Runners, these Apple Watch Features are Worth Knowing

This post is in collaboration with Very.co.uk, the Apple Watch Series 7 was kindly gifted for review.

I have to say, I’ve been really impressed by the safety features being advertised on the new Apple watch Series 7. The TV adverts are powerful, particularly as someone who runs and walks solo a lot and with the awful news They’ve been branded as ‘dark’ but personally, they hit home. 

I know I’m not alone in thinking more about my safety as I walk and run alone, especially in the dark mornings and evenings. Yes, I wear high vis (love my GetVizy) a head torch and stick to well lit, trafficked routes where possible, but it’s still a worry. 

It doesn’t appear that there are too many changes to the usage of the Apple 7 Series, however the watch screen is 20% bigger and brighter, making it easier for wearers to use the interface – especially on the run! 

Call your contacts without needing your phone 

Cellular phones allow you to utilise your data plan on your watch directly, meaning you can make and receive calls directly from your phone, without relying on your phone data/wifi. Ideal if you’re swimming, paddleboard, trail running or just hoping to spend some time without your phone. If you don’t have a cellular version then you will need your phone nearby to utilise these functions!

Calling the Emergency Services from the watch 

You can use your watch without your phone to call 999 by holding the side button until the Emergency SOS slider appears on screen, then drag across the slider to make the call.

Fall Detection 

I’m thinking of buying an Apple Watch for my Grandfather mostly for this feature as he won’t want to wear a fall pendant. According to Apple, if the watch detects a hard fall it taps you on the wrist, sounds an alarm and displays an alert – it will let you respond to the alert if it detects you are moving and will call emergency services if you are immobile for more than 1 minute. After that call it automatically alerts your emergency contacts. The WatchOS 8 update upgraded fall detection when cycling.

FItness Settings 

The upgraded WatchOS8 can detect your effort on an E-bike, automatically start a cycling workout and now has functions for Pilates and Tai Chi. It still uses the Nike + Running App to monitor and record your runs which has the additional benefit of audio workouts to follow as you clock up the kilometres. 

Heart Health 

Although not an upgrade, users can still take an ECG, monitor heart rate and detect abnormal heart rhythm. You can also track your sleep and respiratory rate. They are also pushing the new Blood Oxygen readings which can be a good indicator if you’re getting sick – or if you’re coping well at altitude (although I’m not sure how often you’d actually look at this data set at sea level). 

Nike Zoom Pegasus

Mindfulness 

Apple have upgraded from the Breathe app to a mindfulness app that alongside an Apple Fitness+ subscription will allow you to listen to guided meditations. The free version reminds you to take some time each day to ‘focus, centre and connect as you breathe’. Surprisingly I really liked this feature of my old Apple watch! 

Pair Apple Watch with Peloton 

Apple Gymkit allows you to pair your watch with Peloton Bike+ which will then more accurately track heart and activities. Sadly you can’t connect the old bikes or treads…yet. 

Get Audio Updates on the Run 

Not a new feature but certainly one that sets Nike Run on Apple Watch (or the app) apart from many other running watches is that you can get audio updates on pace and distance – super helpful if you’re trying to avoid looking at your watch to ensure you keep things easy, or you’re wrapped up against the elements. 

I’ve reviewed the Apple Watch many years ago and ultimately, despite the new upgrades, my opinion remains the same; the Apple Watch is a great smart watch for those into fitness, but if running is your primary sport, I don’t think it’s the best for run tracking. Don’t get me wrong, Apple watches are getting better and better, they are arguably the best smart watch on the market – especially for those already using other Apple products. 

The Series 7 Watch GPS is the best of previous iterations of the watch, however still no comparison to Garmin accuracy. And unfortunately they have not extended the battery life of the watch, meaning it might not get you through the end of a marathon if your time is over 4 hours (they say it should last 6 hours but I’ve had reports of watches dying at mile 23). The new watch does have a faster charging time but total charge still only lasts 18 hours requiring daily charging. 

How does the Nike+ running watch actually work as a running watch? 

I want to put it through its paces on swim workouts and at tracking my gym workouts (which I typically don’t track) – do you use an Apple Watch for your running or other workouts? 

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Photos by Phil Hill