Use the new Race Route Workouts on your Apple Watch to compete against yourself

How to use Race Route Workout feature on Apple Watch

Apple just released its new Race Route feature with WatchOS 9.2 for Apple Watch users. Designed especially for runners and cyclists, Race Route lets you compete against yourself on a route you’ve already completed and tracked as an outdoor run or cycle on Apple Watch. 

This short article explores some features associated with this new Race Route Workout.

Related reading:

Here’s how to get started with the feature on your Apple Watch

Where is the new Race Route feature on my Apple Watch?

  1. Start by opening the Workout app on your Apple Watch running watchOS 9.2+
  2. Scroll down to the Outdoor Run section and tap on the three dots icon at the top right cornerLocate Race Route Workouts on Apple Watch
  3. On this screen for Outdoor Run workouts, tap on the ‘Sort’ icon at the top right cornerSort Outdoor Run workouts on Apple Watch
  4. From the list of viewing, choose ‘Route’ as the optionSort Outdoor runs by Routes
  5. Now, all your Outdoor Run workouts are sorted by Routes you have run in the past. Use the Digital crown to scroll through your prior running routes.Where are old race routes Workouts on Apple Watch
  6. When you tap on one of these specific Race Routes from your running history, you find that your watch displays two important metrics related to the route:Understanding Race ROUTE WORKOUT mETRICS
    1. Personal Best – This represents your best performance on that running route
    2. Most Recent – This means your most recent performance on that route
  7. For the chosen route, the metrics show your completion time for that running route, your best pace per mile, and the date

The same sequence of steps would also apply to an outdoor cycling workout where you can see your prior race routes and see the details.

Why are my prior Race Routes showing no values?

Note: Please note that some of the Race routes show 0.0 Mi with the metric information missing.

Your most recent runs seem to be updated with the distance, personal best, and most recent metric information.Old Race Routes showing zero values on apple watch

We believe that once you update your watch to watchOS 9.2, the system takes some time to do the various GPS lookups for your previous run routes and updates the information slowly.Latest race routes populated with values

This should probably take a day or two, depending on your routes. 

We couldn’t find an easy way to sort these prior Race routes. Ideally, it would be nice to have a feature that sorts these routes by location, date, or both.

Review Details of a Prior Race Route

Once you have reviewed your race routes in the Outdoor Run Section in your workout app, start by tapping on the ‘Edit’ icon on the top right corner of the Race Route.Edit Race Route workout on Apple Watch

This shows you the map view of the running route. When you tap on the map, it highlights your route.

This is useful if you want to see the starting point and the roads you took on your run and your way back. A rectangular section under the route map shows your progress over that route over the entire distance. If you tap on the map, it exactly shows you your way using animation on the map.

Instead of using the edit button described above, tapping on the old race route shows you the associated metrics of your prior runs on that route.Understanding Race ROUTE WORKOUT mETRICS

Setting the Race Position Alert before your Race Route Workout

Race Route Workout Feature on watchOS 9.2

At the bottom section of the race route workout, you notice the two familiar sections. These are your a) Alerts and b) Workout Views.

Before using the Race route feature, tap on Alerts to compete against your last performance on the route and ensure that ‘Race Position’ is ON.Set Race Position ON for Race routes workouts

During Race Route workouts, you receive automatic alerts if your race position changes. This overrides your standard pace alert.

If you turn this OFF, you do not see the real-time prompts that show you if you are ahead or behind in your run compared to the original route metrics.Enabling Race On Alert on Apple Watch

On the Workout View of the Race Route workout, you find a new addition when you tap on ‘Edit Views’ for the workout.

The first section of the workout view shows your position when using the race route workout. Race Routes Workout Views on Apple Watch

This clearly shows if you are ahead or behind your past performance as you run or bike. It shows how much you are ‘ahead’ in time and how many miles you have left to cover the route.

The idea is that you are getting real-time feedback on your running performance via this new workout view specifically made for Race Route workouts.

Important Note: Please note that the Race Route Workout feature leverages your GPS extensively. Some of these metrics may not be visible if you run your Apple Watch in Low Power mode.

That’s about it!!

Tap on the Next Button at the bottom of the screen. This takes you to the next screen that shows your personal best and most recent stats for that route and prompts you to start your Race Route workout.

Tap on the ‘Start Workout’ button at the bottom of the screen to get going! Make sure you are at the same starting point as your prior run.

The Watch also reminds you to ‘Proceed to Route’ before you can get started. More on this later!

Using the Race Route Workout on your Apple Watch

Once you tap the Start Workout button, your watch shows Proceed to Route message.

You need to return to the original starting location at some point on that original route. Until and unless you are on that old running route, the watch continues to show Proceed to Route.

I wish I could get turn-by-turn via walking directions to that original route. You must tap on the prior route map and zoom in to see the route. Not that big of a deal.

Once you start running on the old route, the workout views related to Race Route start popping up on your watch.

The Race Route workout metrics view shows you the elapsed time of the run till that point, what time duration you are ahead or behind and how much distance is remaining.Race route alerts on Apple Watch

Since some of the old race routes have not been entirely calculated by WatchOS, it shows 0 ft remaining. Having said that, the algorithm knows precisely if you are ahead or behind at that point.Race Routes Ahead message on Apple Watch

Here’s another cool aspect of this workout feature that we liked. We wanted to see if the real-time GPS comparison algorithm worked as intended. We veered off-route and tried taking a shortcut parallel to the old route.

Immediately, your watch reminds you that you’re Off Route.Off Route message during Race Routes workouts on Apple Watch

This kind of felt cool and reassuring to know that the feature was tracking your run in real time and that the prompts of ahead or behind were accurate.

Until you are back on the old running route, it continues to display off-route and not show if you are ahead or behind your original workout.

Once you complete your race route workout or decide to end the activity at some point, the summary shows you your Race Time and Race Pace, along with the original metrics you were racing against.

Race Route Workout Feature Availability

The new Race Route workout feature that allows you to compete against yourself is available on Apple Watch Series 4 and later models with watchOS 9.2.

This is an excellent time for this new feature to be released, as you can start competing against yourself in the New Year! Time to dust off those running shoes and beat your 2022 running metrics.

Since this is a new feature, we are still testing it and intend to keep this post updated as we uncover further details. 

The new watchOS 9.2 also includes Track Detection, which automatically detects when you arrive at a running track and combines Apple Maps data with GPS to provide a more accurate route map and pace and distance metrics.

We are not sure when this feature will be available in specific regions. Keep an eye on feature availability by region.

We haven’t had much luck testing this feature on our local 400M running tracks. It would be interesting to see if the race routes related to that track automatically pop up on the Outdoor Running view.

Let us know if you have any questions or want to share a tip or two about this new feature using the comments below.

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Sudz Niel Kar
I am a technologist with years of experience with Apple and wearOS products, have a BS in Computer Science and an MBA specializing in emerging tech, and owned the popular site AppleToolBox. In my day job, I advise Fortune 500 companies with their digital transformation strategies and also consult with numerous digital health startups in an advisory capacity. I'm VERY interested in exploring the digital health and fitness-tech evolution and keeping a close eye on patents, FDA approvals, strategic partnerships, and developments happening in the wearables and digital health sector. When I'm not writing or presenting, I run with my Apple Watch Ultra or Samsung Galaxy Watch and closely monitor my HRV and other recovery metrics.


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