Apple Watch: Not for Cold Weather Running

This past weekend I set a personal record running my fourth half marathon! I crossed the finish line at 2:15:38 (2:13:20 on my Garmin). I ran the half marathon 10 minutes faster than my previous PR!

Mistletoe Half Marathon

I felt pretty good the whole race, which is very unusual for me on a long run. I kept up with the 2:10 pace group for the first 6 miles. When I realized I had a chance at coming in at 2:15 in the last couple miles of the race, I decided to push myself. I ran the last mile at a 9:27 pace! I still can’t believe it. I never thought I would run a PR at the Mistletoe Half Marathon because it is such a hilly course. I am so glad I gave it my all!


You might notice that my Garmin watch reappeared on my arm for the half marathon. Why not my Apple Watch?

The Apple Watch fails to function when running in the cold.

Overall, I really like my Apple Watch. I like the activity app. I like getting text notifications on my wrist. I like using it to record my Pure Barre workouts.

Apple Watch

Up until recently, I even liked it for running. I love the heart rate functionality of the Apple Watch. Being able to look down and see my heart rate without having to wear a chest strap is awesome.

However, there are a couple of features that annoy me about using the Apple Watch for running. I don’t like using force touch to pause a run if I get stuck at an intersection. It doesn’t always respond. Pressing a button on my Garmin is a lot easier and more reliable. I also don’t like that the workout app does not have a walk:run function as the Garmin does. Since I use the walk:run method, that was a nice feature on my Garmin. In addition, if you are on a long run, the Apple Watch battery drains FAST. I don’t think you could use it training for a a full marathon as mine barely made it through 12 miles on a full charge.

Despite those shortcomings, I switched from my Garmin to my Apple Watch for running and have continued using my Apple Watch on runs up until a couple of weeks ago. The first run when I had to wear long sleeves the Apple Watch stopped functioning. Unless it has contact with your skin, it does not work properly. First, it constantly locks itself. Punching in your passcode to unlock your watch while running is a huge hassle. Beyond that, it will auto-pause almost immediately, and continue to do so for the remainder of your run. Since you don’t know it is doing that, you can run three miles before looking down at your watch to see it paused at 0.2 miles. How annoying! I expected that the watch wouldn’t be able to record my heart rate if I wore it over long sleeves, but I did not expect it to cease functioning.

There is a way to get a around the problems: wear it under your shirt or jacket. However, if you do that, it defeats the purpose of using a running watch. You can’t look down to see your pace, mileage, or heart rate. You can’t pause when you reach an intersection. The only function it keeps is the ability to record your run.

In my opinion, this fatal flaw in the Apple Watch makes it much more on par with a Fitbit or similar device. I had high hopes that the Apple Watch could replace my fitness monitor AND my Garmin watch, but for now it appears it cannot. Hopefully Apple will eventually fix this issue with the Apple Watch.

Until then, I do not recommend the Apple Watch for running (unless you live in a very warm climate where you never have to wear sleeves!). If any runners out there added the Apple Watch to their Christmas list, keep this in mind!

This entry was posted in Fitness, Half-Marathon Training, North Carolina and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Apple Watch: Not for Cold Weather Running

  1. Kath says:

    Is this the new apple watch? I am also having problems running in high 20 degree weather and keep under jacket. Will stop and not register my entire run

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