watchOS 9 introduces a wide range of useful new features for running. From heart rate and stride length zones, ground contact time to vertical oscillation, and new features like ghost racing, your personal bests, and custom workout creation, here’s a hands-on look at the new Apple Watch performance in watchOS 9.
Whether you’re an avid runner, just starting out, or want to make conscious progress, watchOS 9 offers the most reliable Apple Watch running metrics to date.
Get more efficient with your form or be more intentional with heart rate zones, get extra motivation with the ghost racing feature, or stay on track with the new pacemaker and alerts, it’s all possible with watchOS 9.
Some of these features could also hint at the Apple Watch becoming a solid watch this fall.
Apple Watch Performance: What’s New in watchOS 9
watchOS 9 is currently available as a developer beta. The free public beta of watchOS 9 is scheduled to launch in July. Learn more about installing watchOS 9 in our complete guide.
Here are 9 new Apple Watch key metrics and features:
Heart rate zones Stride length Ground contact time Vertical oscillation Average power Compete with your best or last run Pace with on-screen metrics and alerts Create custom workouts with work, recovery and swim segments for triathletes
Here’s a look at the new Apple Watch performance metrics in action:
Heart rate zones
When you start a running workout in watchOS 9, the default first screen will show elapsed time, current heart rate, mile, average pace, and distance. Apple says you’ll be able to customize what metrics show
You can swipe up from the bottom or use the Digital Crown to navigate to the new running metrics screens. The second is heart rate zones.
Apple Watch automatically creates 5 heart rate zones based on the heart rate reserve method. And the maximum and residual values are updated automatically on the first day of each month.
But you can enter heart rate zones manually by going to Settings > Workout > Heart Rate Zones on your Apple Watch or on your iPhone in the Apple Watch app > Workout > Heart Rate Zones.
There are three more screens that you can scroll/scroll vertically: Split, Height, and Exercise Rings.
After your run, you can see a more detailed breakdown of the estimated time you spent in each heart rate zone in the iPhone Fitness app. Select a workout from the Summary tab and click Details next to Heart Rate.
Stride length, ground contact time, vertical oscillation and average power
Your first run with your Apple Watch on watchOS 9 will measure stride length, ground contact time, vertical oscillation, and average power, but may not appear on the Workout app home screen while you’re running.
When you tap a recorded run in the Summary tab of the iPhone Fitness app, tap Show More next to Workout Details.
At the very bottom, you can also change the order of the indicators.
Apple Watch running metrics: Latest or best race, pace, individual workouts.
In the Workout app on your Apple Watch, tapping the three-dot icon in the upper right corner of a running workout gives you more options. These will include suggestions such as your last or best run.
You can also sort the different types of running workouts by suggested, targeted, custom, or route.
And if you don’t want to use the available workouts based on goals, routes, or pace, you can create a completely custom workout:
What do you like most about all the new Apple Watch performance in watchOS 9? Share your thoughts in the comments!
To see these metrics and other Apple Watch health and fitness improvements for swimming, sleeping, and more with watchOS 9, visit our sister site, Connect The Watts: