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Apple WatchOS 9 adds new features for runners and triathletes

The Workout app's new metrics for runners include stride length, ground contact time and vertical oscillation

The Apple WatchOS 9 has rolled out enhanced usability for both runners and triathletes, with a variety of new ways to more accurately track training metrics. The updates aim to help users measure performance and more easily reach their fitness goals.

The Workout app is already one of Apple Watch’s most popular features and will now offer easier to read Workout Views so athletes can switch between training functions. In the Heart Rate Zone function, training zones can be automatically calculated from the wearer’s health data or manually entered, and are helpful for any athlete basing their training around HR data or wanting to keep track of the intensity of their run. For those challenging interval sessions, the Apple WatchOS 9 introduces Custom Workouts, which can be used to create a structured workout that includes work and rest intervals. New alerts, including pace, power, heart rate, and cadence can be added to help users stay on track while they are running.

Photo: Apple

In a handy new Multisport function useful for triathletes, the Workout app will automatically detect when the user switches between any sequence of swimming, biking, and running workouts using motion sensors to recognize movement patterns. Following a workout, Fitness+ displays these metrics in a summary to help users better assess their data and learn from patterns.

Runners hoping to improve their form and cadence are in luck with the addition of new metrics, including Stride Length, Ground Contact Time, and Vertical Oscillation, all available to be added on Workout Views.

Looking to hit a personal best training run? Users can choose to race against their best or last result on frequently used routes, and will receive alerts during the workout for being ahead or behind their pace. Runners also won’t have to worry about getting lost, as the watch will send alerts when going off-course.

A new pacer experience lets runners choose a distance and goal, and calculates the pace they need to maintain. During the workout they can follow the pace alerts and metrics provided.