Apple's latest Fitness Plus update turns your watch into a virtual running coach

Apple Time to Run on three Apple Watch screens
(Image credit: Apple)

Apple is launching a new feature for Apple Fitness Plus subscribers that turns your Apple Watch into a motivational running coach: Apple Time to Run.

A new Time to Run episode will be downloaded to your watch each week, starting Monday January 10, and the only other things you need are a pair of Bluetooth headphones and your running shoes. Each run is led by one of Apple's coaches, who has plotted a running route through one of the world's biggest cities, and takes you on a guided tour while giving you guidance on technique.

Although you can follow the coach's exact route if you happen to be in the same location, Time to Run is designed as a virtual experience that you can use anywhere. To help set the scene, pictures will pop up on your watch face along the way, highlighting points of interest the coach has photographed using their iPhone, and you can save the snaps to your photo library or share them afterwards.

Apple Time to Run on an Apple Watch with Airpods

A new Time to Run episode will be downloaded to your Apple Watch each week (Image credit: Apple)

To keep things varied, each coach has put together training advice themed around their city. For example, for his run around central London, coach Cory Wharton-Malcolm has devised a series of tips based around the acronym LONDONER. There's also a soundtrack of music inspired by the city

You can take the run at your own pace, outdoors or on a treadmill. If you use a wheelchair there's also a Outdoor Push Running Pace option.

Strolling with the stars

If you feel like taking things at a more gentle pace, Apple is releasing a new season of Time to Walk episodes, too. Time to Walk, which launched last year, encourages you to get out and take a stroll while listening to personal stories from celebrities, sportspeople, and other public figures.

As with Time to Run, you'll see photos on your watch face throughout the episode that help you feel more involved, and at the end you'll hear a playlist of three songs chosen by the narrator.

Apple hasn't yet revealed all the guests for series three, but the list includes actors Rebel Wilson and Chris Meloni, activists Bernice A King and Ayọ Tometi, and boxer Sugar Ray Leonard.

Apple Time to Walk on three Apple Watch screens

Rebel Wilson, Bernice A King, and Hasan Minhaj are among the narrators for series three of Apple Time to Walk (Image credit: Apple)

If you've set yourself a health goal for the new year, Apple has also introduced a new Fitness Plus feature called collections, which are curated workouts and meditations designed to help you achieve a particular target – whether that's running your first 5K, developing better bedtime habits, improving your posture, or boosting your core strength.

Apple Fitness Plus Collections on Apple TV, iPad, and iPhone

Apple Fitness Plus Collections are available on Apple TV, iPad, and iPhone (Image credit: Apple)

Finally, there are three new workouts in the Artist Spotlight series, each of which is based around the music of a particular artist. The latest batch of sessions revolve around the work of Ed Sheeran, Pharrell Williams, Shakira, and the Beatles, and new workouts for each artist will arrive every Monday for the next four weeks.

Cat Ellis

Cat is the editor of TechRadar's sister site Advnture. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better)