How These Two Devices Changed My Workout

Convenient, easy-to-check stats made my runs more productive – and more fun.

Photo courtesy of Samsung

Two weeks ago, I woke up for a morning run. The daily workout has been part of my routine for years now, but that day I was trying something different.

With this article in mind, I was putting on Samsung’s Galaxy Watch4, a smartwatch that tracks your workouts, and the Galaxy Buds2, Bluetooth earbuds to pair with the watch. I was going to see how these new devices would affect my workouts.

Now normally I don’t like to talk about my workout routine. It feels egotistical and self-centered, and I’m definitely not the type of guy to write an article about fitness so I can sneak in a brag about my recent half-marathon time. But this article is all about how these new devices impacted my workouts, so it seems important to mention that I did just run a 1:51:11 half-marathon. There. I had to say it for the sake of the article, right?

But while I take fitness seriously, I have never really done the same with technology. For years now, I’ve recorded my workouts in a little, crinkled notepad. With my handwriting, it’s a bit of a disaster. So trying out these new Samsung devices was a big change for me.  

Thankfully the setup was easy – I paired the Watch4 and Buds2 to my Galaxy A52 phone with a few quick taps and that was just about all it took. I’m a big fan of the Watch4’s design. Scrolling through, I found multiple options for the watch face screen and chose a vintage-style option that, with the round screen, gave it the look of a real watch.

Photo by Everett Sullivan

Then I started checking all the health measurements the watch could record. I found heart rate, ECG, sleep insights, stress and more. Well, obviously I had to know how high my stress levels were. I tapped the button, and the watch measured my heart rate and oxygen saturation to come up with a reading. A measuring line arced from bright green to bright red, a little dot placing my current stress state. Turns out, I’m at the lowest end of that stress spectrum. I’m just barely over what I imagine someone taking a warm bath and sipping chianti would measure. After that, I checked out my body composition and resting heart rate. I was amazed at how much info I was getting out of this device before I’d even started moving.

Of course, now was the real test. I got my running shoes on and stepped outside. Thankfully, the Galaxy Watch4 has its own 4G connection, so I didn’t need to bring my phone with me while I ran.

Two swipes on the watch and I tapped the option to record a run. A countdown began, and I was off.

Initially, I was a little concerned about how the watch would feel on my wrist. Would it be awkward or flop around while I was running? That concern was completely unfounded. With one pull of the strap, it was clung tight to my wrist and felt natural.

I had music running through the Galaxy Buds2 – starting with “Remember the Name” by Fort Minor, one of the greatest workout songs ever recorded. Other earbuds I’ve tried have felt clunky in my ears, especially other Bluetooth ones. They just didn’t quite fit right, and, not to be gross, but after a long, sweaty run they have a tendency to slip out. The Buds didn’t have either of those problems. They were snug, comfortable and stayed in place every mile of the way. Plus, for someone who has been using wired headphones up to this point, not having that wire swinging around while I ran was phenomenal.

Photo courtesy of Samsung

Every few minutes, with an easy flick of my wrist, I checked the watch to see how long I’d been running, how many miles and what my pace and heart rate were.

Once I hit 45 minutes, I stopped. The watch immediately brought up a summary of my run: total distance (along with a map of the route I’d taken), time, average and maximum pace, average and maximum heart rate. It even had a whole breakdown of “advanced running metrics,” measuring my regularity, stiffness, contact time and more. All these stats went straight to the Samsung Health app on my phone, so once I got back home, I was able to view them in more detail on the larger screen.

What intrigued me most out of all the information was that my pace was much slower than I thought. Turns out I’ve lost some serious speed since that half-marathon time I casually bragged about above. The next day, the watch was back on my wrist and the buds were back in my ears, and I was determined to end my run at a better pace. I accomplished that goal (by 1.8 seconds, but still).

Now, I’ve used the new Galaxy Watch4 and Galaxy Buds2 every day for the past two weeks. Not counting the obvious convenience of using the devices, the biggest change to my workout has been in my motivation. Before using these devices, my goals were vague because I didn’t have any of the information the watch provides. I was just going through the motions, running the same time, same distance. Now I have stats to beat – I want to improve my pace by a minute before December – and every new run I take adds a dot to the graphs on my Samsung Health app, showing me exactly how close I am to hitting that goal. That newfound motivation has been getting me out of bed every morning excited to pull on my shoes and start moving. For a runner, there’s nothing more important.