How to Configure an Apple Watch for an Outdoor Run

How to Configure an Apple Watch for an Outdoor Run

The Apple Watch is more than just a step counter. It is an excellent tool for running, but it requires some configuration beforehand.

How to Configure an Apple Watch for an Outdoor Run

Leave The Phone at Home?

I dislike running with my phone. The weight bothers me and I don’t like wearing a band to hold it. I prefer to carry as little as possible while running. Additionally, I don’t want the phone to ring while I’m listening to music. I can activate do-not-disturb, but I’d rather avoid the distraction. The only reason to bring my phone is for its GPS to track my run, but I’m not interested in that.

Preparing Your Devices

Headphones

If you can run without music, that’s great. I enjoy music, but the Apple Watch doesn’t have a headphone jack. Instead, pair Bluetooth headphones to your watch. Go to Settings on your Apple Watch (not your phone) and put your headphones in pairing mode. Usually, that means holding down the power button on the headphones until they flash. Tap on your headphones under Devices and you’re paired!

How to Configure an Apple Watch for an Outdoor Run

Heart Monitor

I like tracking my heart rate while running. The Apple Watch heart rate function is acceptable but not as accurate as a chest monitor. Any Bluetooth heart rate monitor can be paired with the Apple Watch. This data will replace the wrist monitor during the run.

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How to Configure an Apple Watch for an Outdoor Run

Music

Headphones without music are useless. The Apple Watch retrieves music from your iPhone. The simplest method is to create a playlist specifically for your Apple Watch. Next, access the Watch app on your iPhone. Under Music, select your Synced Playlist and choose the one you want for your Apple Watch.

How to Configure an Apple Watch for an Outdoor Run

The app will sync 1 GB of data by default, but you can select the number of songs instead. I prefer this method because it allows me to have more control over the timing rather than focusing on size. The watch limits you to either 250 songs or 2 GB of song data.

How to Configure an Apple Watch for an Outdoor Run

Check your space: Go to General->Usage

Apple Watch Calibration

The Apple Watch’s accelerometer needs to learn how you walk and run. Apple suggests giving it 20 minutes of data. Keep your iPhone with you for the calibration workout. After that, you won’t need your iPhone to do a run.

How to Configure an Apple Watch for an Outdoor Run

Need a recalibration? Here’s Apple’s guide.

Pick And Configure Your Running App

Every Apple Watch has the Workout app. To activate it, say “Siri, start an outdoor run.” The watch then opens the Workout app to Outdoor Run. If that doesn’t work, tap the digital crown and select Outdoor Run.

How to Configure an Apple Watch for an Outdoor Run

In the Workout app, you can set your goals: time, distance, calories, or no goal. I usually go for the time setting. You’ll get data on all three, but your run is over when you meet your goals. I also suggest using Force Touch to lock the watch. That option prevents you from accidentally changing your settings while running. The lock in the workout app locks just the workout settings, which is different from the Device locked setting on the watch. The lock in the workout app lets you use other apps like music while running.

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How to Configure an Apple Watch for an Outdoor Run

I typically leave my iPhone at home. The Workout app cannot use the GPS for precise running tracking. I did not notice any difference with or without the iPhone once it is calibrated.

Interested in listening while you run? Check out our guide to free audiobooks for your iPhone.

If you use apps like Runtastic, they will need access to your iPhone. Even if you do not track yourself through the GPS, Runtastic still requires the iPhone.

How to Configure an Apple Watch for an Outdoor Run

These Tips Help All Apple Watch Workouts

Although we’re focused on running here, these tips help any workout. If you’re using an elliptical or treadmill, you might want to avoid having your iPhone nearby. Syncing your music, headphones, and heart rate monitor could keep you focused.

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