Apple Watch + STRYD :: First Run and APPLE WATCH Accuracy

I find that the STRYD app and general STRYD experience on the Apple Watch is very good. Much better than I had expected from both the watch and from a new app.

This post is entitled ‘First Run’. That’s not strictly true as keen-eyed and regular readers would have inferred from Friday’s post. This is, however, the first ‘proper’ run. I have had lots of jogs round the block to test things out, none of which met the criteria for a ‘proper run’. In case you were wondering, and if you needed to ask, the definition of a ‘proper run’ is obviosuly ‘at least 5k‘…but I’m biased 😉

Anyway, today was probably about 16 or 17 miles in total with part of that taking in my 10/11 mile standard GPS route. Hopefully that meets EVERYBODY’s criteria for a proper run 😉 More on that later.

 

Apple Watch + STRYD – Preview

apple watch strydThe STRYD app is being activley developed and so I knew to update it before heading off. There was a new version v3.3 which included, amongst other things, the ability to display and record HR.

I thought I’d already enabled this on the iphone (to auto sync to the watch) “Settings -> Privacy -> Health -> Stryd“. But I hadn’t. So the HR neither displayed not recorded despite the little green lights being on at the start of the run.

I did have ‘GPS Path’ enabled within the WatchOS STRYD app. But I was not sure that it was recording GPS as I embarked on my 2 hours of windy running fun. Apparently there is a warning that appears if the right settings are not enabled. I didn’t get that warning so I hoped i was ok. It was. All was good in STRYD-land.

OK let’s go for a run. Of course you leave the iPhone at home. There is sometimes a bizarre GPS hand off (not with the STRYD app) when pace figures go awry. I suppose the watch is trying to figure out if it should get GPS itself or from the phone.

But if you think about it, the pace on the Watch is coming from STRYD so you really don’t know if GPS is being saved.

I was also trying out the POWER ALERTS. I’ve done this run lots of times so I know that 235w is an achievable aerobic pace for a couple of hours. The alerts manifest themselves +/- 15w either side of whatever target you set. Maybe that variation is a tad on the high side for a relatively flat run but it will do for testing purposes.

The Apple Watch’s beep is very pleasing to the ear. It’s just about audible-enough to me at maximum volume. That level of beep is fine for an autolap (yes the app has those too) but for an off-pace alert it needs to be a bit louder and a bit more shrill. I had an old Garmin 235 on the other wrist and that has quite an unpeasant beep in comparison – however for such an alert the Garmin beep is probably more appropriate to prompt me to take physical action to avoid the alert happening again. I suspect this is out of STRYD’s control

STRYD Review Apple WatchIn a momentary lapse of stupidity I marvelled at how the backup Garmin’s autolap and the STRYD app’s autolap seemed to go off almost simultaneously. However once I stopped thinking about last night’s out-of-character 3 beers I realised that both autolaps were probably coming from the same source…doh. Although even saying that, I realise they might not be. I will have to clarify.

Getting the app to stop when I’d finished was a bit of a faff. The Apple’s touchscreen IS generally quite good (Garmin take not, yours are NOT good). However it usually takes me longer to stop the STRYD app than the actual run itself. (I jest). The other night I was swimming with the Apple Watch using its inbuilt swim profile and I REALLY could not turn it off in the cubicle at the end of the session, I literally called the emergency services number 3 times trying to stop the Apple app. Luckily I did not have the phone with me. So I think the ‘unable to turn off’  blame here lies with Apple…it’s not the end of the world.

The workout files syncs to STRYD’s online POWERCENTER via your phone but only if the STRYD app is open on your phone. That was all there by the time I got around to checking.

In the two hours the battery level went down from about 82% to 58%. So that’s 12% per hour with OPTICAL HR OFF (see earlier mistake). Factor in your normal battery usage and the inaccuracy of what 10% of battery means at different charge states then you might get 7 hours running out of it I guess. That’s a long run though?

But we hopefully have a guest writer next week, Mr Ian Blackburn, who has grandiose plans to use his Apple Watch in an Ironman. Even with GPS off, STRYD on and wearing a BLE chest strap I reckon that even the generally awesome IronPerson @LucyAnneCharles would struggle with the battery on an Ironman event. Anyway, come back next week to hear what Mr Blackburn has to say on all things Apple.

HINT: RUNGAP and iSMOOTHRUN are other Apple-based apps to consider to help you get data out of the Apple environment.

