While you’ve always been able to customize Apple Watch workouts, the company has finally added the ability to create custom interval workouts in watchOS 9. It’s a clutch for any athlete who fancies setting a PR when their next race or simply looking to change up their training. routine.
Previously, the only workaround for interval training on the Apple Watch was the Segments feature. At any time during an activity, you can double-tap the screen to take note of an important section of your workout. Although practical, it relied on users mentally keeping track of their own intervals. But in watchOS 9, you don’t have to worry about that. The new custom workouts will keep track of it all for you, automatically switching between intervals. You’ll also see your performance data broken down by intervals in your training summary.
Several types of workouts will now come with a series of preset interval workouts. For example, the HIIT activity already has a personalized 30-minute pyramid workout. But while the preset intervals are handy in a pinch, they may not reflect where you are in your current diet. No worries – here’s how to create and customize your own interval workouts in watchOS 9.
Create custom workouts
While programming your custom interval workouts is easy, you’ll need to do it from the watch. Unfortunately, there’s no way to do this on the iPhone right now. Another note: depending on the activity you are programming for, some of your options will vary. For example, you can set pace or cadence alerts for a work interval in an outdoor running workout, but not for a high-intensity interval training workout.
That being said, here’s how to create a custom workout:
- Open the Coaching application.
- Navigate to a specific activity (outdoor running, hiking, etc.) and tap the icon three dot button in the upper right corner.
- Scroll down and tap the Create a workout button.
- Press the Custom button. It should have a purple clipboard icon.
- Press the Warm up button. From here you can choose the type of warm-up (duration, distance, etc.). If you don’t want a warm-up, touch Skip.
- Press the + Add button to create an interval.
- Faucet Work Where Recovery, then select the type of interval you want. Your options will depend on the activity of your choice. For example, outdoor running workouts will let you choose between openness, distance, or time. HIIT workouts will allow you to choose between open or time.
- Enter the appropriate interval (five minutes, 0.25 miles, etc.).
- Repeat the last three steps for as many work or recovery intervals as needed.
- If you want to repeat intervals, press the + Add button and select Rehearsals. Choose the interval(s) you want to repeat, then press Next. Select the number of times you want to repeat a series, then press Do.
- When you are ready, press the Chill button. Choose the type of cooldown (aperture, duration, etc.). If you don’t want a cooldown, tap Skip.
- Enter a name for your interval workout in custom title field.
- When you are finished, press the Create a workout button.
Editing Custom Workouts
Any athlete will tell you that as you progress you may need to modify interval training even if the format itself does not change. Maybe you need to add extra reps or decide to add or remove a cooldown. Maybe you prefer to use one of Apple’s preset interval workouts. Whatever the reason, here’s how to edit an existing custom workout.
- Open the Coaching app and navigate to the activity type containing the custom workout you want to edit.
- Press the three dots icon in the upper right corner.
- Scroll through the list of workouts until you find the one you want to edit. Press the pencil icon in the upper right corner.
- Tap the section you want to edit. You can change the number of reps, change types of work or cool down intervals, change the title of a custom workout, rearrange intervals, and make changes to warm-ups and cool-downs. When you’re done editing, press twice.
Once you’ve created a custom interval workout, you can add alerts at specific intervals. For example, suppose you want your heart rate to be in Zone 2 or lower during a recovery interval. You can set an alert for your watch to notify you if your heart rate reaches zone 3. This way you will know how to relax. Alternatively, you can program the watch to alert you when you’re in Zone 2 so you know what intensity to maintain.
- Open the Coaching app and navigate to the custom workout you want to add an alert to.
- Press the pencil icon in the upper right corner.
- Touch either Warm upa specificity Work Where Recovery interval, or Chill.
- Scroll down and tap the Alert button.
- Select the type of alert you want to add. Your options will depend on the activity. For example, running workouts let you choose from no alert, pace, heart rate, cadence, and power. However, HIIT or functional strength workouts only allow you to select the heart rate.
- When you select an alert type, a number of options are displayed. For example, if you choose heart rate, you’ll see your five heart rate zones. For pace, you can choose between a target pace or a range of pace. Program what is most relevant for that interval. Note: Each alert you schedule will only apply to a specific interval.
- When you are done, press in the upper left corner.
Editing Training Views
watchOS 9 also added the ability to see multiple training views. This means you can customize the screens to group specific metrics together and cycle through them during an activity using the Digital Crown. And if you have an Apple Watch Ultra, you can now add an extra measurement to use that extra screen.
Training views are highly customizable. You can omit certain views or rearrange their appearance based on the activity or a custom workout. This means you can enable specific views for outdoor running workouts in general and another set of custom views for custom outdoor running training.
- Open the Coaching app and navigate to the custom workout you want to edit workout views for.
- Press the pencil icon in the upper right corner.
- Scroll down and tap the Training views button.
- You should see a mini-window of your currently enabled training views. You can view them by scrolling the digital crown. Press the Edit Views button.
- You will see a list of each training view. Views will vary depending on the activity. For example, a custom outdoor running workout will have an interval view, metrics, 2 metrics, heart rate zones, split, segment, elevation, power, and activity rings.
- To edit metrics in the Metrics and Metrics 2 views, tap the icon pencil icon in the upper right corner. Tap each metric to choose from the available types. Note: You cannot change some predefined views such as heart rate zones or activity rings.
- Under each training view, you will see a To understand to toggle. Tap to include or omit a view from a workout.
- If you want to rearrange the views, scroll all the way down. Press the Reorganize button. Drag the views into your preferred order. Faucet Do.
- When you are happy with everything, press three times in the upper left corner.
You can create as many custom interval workouts as you want. I recommend doing this when you sit down to plan your workout routine, long before it’s time to lace up your sneakers. Once you’re done, you can select custom interval training by tapping the three-dot button for a particular activity. It’s a lot of prep work, but it definitely pays off if you train frequently at intervals.
Photography by Victoria Song / The Verge