How to Check Running and Cycling Cadence on Apple Watch

The Apple Watch has been a cult favorite for a long time, and with the emergence of the watchOS 5, there’s nothing stopping its success. With some terrific features, runners, hikers, and yoga enthusiasts now have the chance to train with more confidence.

One of these interesting traits is the addition of a cadence sensor, which is one of the best things that happened to the Apple watch. So, what is this cadence sensor, and how does an external sensor work with the apple watch? Keep reading to find out everything about this brilliant addition to the Apple watch.

1. What Is Cadence?

Cadence is a metric used mainly by athletes. Swimmers and cyclists commonly use this yardstick to monitor their progress. However, runners could not monitor their progress using cadence in the past. The introduction of the Apple Watch made it possible for runners to measure their strides easily.

So, what is cadence? In simple words, it is the number of steps or strides one takes every minute during running. Similarly, in swimming, it is the number of strokes taken per minute. In cycling, it refers to the number of times you turn the pedals. Cadence helps you monitor your pace and progress. 

2. Why Is Cadence So Important?

Cadence is an important factor to consider among different athletes, especially runners. It helps you determine how fast you can run. It also gives an insight on improving your efficiency with running.

By increasing your cadence along with your stride length, you can aim for better progress in your game. Besides, improving your cadence can make a difference in the efficiency of your stride. You can run faster, and there are fewer chances of injury as well.

The cadence sensor in Apple Watch has made it easier for you to monitor your pace smoothly. Apple Watch includes a built-in accelerometer that discerns the thrust every time you hit the ground with your feet.

3. How Can You Check Running Cadence on Apple Watch?

Runners can now monitor their running cadence on Apple Watch and compare it with their previous cadences. They can also determine their average cadence using the Watch app.

In order to check the running cadence, all you have to do is turn to the Apple Watch app and click on the ‘Workout’ feature. Visit the ‘Workout View’ and select ‘Multiple Metric’ from it. 

You will find the option to edit your ‘Outdoor Run’. From here, you can choose the ‘Current Cadence’ option and add it to the list of metrics above. You can also add your ‘Average Cadence’ to this list. 

A tricky thing with this list is that both the current and average cadence is noted as ‘SPM’ or steps taken per minute on the Watch app. 

Just keep in mind which order you arranged both of the cadences in, and you’ll be good to go! You can also rearrange them by clicking on the Edit option in case you lose track of which one is the current cadence and which one is the average one.

4. Monitoring Your Running Cadence

Now that you know all about cadence, it’s time to find out what is your running cadence and its role. Running cadence varies from person to person. It mostly depends on the body of the athlete and his/her capability. 

Running cadence is different for everyone, and this is why monitoring your cadence is a huge deal to improve your pace. The total number of strides you take every minute is your running cadence.

Shorter people have a lower cadence, while taller people have a higher running cadence. Usually, running cadence stays within the limits of 150-200 strides per minute.

Monitoring your running cadence is very important, especially as a part of a runner’s training. This is why most athletes prefer the Apple Watch because of its ability to take the running cadence into account every time you go for a run. 

You can not only figure out which pace you’re running at, but you can also have an insight into your progress. With the help of the Watch app, monitoring the cadence metric has become much easier.

5. How to Connect a Cadence Sensor to an Apple Watch

Connecting a third-party sensor to an Apple watch is quite tricky as there are not many apps to support it directly. Although the Peloton app supports this connection, many people still prefer the Fitness+ or Zwift over Peloton app for their ecosystem.

A unique feature of the Peloton app is the cadence on-screen display that allows you to check your current cadence while running. This feature does not work with Fitness+, which is why many people still opt for the Peloton app.

Since there is no native cadence monitoring for cyclists, the enthusiasts opt for a smarter solution. They connect external cadence sensors via third-party apps.