Although the Apple Watch will likely never become Best running watch, it certainly is making strides to becoming an emminently usable running watch.

Finally: I mentioned earlier that the Apple Watch did the GPS test of doom. It actually did alright, scoring 75%. I think a few re-tests and it would go a tad higher than that. It was generally much better than I thought it would be but a few little moments of GPS-indecision let it down. I was running in the tail-end of ‘Storm Brian’ maybe that had an atmospheric effect on the GPS? That 75% performance is significantly better than the poor effort of the Fenix 5X at 69% but not as good as the creditable Garmin 935 at 79%. The better Suuntos and Polars score in the low 80s. GPS Methodology and test result with raw data here – link to the5krunner.com – where you can analyse to your hearts’ content and tell me I’m wrong 😉

Nobbly roller beckons. Bye for now.

7 thoughts on “Apple Watch + STRYD :: First Run and APPLE WATCH Accuracy

  1. It’s interesting. I used to own previous gen Apple Watch (the one without LTE but with build in GPS) and on the same course which is approx 6 miles long it would show me results between 5.8 to 6.3 miles (over 20 runs). The same course with 5X that you love to hate – 5.95 – 6.01 (even more than 20 runs). Repeatability of the results is kinda crucial I think and my experience was terrible with apple watch.

    • you’ve made me think..

      reality is that I will not repeat the specific test more than 3 times, I’m just me and this is a hobby, I have a day job that pays the rent. I have stated my methodology.
      i’m not overly concerned with the overall distance myself but I know others are. a device could be out by 200m on the way out and 200m out the other way on the way back…result: perfectly accurate total distance. I only report the total distance, I don’t do anything with it in making my assessment apart form maybe occasionally comments on an outlier.
      repeatability: how can you measure that when environmental conditions vary from one day to the next and when satellite position vary as well (that makes a difference too)
      thinking about it (thank you again!): this test is a measure of ‘potential best’ accuracy.
      despite what others say it even matters what wrist it is on when near buildings. so with an ohr device you can only test one device at once, even doing it as IMproperly as me.

      ****so I combine my overall view with how devices perform on other adhoc training runs****

      fellrnr does what he does. he looks at repeatability (I like what he does). all the informed readers hopefully take lots of different views/methodologies into account and make their own mind up

      with my non-5krunner hat on, i’m quite Anti-Apple in very many ways however I can only write what I find on this blog. good or bad. it was what it was. I’d hoped it would be lower then I would be able to moan about it 😉

      5X – it is what it is. Many people seem blind to its faults. there at esome people who are thankful for my comments…even tho they likely cost me money in commissions. i’d rather earn an honest buck 😉
      I have heard things that Garmin say about the fenix 5 internally…which I can’t repeat 😉 i’m pretty sure i’m right 😉
      i’d imagine many other commentators with closer Garmin connections than me would know the exact same info.

      • Im not saying 5X is the most accurate (or accurate for that matter), I’m just saying it gives me almost identical results every time on the same course. It wasn’t the case with Apple Watch. 5X might be inaccurate (I don’t know that but have no reason not to trust you) but at least it’s super consistent which is good I guess.

        When it’s consistent at least what it does good is measuring your progress right. You might not be doing let’s say exact 7:30 a mile but if you started with 8:00 per mile months back, at least you know that you re 30sec per mile faster. Hope that makes sense.

        (didn’t reply directly to you previously, sorry for double post)

        • all watches do not give accurate gps-based instant pace.
          hence my unhealthy fascination with stryd.

          I suppose you suggest I need to re-do the apple 😉 (I will but I have lots of devices to play with right now that are more interesting…although not as pretty)

          I see the comments in a big long list not by post…usually helps!!! not always

          • I was referring to avg pace from the whole run or avg lap pace. With apple watch (at least my testing) if i did the same course with the same speed, it would give me different avg pace every time. With garmin at least I get consistency which translates directly to some good insights to my progress.

  2. Im not saying 5X is the most accurate (or accurate for that matter), I’m just saying it gives me almost identical results every time on the same course. It wasn’t the case with Apple Watch. 5X might be inaccurate (I don’t know that but have no reason not to trust you) but at least it’s super consistent which is good I guess.

    When it’s consistent at least what it does good is measuring your progress right. You might not be doing let’s say exact 7:30 a mile but if you started with 8:00 per mile months back, at least you know that you re 30sec per mile faster. Hope that makes sense.

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