Over the years, I have helped my brother Nathan get the most out of his Apple Watch for triathlon. The built-in workout app is great for casual exercises but lacks a lot of metrics for triathletes.
This is where third-party apps can be really beneficial. In this article, I will share our 5 favorites.
APP FOR SWIMMING: SWIM.COM
The built-in swim mode (in the Workout App) is relatively good. It detects automatically which stroke triathletes are swimming and starts and stops automatically. The main drawback is the lack of workouts. For that purpose, I think Swim.com is a great addition. Triathletes get access to thousands of workouts that can be uploaded to their watch.
Another swim app to keep an eye on:
I have read about the Swim Smooth app (link to their website), which looks really promising. Unfortunately, I currently cannot test it (all pools are closed). In theory, you can view a heatmap of your stroke and see if your catch is at the right place!
APP FOR CYCLING: DEFAULT WORKOUT APP OR CYCLEMETER
I’m still torn with recommending an app for cycling. To be honest, I am not a huge fan of watches for biking (no matter the brand). I find bike computers simply better: they are safer to use, come with a bigger screen, and are placed ideally in front of the rider. The only time I use a watch for biking is during triathlon races.
If you don’t have access to a bike computer and simply want to record and view basic metrics (speed, distance, and heart rate), the default workout app works just fine.
For more advanced metrics and connecting to external sensors, the Cyclemeter app is a good place to start.
APP FOR RUNNING: iSMOOTHRUN
The standard workout app lacks some important metrics (like average pace per interval!), access to run workouts, and external sensor support. This app is simply fixing all of those gaps—definitely a nice addition to the watch.
APP FOR TRIATHLON RACES: TRIATHLON TRACKER
Unfortunately, the Apple Watch doesn’t have a triathlon mode by default. You could record your swim, then add a second activity (let’s say transition), and repeat this process until you reach the finish line. In the end, you will get a single activity with all the details, but it is extremely laborious, and believe me, it is not something you want to spend time on during a race.
The Triathlon Tracker app is currently the only one that allows triathletes to record a race without too much trouble. Here are the metrics available while racing:
- Total Time
- Heart rate
It is nowhere close to what you would get on a triathlon-specific watch, but it is good enough to go through a race.
I recommend you try it a couple of times before your first race! Jaden Feddock made an interesting Youtube video while testing it, have a look below:
APP FOR DATA TRANSFERS: HEALTHFIT
I cannot count how many times I helped my brother find a way to transfer his activities from the Apple Watch to other third-party apps (training platforms he tried, Ironman VC, tracking platform, and so on).
We tried many different apps, and the most complete we found is Healthfit. It synchronizes in the background and exports the activities to many different platforms.
Once you face a data transfer issue, remember this article and have a look at the Healthfit app 😉
As the Apps catalog is constantly changing, I will keep updating this article with the best apps I find. If you find one which would help fellow triathletes, send me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org