Apple Watch just got a great free upgrade that runners and cyclists will love

A new feature in the beta version of WatchOS 9.2 will make fitness routes much easier to track

Apple Watch Series 8
(Image credit: Apple)

If you use an Apple Watch – like the Apple Watch Series 8, or the Apple Watch SE – chances are you're at least partially interested in fitness tracking. Sure, you could opt for one of the best fitness trackers or the best running watches, but they likely don't have the usability of the Apple Watch in other areas.

You're certainly not alone, either. The success of the Apple Watch is difficult to visualise – perhaps the best example comes from Forbes in 2019, when the Apple Watch outsold the entire Swiss watch industry combined. 

Recently, Apple Watch users got a great upgrade in the form of WatchOS 9. New features include Workout Zones, which enable you to hit different levels of intensity throughout your workout, for peak performance; updated Sleep Tracking, including detailed analysis of the different sleep stages; and a host of updates to the user interface.

One new feature that wasn't present at launch was Race Routes, but that has finally reared its head in this WatchOS 9.2 beta. It's great news for runners, cyclists, or anyone else who regularly exercises on the same routes.

What is Race Routes?

Race Routes allows you to track routes you exercise on regularly, and race against your best, or your last time on those routes. It's great for tracking your progress. 

What's more, the Apple Watch will do the hard work for you, working out the pace required to beat your best time and notifying you as you exercise. That means that you can spend more time focusing on your technique, without thinking about how fast you need to go.

Also, if you arrive at a track, the Apple Watch will detect this and use Apple Maps data, combined with GPS to provide more accurate route mapping, pace and distance metrics. 

It's another home run for Apple. When you're doing any kind of repeated exercise, the most useful metric is how it compares to your previous attempts. 

Whether you're training for a marathon, trying to beat your best time on a mountain bike track, or simply run the same route around the block every night and want to see how well you do it, this feature will make your life easier.

Sam Cross
Trainee Online Writer

Online news writer at T3.com, Sam has five years of experience in online and print journalism, with work featured in publications like Metro and Last Word on Sports. After years writing about music and football, Sam now turns his hand to bringing you news about new phones, smart home products, smart watches, laptops and TVs. Sam is a longtime fan and user of Apple products, including iPhones, MacBooks and Apple Watches.He’s also T3’s resident football expert, bringing you everything you need to know about the big games, including how to watch them. In his spare time, Sam is a keen guitarist, watch lover and (very) amateur golfer.