Apple Watch 6 | Power Meter support | bike and run | iSmoothRun

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Apple Watch 6 Bike Power Run Stryd ismoothrun reviewApple Watch 6 – Bike Power Meter, Run Power Meter

The fancy Apple Watch 6 is pretty and all but it can’t show the data from ‘proper’ sports sensors, so ‘proper’ athletes just aren’t going to use it. Pretty and Proper just don’t go hand-in-hand. Now, where’s my Garmin?

Wait a minute…

Sadly, that’s what a lot of people think. Unfortunately, it’s simply not true. ‘Pretty‘ and ‘proper‘ really CAN go hand-in-hand. Here’s how.

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iSmoothRun on the Apple Watch 6

Obviously, if you want to get bike power you go to an app that has the word ‘run’ rather than ‘bike’ in it. Obviously, you come to a site that has ‘runner’ in the title rather than ‘cyclist’. Obviously, if you want a sunny day in Washington, well… let’s just say that some of us choose less than optimal names at birth!

iSmoothRun is one of the mothers of all uber-competent running & cycling apps. Maybe it’s not as pretty and polished as other iOS/WatchOS apps but it certainly maxes out on functionality and one of its less widely-available capabilities is the ability to pair to BLE (Bluetooth) power meters, which in 2020/2021 means ‘the one you’ve probably got‘.

A Brief Taste of What iSmoothRun Can Do

iSmoothRun can do a LOT and I’m not going to delve into all the depths of the iOS app (think Mariana Trench), instead let’s go through the Watch OS app a little more.

As far as the topic of this post goes, iSmoothRun claims to pair all BLE PMs but I only tried a Shimano Dura-Ace R9100P, a STRYD running pod, Favero Assioma Duo power meter pedals and Wahoo Kickr indoor trainer. You pair those first on the smartphone app and then you can leave the smartphone behind as you run/cycle and you can see a choice of power metrics as you run/cycle. Naturally, the power data is saved and my particular preferred export route was to send a TCX file to dropbox but you could have chosen Strava or Training Peaks (apparently even Garmin Connect too! hmmm). This is all accomplished with the free version of iSmoothRun and the Pro version will do cool things like display advanced gait metrics from Stryd.

It’s not just power meters that iSmoothRun pairs to – I also had it linked to my Garmin HRM-PRO and a Wahoo Speed sensor.

 

 

iSmoothRun on Apple Watch 6 – Some Screens

A lot of big-name Apple Watch sports apps are still somewhat miserly with what they allow you to display. iSmoothRun packs in quite a bit of info on the screens and you get some nice lap and intervals stats plus some simple weekly and monthly trends. Naturally, you have several sports profiles to configure and choose from and here are a few examples, you can even ‘bold’ the text if that helps readability for you.

 

Apple Watch 6 Bike Power Run Stryd ismoothrun review

 

Some capabilities

iSmoothRun claims to be powerful and from what I’ve seen reality DOES seem to match those claims. For example, iSmoothRun Pro already supports the downloading and execution of structured workouts/training plans from Training Peaks…even Polar and Suunto do not do that. Even if you have no need for downloading structured workouts the ability of the app to do that feature is a good indication that it covers lots of other more common features that you might need. For example, you get audio cues if you want them and you can ‘tab’ across to Apple Maps for directions.

You can track your shoes…or  your weight and you can race against previous efforts (Ghost Runs)

This Apple Watch app can use either a BLE chest strap or the mostly-accurate Apple oHRM. Naturally, you can also listen to music with Apple Music/Spotify and you can configure the buttons to take laps however you want. There are over 30 metrics to display including Vertical Oscillation, Contact Time, Pedal Power Balance, Leg Stiffness, Power 10 sec average and time ahead of target. Not bad!

 

Who will this appeal to?

I brought you here because of iSmoothRun’s support for a wide range of sports sensors. That narrows down the number of athletes who need such features. From that subset, the super-serious wannabe athletes are still going to use sports watches, partly because of the physical format of their current watch (Garmin, Polar) but also because of the ecosystem around the watch and the physical benefits of decent battery life and buttons. But if you lost your Garmin/Polar then I hope you would agree that a triathlete borrowing their partner’s Apple Watch and sticking iSmoothRun on for a few days would be an acceptable stop-gap solution until your upgrade (I mean ‘replacement’ 😉 ) sports watch arrived.

