How to “Lap” on Your Apple Watch When You Run or Cycle

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Running and multi-sport watches normally have a “lap” button for splitting your workouts into segments, whether that’s laps of a track, 20-minute intervals on a bike, or the rounds of a bodyweight circuit. Here’s how to use the same feature on an Apple Watch—and why you should.

How to Mark a “Lap” in the Workout App

While you’re tracking a workout with the Workout app on your Apple Watch, double-tap the screen to mark a segment. A summary will pop up, and you can keep getting your sweat on, marking off segments and laps as you need.

Note: Things are a little different with swimming workouts as the screen is automatically locked. In Pool Swim workouts, your watch tracks the number of lengths you do (based on the pool length you enter at the start); it will also automatically split your workout into sets based on every time you stop at the edge of the pool for more than ten seconds. There’s no way to add segments to an Open Water Swim workout.

How to See Your Laps (and Other Segments)

To see your segment splits, once you’re done open the “Fitness” app on your iPhone and select your workout. Tap “Segments,” and you’ll see a numbered list and all the accompanying stats.

Why Segments Matter

Average workout stats—like running pace and cycling speed—and individual mile splits aren’t much use unless you’re just doing a slow steady-state workout (or, I suppose, mile-increment repeats). For example, if you do a mile warm-up, run hard for a mile and a half, then a half-mile cooldown, the bit that matters most is between mile 2 and mile 3.5, but neither the average run speed nor mile splits in the Fitness app will tell you how fast you did it.

However, if you use the lap feature on your watch, you can run your half-mile warm, double-tap to hit lap, run hard for a mile and a half, double-tap to hit lap again, then do your cool down. Then, when you look at the workout in the Fitness app on your iPhone, it’ll be split into three segments: your warm-up, your workout, and your cooldown.

And it’s not just running and cycling you can track. If you’re doing some High-Intensity Interval Training or CrossFit style circuits, you can mark off each round.