I tried the new Apple Fitness Plus Time to Run feature — and I was really surprised

A photo of the London run on the Apple Fitness Plus Time to Run series
(Image credit: Future)

I tried Apple Fitness Plus’ new Time to Run feature on a morning when I really didn’t want to run. To set the scene, it’s grey and chilly outside and it’s a Monday — none of which filled me with motivation.

Yet thanks to running coach Cory Wharton-Malcolm, who gave me the energy I needed to complete the 35-minute run, I thoroughly enjoyed my workout and was left with all the positive endorphins we runners crave each time we lace up. Here’s everything you need to know about the new Time to Run feature, and where to try it. 

Apple Fitness Plus Time to Run: What is it? 

Similar to the Time to Walk feature on the Apple Watch, Apple Fitness Plus subscribers can now try audio running workouts from their wrist using the Time to Run feature. The running experience is designed to make Apple users more consistent and features popular running routes in notable cities around the world. 

The feature takes on the likes of Peloton, who offer subscribers audio coaching when they take their runs outside and has launched with three episodes: London, coached by Cory Wharton-Malcolm; Brooklyn, coached by Emily Fayette; and Miami Beach, coached by Sam Sanchez. One new episode of Time to Run will be released each week on Mondays. The runs are designed to be suitable for runners of all fitness levels. 

In addition to providing coaching tips along the way, the runs include a music playlist, curated by each of the Fitness Plus trainers, which runners can save to listen to on future runs. During the Time to Run session, runners will also see photos taken by the trainer along their route. 

To find the Time to Run workouts on your Apple Watch, Fitness Plus subscribers can click on workouts at the top of the workout menu, then browse the Time to Run library. 

If you're new to Apple Fitness Plus, read about my favorite Apple Fitness Plus features, or read our full Apple Fitness Plus review. If you're a new runner, you'll also want to check out our best running shoe round-up, as well as our best Apple Watch guide.

A photo of the Time to Run series on Apple Watch 6

(Image credit: Future)

I tried an Apple Fitness Plus Time to Run workout — here’s what happened 

I’ve been lucky enough to run with new Fitness Plus coach, Cory Wharton-Malcolm, Nike running coach and founder of West London running crew, Track Mafia, a few times, so he was my obvious first choice. Cory’s energy is infectious, as is his passion for his, and my, home town — London. 

Cory’s coaching style is all about being in the moment and enjoying the run, which is exactly what I needed on a grey Monday when I didn’t want to be running. I connected my Powerbeats Pro headphones to my watch, pressed start, and set off. 

As I ran, photos of iconic London landmarks, including the London Eye, Buckingham Palace and Houses of Parliament popped up on my watch. The playlist was accompanied by coach Cory’s playlist, which featured some of the UK’s biggest artists including Ed Sheeran, Stormzy, The Beatles, The Spice Girls, Elton John and Coldplay.

Between each track Cory would drop in with encouraging coaching, which I found kept me focused on enjoying the run, rather than worrying about my pace, my to-do list, or how far I had to go. “On an everyday run like this, you’re not racing, you’re not trying for a personal best, you want to be loose and free. Relax your shoulders and shake off any tension, bring a smile to your face, it’s your time to shine” Cory said, and I did. 

A photo of the Apple Watch 6 showing running stats

(Image credit: Future)

The 35-minute run flew by, and as someone who normally runs to podcasts or audio books, I loved the motivation of the music. Like many runners, during the pandemic, I’ve spent many hours clocking solo miles, so also found that I really enjoyed the feel of being back in the crew, completing a group session and running together, despite the fact I was running alone.

Of course, there are a number of audio coaching options available to runners on the likes of Peloton and the Nike Training App, but the playlist, the photos and the fact you can do this from your watch without extra apps or faff make this a handy alternative for Apple users.

I’ll be honest and say I’ve always found the Apple Watch a little uncomfortable to run with, and usually only use it for my run-commutes, or on days where I’m doing an easy run and don’t want to swap to my Garmin. For me, Time to Run is one of the best running updates the Apple Watch has seen in a while, and I’m excited to see what’s next for the audio coaching feature. 

Apple Fitness Plus — what else is new

On Monday, January 10, Apple has also released its Apple Fitness Plus Collections — curated workouts that are organized to help users reach their goals, without having to scroll through the platform. The six Collections available from today are a 30-day Core Challenge, Improve Your Posture with Pilates, Perfect Your Yoga Balance Poses, Run Your First 5K, Strengthen Your Back, Stretch Your Hips, and Wind Down for a Better Bedtime.

Apple also announced a third season of Time to Walk, which kicks off with actor, writer and producer, Rebel Wilson. Apple is also expanding its Artist Spotlight series with new workouts featuring the music of Ed Sheeran, Pharrell Williams, Shakira, and the Beatles. 

Jane McGuire
Fitness editor

Jane McGuire is Tom's Guide's Fitness editor, which means she looks after everything fitness related - from running gear to yoga mats. An avid runner, Jane has tested and reviewed fitness products for the past five years, so knows what to look for when finding a good running watch or a pair of shorts with pockets big enough for your smartphone. When she's not pounding the pavements, you'll find Jane striding round the Surrey Hills, taking far too many photos of her puppy.