watchOS 9 is bringing a virtual pacer feature to the Apple Watch, letting users input distance and time to know the ideal pace required for their run.
Apple Watch users aiming to become seasoned runners might struggle with pacing in the beginning, but watchOS 9 will make the learning curve shorter with a virtual pacer feature. The Apple Watch has solidified its standing as a competent fitness smartwatch competing with the likes of Garmin and Fitbit, and Apple has doubled down on this market with recent software releases. It has added new hardware sensors to collect more fitness and health data, and added new software features to present the data to users. Running is a popular way to improve cardiovascular health, and Apple is trying to make features that cater directly to runners. With watchOS 9, the Apple Watch can pace the wearer’s runs so they don’t have to worry about the calculations themselves.
watchOS 9 is the upcoming software release for the Apple Watch that will bring a bunch of new upgrades to the Workout app. It was previewed in June at the company’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference, which highlights the latest software changes and improvements. At the heart of watchOS 9 is fitness, specifically catered to running. Apple introduced new metrics to improve a runner’s performance, like vertical oscillation and stride length. Through the Apple Watch’s sensors, the device can measure and recognize the wearer’s movements. These metrics, in context, can give runners the tools they need to adjust their form. In addition to the new metrics, Apple is also making the in-workout experience better with a virtual pacer.
The pacer experience in watchOS 9 is intertwined with a routes feature that makes it possible to create preset running routes before starting a run. They can be created by running a frequently-used route and assigning it a name, after making any necessary changes. After a route has been created, runners will have the option to race against their best or last result on the selected route. Since running is largely an individual sport, shattering a previous personal record can be a tangible sign that a runner is making progress. By knowing that they are ahead or behind their best performance on a selected route, an Apple Watch user has the best possible chance of beating their personal record when the time comes.
Apple Watch Is A Running Coach On Your Wrist
Aside from preset and prior routes, the Apple Watch can also help pace a runner based on a time and distance goal. Pacing is an important part of running successfully, especially for long-distance runs. To meet an activity goal while out on a run, it is ideal to hold a consistent and steady pace rather than speed up and slow down based on exhaustion. Seasoned runners are able to pace themselves, based on factors like speed, effort, and energy level, but this takes time. For beginners, the Workout app in watchOS 9 does all of that work. After inputting a desired time and distance result, the Apple Watch can automatically calculate the pace needed to meet that goal. The watch can alert users whether they are on target or lagging, and show them exactly how far they are ahead, in both miles and meters.
The feature, in essence, serves as a virtual trainer worn on the wrist. That’s because many people have target goals in mind for commonly-run distances, but are unsure of how fast they should run to achieve their goals. For example, an Apple Watch user might want to run a mile in under six minutes or a 5K in under 25 minutes. By inputting those targets into the Apple Watch, the wearer can discover exactly what pace — either per mile or per kilometer — is necessary to hit that mark. Since the average pace is a default metric shown on Workout Views, users can see how they are doing during a run. With the pacer experience in watchOS 9, even beginners can learn to pace accurately using just their Apple Watch.
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