But let’s say you are a more casual athlete who likes the productivity, conveniences and prettiness of their Apple Watch. If you are that person and are casually training for an Olympic Triathlon or Sprint Duathlon then there really is no need to splash out a few hundred dollars/quid on a sports-specific watch. Even if you did splash out on a £500 power meter then using it with the Apple Watch that you are already familiar with is no big change.

Look I’m not trying to say ‘Garmin is dead, long live Apple‘, I’m just saying that the clearly defined edges to the 2018 Sports Watch market have well and truly gone. And they are going to keep blurring over the years ahead.

Training Today is Free
Sensor pairing is on the free version of iSmoothRun, the Pro version costs $4.99

This is NOT a paid-for advert, no freebies and I benefit in NO WAY from you downloading the app.

Check out this post with some physiology metrics from Training Today. You can get those on the Apple Watch too.

Apple Watch 6 | readiness-to-train with Training Today

 

Very Frequently Asked Questions – FAQ

Is Heart Rate on Apple Watch plus iSmoothRun More Accurate than Garmin?

If you use a chest strap, they’re identical! In my experience, Apple has the most accurate wrist-HR sensor, just beating Garmin.

Can I have a lap button on the Apple Watch?

Yes, with iSmoothRun you can configure the button or crown to take laps.

Can I complete an Ironman using an Apple Watch?

No. The battery would run out even for Chrissie Wellington.

Can I have intervals with the Apple Watch?

Yes, you can with iSmoothRun

Can I use ANT+ Sensors with the Apple Watch

Yes but only indirectly with a 4iiii Viiiiva or NPE Cable and 3rd party app. I wouldn’t especially recommend such a ‘data bridge’ but it should work. Most modern sensors now support BLE and ANT+. iSmoothRun supports BLE and connecting via Viiiiva and Cable.

What sports sensors does Apple Watch Support?

It’s really the app, iSmoothRun in this case, which supports them and iSmoothRun supports power, heart rate, speed and cadence sensors.

How do I use the Apple Watch if the screen turns on and off?

Apple Watch 6 has an always-on screen and you can lock that with iSmoothRun. Otherwise, it is a faff with earlier Apple Watch versions and their screen savers.

The Apple Watch has such poor GPS, how can I use it?

Are you sure about that? My extensive evidence, here, says otherwise. That said it’s on a par, maybe marginally better, than an average Garmin. Don’t forget iSmoothRun supports Stryd and that is SUPER accurate for pace and distance.

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triosoph

There was a beta-version that supported the downloading and execution of structured workouts/training plans from Training Peaks. But now it don‘t. Do you habe new informations? Thanks!

roe

I suppose you got a 44mm. Is the 44mm best for ismoothrun or are the data on screen identical also on the 40mm? Thanks

tfk, the5krunner

yep I ahve the 44mm
some of the descriptive text is very small.
my eyesight isn’t too great but the workout data numbers are fine and clear.
there’s a free version…just click that download button.

Petpie

I used to be a huge iSmoothRun supporter and promoter, but iOS 14 has exposed some issues (heart rate not consistently reported from the Apple Watch, stopped syncing with Apple Health, constantly asking for permissions) that aren’t being addressed. It’s just no longer reliable. Email support has gone silent.

I’m now in the market for an app that will work with the Apple Watch, and record from a cycle power meter and Stryd (at different times, obviously). I’m currently auditioning Tri2peak, but would welcome suggestions.

tfk, the5krunner

I’m going to be posting a series of mini-post over the next few months on just those topics.

tri2peak – interesting i will look at that. it wasn’t on my list (EDIT i looked at the watch app and wasn’t impressed, poor signup process, kept continually pausing, wouldn’t pair to anything. unusable)

a different developer told me there are issues writing to apple health that requires you to be present when it is done…ok the manifestation of that could be changed on ismoothrun but its caused by apple (apparently)