6. The Best Apple Watch Apps for Tracking Cycling Cadence

Apple has its own Workout app that deals with running cadence. But sadly, cycling cadence is still a missing piece in the puzzle. There are third-party apps that you would have to fall back on for this moment.

Let’s have a look at two of the leading apps to share speed/cadence data with Apple Watch –


Cyclemeter Cycling Tracker

Cyclemeter is probably one of the best cycling apps out there. The best part is that it works without an iPhone or iPad, directly on your watch.

The app is free to download and allows you to track almost 200 metrics. You can now keep tabs on your heart rate, strides, power, and average cadence – thanks to this cycling tracker.

Besides, this app has an Elite version that you can subscribe to for obtaining some classified information. This version comes with Google Maps support.

You can find dashboards that allow you to observe your cycling stats in an arranged way. Plus, you can track your cycling sessions and have an estimate of how far you’ve come from the very beginning.

This app also lets you share your live location with others and ensures maximum safety. You can export your ride input and use the app to guide you on your hilly rides. 


Strava: Run, Ride, Hike

Strava is a multi-purpose app designed to meet the requirements of runners, swimmers, and cyclists. It used to depend on iOS previously for its functionality, but now it works directly on WatchOS.

The information displayed on the Strava app is pretty basic – heart rate, distance, workout duration, and calories. It also gives an idea about the average elevation, which is pretty great. Strava had the disadvantage of reliability with GPS in the past, but the new updates have totally smashed down all the cons.

With a subscription to this app, you can enjoy a number of benefits that you may not get with the free version. For example, with the subscription, you can enjoy a large number of workout plans and performance metrics that can help you a lot with improving your cadence.

So, if you’re thinking of building up your cadence and monitoring your pace, Strava can be a great choice for you.

7. Bike Cadence Sensors That Work Well With Cyclemeter and Strava


Wahoo Speed and Cadence Sensor Bundle

Wahoo Fitness has been designing some of the most amazing sensors for quite some time for workout enthusiasts. This RPM sensor bundle from their line is no different. 

The sensor bundle comes in a wireless solution, which is pretty unique. You don’t need to waste your time detangling the wires, thanks to this wireless technology.

A unique feature of this sensor bundle is the presence of dual-band technology, which allows you to use it with both bike computers and smartphones. It is a low-profile sensor bundle that works with magnet-less technology. 

The accuracy of cadence data is amazing with this bundle. It also shares Peloton iOS compatibility via Bluetooth that delivers instant cadence information effortlessly. The measured cadence figures can be displayed on the phone and watch.

There are dual mount bike options, one with zip ties and one with double-sided tape. It also comes with a solid hub mount and shoe mount options, making it a versatile product to consider. The sensor also has blue LED lights to show the device connection of the sensor and red LED lights to denote the cadence connection.

One of the best things about this sensor bundle is that it will fit a large number of bikes and frames because of its flexible design. Besides, it is very lightweight and compact, so if you’re looking for a bundle to accompany you on your excursions, this is the one.


Garmin Speed Sensor 2 and Cadence Sensor 2 Bundle

Just like the Wahoo Fitness sensors, these ones by Garmin are also a wireless solution. The best thing about wireless sensors is that they are easy to install. 

You can also switch between bikes with the sensors. The cadence sensor can give accurate information on the pedal strokes measured per minute. 

On the other hand, the speed sensor with Apple Watch can adjust with compatible Garmin gadgets to provide an insight into the average distance and the stride number. And the best part is that it can do so without a head unit accurately.

Besides, you can also send your live tracking note to your trainer or other fellow members easily through this bundle. You can also export the stats note to a bunch of compatible training or tracking apps to work on your pace. 

This bundle works in combination with ANT+ connectivity and BLUETOOTH Low Energy technology, which is pretty great. The bundle allows you to measure your cadence input effectively so that your workout regime stays updated at all times.

By the way, if you are not sure how these speed or cadence sensors work, or how to even install one yourself, we have a complete guide for you.