As an avid runner who previously owned the Apple Watch Series 2, I was never really a big fan of the product. Instead, I tracked all of my running matrices with the ever-reliant Garmin watches that I used. However, there is a drastic improvement from the Series 2 to the Series 5 and I am absolutely loving it. If I would have to describe the Apple Watch Series 5, I will say that it’s like my personal “motivation coach”.
5 Reasons Why I love the Series 5
1. Formidable GPS capability
The Apple Watch Series 5 has a comparatively similar tracking abilities with most sports watches on the market however, it does take some “kicking in” before it is able to provide accurate readings. After bringing out the watch for a week of (GPS) adaptation, the Series 5 was able to correctly display the route neatly with the Activity app while keeping track of my performance level.
What was unique and interesting with the Series 5 was the “Goal Pace Interval” function. Prior to an activity, it is super easy to set a pace alert from the Workout app and this is the most important function as a runner.
In this situation, the watch functioned as if it is a “walking coach” that prompt me, with a slight vibration on my wrist, to indicate if I am over or under my running pace. Surprisingly, the pacing function was rather accurate while I was pacing for the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon 2019. Setting the pace at 5:20mins/km has helped me to achieve the targeted goal of 3hrs45mins breezily. With its constant vibration (reminders), I was able to adjust my pacing scenario accordingly to best fit the marathon strategy in order to cross that sweet finishing line.
Overall, as a runner and a pacer, I am genuinely pleased with the watch’s capability. With its accurate and fast GPS system, I am able to trust the product to evaluate my performance level. One important thing to note is that while using the Series 5 for a long run, it’ll be ideal to give it a full charge the night before. Yes, the watch did last for my entire marathon with some extra juice to spare but it’s advisable to be cautious with the battery capacity.
2. An Invisible Coach
Sometimes we humans get lazy as the week goes by. No sane human would trade a night of Netflix to go for a run. Embarrassingly, I will rather nap my afternoon away. However, the Apple Watch Series 5 has a small function that prompt you that your friends has completed a workout and this undoubtedly made me feel more motivated to exercise. Ideally, the watch made me feel guilty for snacking on my sofa while my friends are out there completing a 10km jog L
Although it may seem annoying at first, the Activity Rings on the Series 5 somewhat inspire me to keep up with an active lifestyle. On a daily basis, users are prompted to close all three of their rings (Move, Exercise, and Stand) to promote a healthy living. Should one chooses to be a couch potato, the watch will prompt you to stand up and move around a little. Furthermore, the Activity Rings add a sense of competitive spirit among your friends in a positive manner to motivate each other to close all of the rings. Allowing users to track their friends’ activity progress, it inspires me to jump out of my snoozing alarm and compete with them. Upon activities completion, users will receive a nice virtual congratulatory message on their watches and this blessed me with a sense of personal achievement. At the end of the day, the Apple Watch Series 5 is a wonderful, handy coach; motivating me to commit on my training schedules.
Additionally, the Apple Watch Series 5 constantly has new challenges for users to complete in-order to achieve badges which they could show it off to their friends on their Activity Page. With monthly challenges and time-limited events, I was motivated to complete these tasks to obtain relevant badges for bragging rights.
3. ‘Smart Valuables’
Part of marathon trainings is Long-Distance Runs (LDRs) and during which, we runners hate to be carrying extra weights for the runs. It is a serious burden to be carrying your phone, wallet, cash and many more (unnecessary) items while running a 21km! Running a 21km is already hard enough! Why would any sane person be willing to do it while carrying so many stuffs in your pockets or hands. For LDRs, you would want to be as carefree as possible.
This is where the Apple Watch Series 5 comes in handy. With its’ Apple Pay functions, runners can now simply leave their wallet at home without worrying paying for their daily dose of Starbucks after a long run. Runners could easily register their credit card into the watch and boom, they could now pay for drinks after a run as naturally as usual. Given that Singapore is transiting towards Smart Nation, most stores are equipped with e-payment operations and it will be pleasant and secure to shop without even bringing out your wallet! I can be assure that my wallet will be safe at home without worrying that it might slip out of the pocket while running.
