As soon as Jack McGarry opens his eyes each morning, he reaches for his watch. The famed bartender and co-owner of New York’s award-winning bars the Dead Rabbit and BlackTail doesn’t, however, wear any old timepiece.
“The single most important piece of equipment that I have for my running is the Nike Apple running watch,” says McGarry. “I wear that every day, all day, except for when I’m sleeping.”
He seriously took up running a little more than three years ago as a way to regulate his health and weight. It was around that same time that McGarry, who’s been forthcoming about his ongoing struggles with alcohol, decided to stop drinking.
“I’m an extremely passionate and kind of obsessive person and it was during a time where I quit drinking and I needed another outlet,” he says. “When I become focused on something, I want to be very good at it. So that’s truly how it started.”
McGarry first purchased the Apple Watch Nike a little more than a year ago to help track his progress and day-to-day training, upgrading from his regular Apple watch that he says was significantly more “clunky” in terms of data.
“I never run without that piece of tech because it gives you the data so you can improve your running,” he says. “When I look at the watch, it shows my heart rate per minute and my activity breakdown, which shows how much I’ve been moving—that’s my calories.”
He also has it set up to track and display how many minutes out of the day he’s been exercising and how long he’s been standing or stationary each day, which he says “is important for people like me who are sitting at a desk most of the day.”
This breakdown of his daily activity helps hold him accountable to maintain his goals, which include burning more than 1,000 calories each day when he’s training. This is particularly important each year when he enters into his pre-marathon preparations.
“When I’m in the throes of a marathon block I go on a run probably six days a week, so there’s one day that I’ll take a complete rest,” says McGarry. That schedule is quite impressive given that in addition to his two New York bars the Dead Rabbit recently announced plans to expand to cities across the country with the first outpost in New Orleans and McGarry just co-hosted the first annual New York Irish Whiskey Festival.
His six-months of race training recently ended for the year when he completed the Steamtown Marathon in Scranton, Pennsylvania. He was the 61st finisher out of around 1,000 runners with a speedy time of three hours and five minutes.
Even though McGarry’s marathon training is now done, he still relies on his watch to maintain a certain amount of “fitness and sharpness.” He’s currently running five days a week, participating in a few 5K and 10K runs, as well as cycling and working out in the gym.
McGarry plans to run the same marathon next year and shave down his time to under three hours in order to qualify for the Boston Marathon. He also plans to upgrade his watch to the newest model once he’s fully committed to his next marathon block. The latest version also includes a sleep tracker.
“Right now I have the sleep tracker on the left side of my wrist and [my watch] on my right side, so this would eradicate that,” he says
In true New York fashion, when McGarry does replace his current watch, he plans to keep it in theme with the rest of his running gear: “When I work out, I like everything to be black,” he says. “But I pretty much wear black all the time.”