The company added the ability to create interval workouts in watchOS 9. That is important for any athlete who wants to set a PR at their next race or just want to change up their training routine.

The segments feature was the only way to train interval on the Apple watch. You can double-tap the screen at any time to make a note of what you are doing. Users kept track of their own intervals using it. You don't need to worry about that in watchOS 9. The custom workouts will switch from one interval to the next for you. Your workout summary will show your performance data by intervals.

A series of premade interval workouts will be available for several workout types. The activity already has a 30-minute workout. premade intervals are useful in a pinch, but they may not reflect where you are currently. Here is how to create and modify your own interval workouts.

Apple Watch Series 7 showing the Create Workout screen for custom runs
Custom workouts are new to watchOS 9.

Creating custom workouts

You have to program your workouts from the watch. There is no way to do it on the phone at the moment. Some of your options will be different depending on the activity you are programming for. You can set pace for a work interval in an outdoor running workout but not for a high intensity interval training workout.

Here's how to make a custom workout.

The app can be used to work out. The three-dot button is located in the upper right-hand corner. To create a workout, scroll all the way down. The button has a custom design on it. There should be a clipboard icon. You can warm up by tapping the button. You can pick the type of warm-up from here. Skip if you don't want to warm up. The interval can be created with the + add button. Select the type of interval you want from the list. Depending on your activity of choice, your options will be determined. You can choose between open, distance, or time. It's possible to choose between open or time. The interval should be five minutes or 0.25 miles. You can repeat the last three steps as many times as you want. Select Repeats if you want to repeat any intervals. You can choose the interval you want to repeat by tapping next. You can choose how many times you want to repeat a set. The Cooldown button should be tapped when you're ready. You can choose the type of cooling off. Skip if you don't want a time off. You can enter a name in the custom title field. You can create a workout when you finish.

Custom Interval workout screen on an Apple Watch Ultra
You can program intervals to repeat as many times as you need.

Editing custom workouts

Even if the format doesn't change, any athlete will tell you that you need to modify an interval workout. Maybe you need to add or subtract repeats, or maybe you want to add or subtract a certain amount of time. One of Apple's premade interval workouts would be better for you. Here's how to modify an existing workout.

  • Open the Workout app and navigate to the activity type containing the custom workout you want to edit.
  • Tap the three-dot icon in the upper right-hand corner.
  • Scroll down the list of workouts until you find the one you want to edit. Tap the pencil icon in the top right-hand corner.
  • Tap on the section you’d like to change. You can tweak the number of repeats, change work or recovery interval types, edit the title of a custom workout, reorder intervals, and make changes to warm-ups and cooldowns. When you’re done editing, tap < twice.

Alert types in custom Outdoor Run workout screen on Apple Watch Ultra
Alert types will vary depending on your activity. These are some of the options for an outdoor run workout.

Adding alerts

You can add alert to specific intervals once you create a custom interval workout. If you want your heart rate to be zone 2 or lower during a recovery interval, you can set an alert so that your watch doesn't detect it. You will know to relax. You can program the watch to alert you when you are in zone 2.

  • Open the Workout app and navigate to the custom workout that you want to add an alert to.
  • Tap the pencil icon in the upper right-hand corner.
  • Tap either Warmup, a specific Work or Recovery interval, or Cooldown.
  • Scroll down and tap the Alert button.
  • Select the alert type you’d like to add. Your options will depend on the activity. For example, running workouts let you select between no alert, pace, heart rate, cadence, and power. However, HIIT or functional strength training workouts only let you select heart rate.
  • When you select an alert type, a number of options will pop up. For example, if you choose heart rate, you’ll see your five heart rate zones. For pace, you can choose between a target pace or a pace range. Program what is most relevant for that interval. Note: each alert you program will only apply to a specific interval.
  • When you’re done, tap < Alert in the upper left-hand corner.

Changing workout views

watchOS 9 has the ability to see more than one workout view. You can use the Digital Crown to scroll through metrics on different screens. If you have an Apple Watch Ultra, you can use the extra screen real estate to add an extra metric.

The workout views can be changed very quickly. You can change how they look based on the activity or a custom workout. You can have different views for outdoor running workouts in general and for a custom outdoor running workout.

The Heart Rate Zones workout view on an Apple Watch Ultra
The heart rate zones workout view can’t be edited, but you can toggle whether it’s included on a given workout.

  • Open the Workout app and navigate to the custom workout you want to edit workout views for.
  • Tap the pencil icon in the upper right-hand corner.
  • Scroll all the way down and tap the Workout Views button.
  • You should see a mini window of your currently enabled workout views. You can review them by scrolling the Digital Crown. Tap the Edit Views button.
  • You’ll see a list of each workout view. The views will vary depending on the activity. For example, a custom outdoor running workout will have an interval view, metrics, metrics 2, heart rate zones, split, segment, elevation, power, and activity rings.
  • To edit the metrics in the metric and metrics 2 views, tap the pencil icon in the top right-hand corner. Tap each metric to select between the available types. Note: you cannot edit certain preset views like heart rate zones or activity rings.
  • Beneath each workout view, you’ll see an Include toggle. Tap to include or omit a view from a workout.
  • If you’d like to reorder the views, scroll all the way to the bottom. Tap the Reorder button. Drag the views into your preferred order. Tap Done.
  • When everything is to your liking, tap < in the upper left-hand corner three times.

You can make your own interval workouts. It is recommended that you plan your training schedule before lacing up your sneakers. You can choose a custom interval workout when you hit the three-dot button. Interval training pays off if you train frequently.

Victoria Song is a photographer.