fitness app, which comes preinstalled on all Apple Watches, was initially known as the Activity app until 2020. Late that year, the company announced Fitness+, a subscription service designed for interactive seamless between Apple devices and workout videos. In the next version of WatchOS, the Activity app became the Fitness app and Apple brought more features to improve running training. For example, the “Time To Run” audio series is a collection of guided runs based on a significant location, such as London or Miami. They are guided by a Fitness+ instructor who has run on these same streets. After the guided run, athletes will be able to view photos taken by the instructor at the time of the run. It’s just a tiny part of the Apple Fitness app designed for runners.

Related: Apple Watch Series 8 has upgrades, but we’ll have to wait for new sensors

Apple Fitness is the only workout app on the Apple Watch that can use all the features of the company’s latest watches. It has all the features runners use every day – it can display splits in metric or imperial units, track distance, and estimate average paces. Moreover, using the various sensors included in the watch, users can easily view their heart rate and cadence. But where the Apple Fitness app stands out is in its use of always-on display. The always-on display was a staple for other workout trackers and made Fitbits and Garmin trackers a more convenient option for viewing data while running. However, when it was integrated into the Apple Watch Series 5, it came with a caveat: the application programming interface (API) that enabled the always-on display is limited. Apple’s internal applications. That means the Apple Fitness app is the only running tracker that can use the watch’s always-on display for quick and easy mid-run status checks.

Nike Run Club is the statistics champion for runners

Apple Watch alternative running app.

Nike’s integration with Apple products is a long-standing tradition, especially when it comes to running. The companies have worked together to create a line of Nike+iPod products to fit into custom shoes to track walks and runs. With the release of the Apple Watch, a Nike-branded watch was made available with limited-edition sports bands. Despite the working relationship between the two companies, Nike’s Run Club app isn’t immune to the always-on display restrictions. The Nike+ Run Club app is the only third-party app users can install during the Apple Watch setup process, but when they try to view critical information during a run, all that’s visible is a blurry image and a static digital screen. the clock.

If a runner can look past the always-on underuse, the Nike+ Run Club app is the stats champ for data-hungry runners. Once the run is complete, all data recorded through the Nike+ Run Club app is automatically imported into the Apple Fitness app. The Watch app’s user interface is vastly superior to that of the Stock Fitness app, both visually and functionally. Stats appear in the vibrant, iconic fonts and colors Nike is famous for, making them easy to read while moving quickly. While running, there are several fields to display data, and users can customize these fields before and during a workout by simply tapping on the available options. The app even has an option to record interval workouts, which is a notable feature missing from the stock app. Once a run is complete, users can intuitively scroll through a route map and view the individual pace and heart rate recorded at each data point.

Unfortunately, the two apps compete feature for feature in almost every way. Since Nike can’t integrate always-on display technology into its Nike+ Run Club app, the Apple Fitness app is the de facto choice for users who prioritize visibility when working out. The Nike app is the proven pick for serious runners in just about every other field, though. It’s free, easy to use, and makes racing really enjoyable thanks to the app’s character and design language. A dedicated software team is committed to making improvements and a community of thousands drives the app to show its stature in everyday sport. Corn AppleFitness might be the choice for the masses, the Nike+ Run Club app will keep runners coming back for more.

Next: Garmin’s 2022 smartwatch lineup is gorgeous

Source: Apple, Nike+ Run Club

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