Like many runners, I used the Strava iPhone app to track my runs. But, I was tired of having to carry my iPhone with me; I had it in an arm band and it was difficult to remove, making checking my pace almost impossible without stopping. So, when the iPhone Series 3 came out with built-in GPS, I thought the time was right to finally get one and ditch the phone on my runs!

I went online and found some conflicting information about whether the Apple Watch really worked with Strava though. Yes, there was a Strava App for Apple Watch, but some commenters said it didn’t work. I was hesitant to buy one without knowing for sure.

The Verdict: Yes, it Does Work!

Well, I took a chance and purchased the Apple Watch (with no LTE) and tried it myself. My verdict is “YES, the Apple Watch Series 3 does work with Strava”!  It has a bare minimum number of features, but it does do the fundamental task of tracking your run, pace, and route, and syncing that to your iPhone afterwards without having to carry your phone with you.

The Good

To start a run with your watch, open the Strava app and select what type of workout you want to do.  The choices as of now are:

  • Outdoor Run
  • Outdoor Ride
  • Outdoor Walk
  • Indoor Run
  • Hike
  • Nordic Ski
  • Indoor Ride
  • Workout

Simply tap the icon and it starts tracking you!  Quick and easy.

At any time during your run you can look at your watch to get your current pace. At mile intervals, it will verbally announce the pace of your last mile, as well as your overall time.  So far so good!

At the end of your run, you have a choice to save or delete your workout.  If your phone is nearby, it will sync your workout to your phone when you save it, just as if you had carried it with you!  That is what I wanted!!!

The Not-So Good

Probably the biggest complaint I have about the Apple Watch / Strava is that often the paces it announces during my workouts do NOT match what my Strava app shows on my iPhone after I upload the workout.  We’re talking pretty big differences, like the watch saying I’m doing a ten-minute pace during my first mile, while the iPhone app says I did a 9:40 pace my first mile after I upload!  My iPhone consistently gives faster pace times than my watch does during my workout. This is disturbing and baffling.

The Apple Watch Strava app does not show any kind of map of your route while you run. Afterwards, it does show a summary, but once you save it, I haven’t found a way to get your splits.

Strava on the Apple Watch

The Strava App on the Apple Watch has a very minimal feature set. It doesn’t even show your pace for your previous runs.

Also, if you save your run while not in range of your iPhone, you’ll have to sync it manually later. So, it’s best to NOT save your workout until your iPhone is nearby.

But, It Does the Job

While the inaccurate splits are very disturbing, It’s really great to be able to run without having to strap my iPhone onto my arm (where it would always slide down). Being able to see my pace has been a game-changer form me and has made me improve my pace from about 10 min/mile to the low 9’s. Overall, I’m really glad I got it.

Do I Use it For Anything Else?

I got my Apple Watch to track my running. Do I use it for anything else?

It is handy for seeing text messages discreetly without having to whip out my phone. Also, it’s helped me catch phone calls in noisy environments where I didn’t hear my phone ring or feel it vibrate.

It’s also really comfortable to wear. The seamless curved bottom makes it more comfortable to have on than any other watch I’ve owned.

What do you think of the Apple Watch with Strava?  Please leave any questions below. – Brian



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