My running tech kit. Apple Watch. Nike SportWatch. Sansa MP3 player.
My running tech kit

I received my Apple Watch Sport today, just in time to take out on a run.

The first thing I realized as I was getting ready is that I now have to wear something on both wrists when I run: the Apple Watch for my heartbeat and the SportWatch for location/distance/Nike+ miles. It seems like something minor, but I found it distracting. The watch itself is comfortable but having weight on each wrist will take some getting used to.

I want to get to the point where I have one wrist device I can use all day, but I’m super invested in the Nike fitness ecosystem, having racked up 1,000+ road miles over the last few years that I don’t want to “lose” anytime soon. I also really like having a log of all of the places that I’ve run, particularly when I travel. I could take my phone with me, but I hate running with my phone. So until the Apple Watch gets GPS, I’ll have to live in a 2-watch world when I go running.

I’m also intrigued by the possibility of ditching my standalone MP3 player by pairing bluetooth headphones to the watch, but I refuse to give up the ability to easily change songs while running without taking my eyes off the road. And using Siri to manage music mid-run is a nonstarter. Unlike the jogger in this Siri commercial, I’m generally unable to speak during a run, instead reserving my breath for not passing out.

It’s interesting to see how the shared metrics compare across the 2 devices.

 Apple WatchNike SportWatchNike % Delta
Distance 2.78 mi2.85 mi2.5% 
Calories284 active 39038% 

I was surprised that the two watches recorded very similar distances, although the SportWatch benefits from having GPS and the shoe pod. On the other hand, there was a huge difference in the number of calories burned. I’m going to give the Apple Watch the benefit of the doubt on this one, given that it is also able to incorporate heart rate data, which I’ve read is pretty accurate.

So again, the main reason to hold on to the SportWatch at this point is to track where I run. As soon as the Watch gets GPS, I’ll be able to retire the SportWatch for good. It’s not hard to see that it’s going to be extremely difficult for dedicated fitness trackers to claim the coveted wrist real estate going forward. It boils down to whether you want to have a Swiss Army Knife on your wrist, or a computer. That’s not a hard choice.