With the Cellular version of the Series 5, users could simply make a phone call after their run without even bringing their phone out! Notably, the Series 5 has amazing in-built speakers on the side of the watch allowing users to keep their conversation as clearly as the weather. During my LDRs, I am able to contact my mum; letting her aware that I have safely completed my run and am on my way back home. Being a typical mum, she is constantly worried about my safety when I am out for my LDRs and it is not my usual habit to carry my phone out. I love my carefree runs and this is not something that will put my mum’s heart at ease. With the Apple Watch, I am able to reassure her and can start prepping for my post-run meal 😛
4. Sounds Good, Feels Good, Run Good
Personally, music has always been a big part of my training regime and it is a MUST for me to have it. Now with Apple Music, I can easily hook up my Bluetooth earpiece with the Series 5 and play my playlist effortlessly. With a monthly subscription, I am able to virtually transfer my playlist from my phone to my wrist. Paired with the Apple Airpods Pro, I can practically pop the earbuds in and go off for my runs. The connection simplicity between the watch and the earbuds made it effortless for runners to go through all the needless connection procedures; saving precious time and blessing them with a seamless music experience during their runs.
5. Marvelous Treadmill Experience
On rainy days, runners like myself will find themselves stuck at home praying for better weather. Oftentimes in such situations, I will pack up my belongings and head to the nearest gym. With some gyms equipped with NFC and Bluetooth technologies, the Apple Watch Series 5 has the capability to tap in and connect with the treadmill; syncing it to the equipment and allowing users to take running statistics from the watch and reflect it onto the treadmill’s screen. Similarly to outdoor runs, these treadmill statistics will sync seamlessly to Apple Health. Furthermore, users are able to adjust the treadmill settings (pace & inclination) through their watch; allowing users to have a fulfilling treadmill experience.
Compared to my past experience with the Series 2, the Series 5 is indeed a huge upgrade that most runners will appreciate. With the plethora of functions and capabilities, I am seriously genuinely happy with the Apple Watch Series 5 and till date, it has been my coach for trainings for my upcoming marathons. I am still using it on a daily basic and am rather impressed with the battery life of the watch. Even with its all-new ‘Always-On’ display, the Series 5 was able to last a whole day even after clocking in a workout in the morning. Never had I been in a situation whereby I will have to rush back to the charger mid-day. This is indeed such a blessing.
Furthermore, the simplicity design of the Series 5 is greatly appreciated. I can continue wearing the watch to my class after my run and still look presentable. Regardless of the social situation, the Apple Watch Series 5 will turned heads for its’ fashion statement and a great conversation starter. You can impress others with the watch’s capabilities. It is indeed a watch one would wear it on and off the run.
Room for Improvement
Clearly, the watch is not as affordable for all but it is really a worthy investments for runners to consider! Compared to other sportwatches on the current market, the Apple Watch Series 5 is priced comparably and affordably. Interested parties could consider getting the non-cellular version to give their wallet a break while still enjoying the benefits the watch brings into their lifestyle.
Moving forward, the watch could be improve if it’s able to achieve the following factors in future generations.
1. Wider music application options
Currently, the Apple Watch allows runners to tune into Apple Music seamlessly to listen to their top hits but then again, not everyone uses the subscription based service and it is kind of troublesome to not have music on your runs.
Yes, the Apple Watch Series 5 does provide external Music Apps, such as Deezers and Spotify, but it does not allow these applications to have offline playback functions. Often times, I do find myself with another watch on my wrist or carrying around another device for the sole purpose of listening to music. Should in the near future Apple decides on providing greater inclusion for external music applications, it will be a big plus for the consumer market.
2. Sleep Tracking
A big part of training is sleep and it would be great if future editions of the Apple Watch have the ability to provide sleeping metrics to show runners if their body are getting the sufficient amount of rest they should be getting after a workout. Despite having an in-built heart rate monitor, it still does not notify users if there body is sufficiently recovering from their workout. Till date, the Apple Watch Series 5 will have to depend on third-party applications for sleep tracking purposes and such applications might not be integrated productively into Apple Activity app.
3. Treadmill Calibration
Although the Apple Watch Series 5 has the function to pair with compatible gym equipment such as the treadmill, we need to consider the fact that not all treadmills are suitable to pair with the watch. It will be a good improvement should the Series 5 allow users to manually calibrate their treadmill distance in order to reflect the true data. It is quite often to see my treadmill distance being undervalued and was hoping that this could change for the better.