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The Apple Watch doesn’t need GPS to help you keep in shape

Apple Watch Running

One of the key selling points of the Apple Watch is its utility as a health-oriented tracking device. Not only will the Apple Watch keep tabs on your movements, track the number of steps you take, and measure your daily calories burned, it’s also designed to encourage you to be more active if it senses you’ve been sedentary for too long.

Related: Apple Watch models will be in short supply at launch

That’s all well  and good, but many have wondered how useful the Apple Watch might be for runners. After all, with no built-in GPS, even non-competitive weekend runners might find the device superfluous if it needs to be paired with an iPhone for true run tracking.

As it turns out, the Apple Watch may very well be a more capable running companion than we first thought.

According to Christy Turlington, who has been maintaining a a blog about her Apple Watch experiences on Apple’s website, the Apple Watch can learn your running habits with a bit of training.

After you run with Apple Watch and your iPhone a few times, the Workout app knows more about your stride. So you can run on a treadmill or outside without your phone and still get a really accurate workout summary. By midweek I had to get a long run in, but even 14 miles was challenging in one shot. So instead of one long run, I broke it into two 7-mile runs (morning and evening).

This is potentially huge. If the Apple Watch can provide accurate workout summaries for long runs, with no iPhone necessary, the device might very well be the best fitness tracking wearable on the market.

We’ll know more, of course, once the device actually launches, but this is promising news for anyone who enjoys putting some moderate mileage in every week.

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large for over 15 years. A life long Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW. When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.