After running with the Apple Watch for the first time this month, I wrote that I wouldn’t stop using an MP3 player because “I refuse to give up the ability to easily change songs while running.” Since then, I’ve given up the ability to easily change songs while running and have started using the watch paired with bluetooth headphones for music.

My new running kit
My new running kit

My new running kit includes the Apple Watch, my phone, an armband, and a cheap pair of bluetooth headphones, which have been surprisingly competent.

I was able to drop the Nike SportWatch thanks to their running app. I’m still able to log my miles and routes on Nike+, but I have one less thing that I need to charge regularly. I ran with both watches a few times before making the change, and the distances logged were pretty similar across the two, even when I ran without the phone. The calories were wildly off, with the Apple Watch always coming in below the SportWatch’s count, but as I mentioned before, I trust the AW estimate more given the additional heart rate data.

 Apple WatchSportWatch% deltaAWSW%deltaNotes
5/122.78m2.85m2.5%28439038%Without iPhone
5/153.19m3.08m-3.4%32442230%Without iPhone
5/164.61m4.59m-0.4%43962843%With iPhone

When I go to the gym, I simply lose the phone and play music straight off of the watch; it’s a surprisingly good experience, as long as you don’t have to change the playlist too often. I no longer need to accommodate a wire running from my head down to my pocket. It doesn’t seem like a big inconvenience, but I’ve had my headphones catch on things and rip out of my ears more times than I’d care to admit. For now, I’m mainly using the headphones when I exercise due to their battery life, but I’m looking forward to the day when I can use wireless headphones throughout the entire day.

There’s a lot to love about the combination of an iPhone, Apple Watch, and wireless headphones, but it does have its drawbacks. You have to use iTunes to create playlists on your phone that you can then sync to the watch, a process that is really, really slow. It’s been a long time since I used iTunes, but it didn’t take very long to remember how much I don’t like using it. I’m guessing that I won’t be updating the music on the watch very often.

It’s also really hard to do anything on the watch when you are running without completely breaking your pace. Normally not something I have to worry about, except when there’s a problem or I decide to change the music. My run this morning was particularly bad. My headphones kept going “out of range” and then stopping the music. I had to fumble with the watch multiple times to restart the music while trying to glance at the trail in front of me to make sure I didn’t run into anyone. It eventually started working fine, but I’m hoping I won’t have to deal with this on a regular basis. I’ve also run into the “out of range” problem at the gym, where it’s not nearly as difficult to address. At this point, it seems likely that the problems are primarily due to my cheap headphones, but I won’t know for sure until I’m able to get a better pair.