Nike paired up with Apple to produce, what I think, is a great piece of running kit to encourage you to get out and about, walking or running.
What is the Nike+ Sensor for?
The Nike+ sensor and iPhone app track your running progress while you’re out and about through distance, speed and calories. It’s a little like the stats given to you while running on a treadmill. It’s great to have those milestones to help you keep going, even while listening to music. The app gives you stats to take away and feel good about.
What you need to get started
In order to get going with Nike+, you will need:
- Nike+ sensor
- Nike+ shoe with special slot for the sensor in the sole
- Computer with internet access, iTunes and a free Nike.com account
- an iPhone 3GS,
- or an iPod Touch 2G,
- or an iPod Nano with Nike + receiver,
- or a Nike+ SportBand
A lot of kit — the sensors and kits are fairly reasonable, but the shoes are usual Nike prices of £65 or more.
I use an iPhone 3GS where the app is pre-installed and can run in the background. It can work with iTunes and allow you to select playlists and even nominate a ‘power song’. I use the Spotify iPhone app instead which works wonders if you have offline playlists synced up in advance.
If you can, get headphones with volume adjustment to make it easier while running (if listening to music). iPhone 3GS have these and they’re invaluable. One other thing that Nike doesn’t tell you is that you may want to purchase a pair of fingerless gloves (such as the Entre Touchy Gloves) for running in the cold winter months. They work wonders when you’re dealing with touch screens!
Setting up before your first run
When you first come to use the Nike Plus app, it’ll ask you for your weight (to gauge the calorie counter) to calibrate your run, instructing you to walk and run for a period of time in order to gauge how fast you go normally.
When you have ended each workout, it saves it in its history. You can then sign up to the Nike website to upload your stats and see a more detailed breakdown of your run including speed over time etc; a nice touch. Shame these aren’t available without syncing with iTunes, however.
Putting the Nike+ app to the test
It’s a nice app that speaks to you during your run through your headphones. A nice surprise is hearing a Paula Radcliff recording say “This is Paula Radcliff. Congratulations you’ve just recorded a new personal best for the mile”.
Be careful, though, when you stop running for a break or to cross a road, very occasionally, the app fails to restart recording data from the sensor. That can be very frustrating to say the least! But the best way to get around that is to either check up on the app periodically – simply pressing the Home button on the iPhone gives you a summary of your current progress including pace – but also actually hit the Pause Workout button and Resume when you set off again.
My wish list for Nike+
An actual GPS tracker would be good. I thought this was included, but it isn’t the only running app that implies it maps your route. That said, GPS tracking is very sketchy and inaccurate. All distance calculators should be taken with a pinch of salt and used more as an indicator as to how far you went on your latest run compared to your previous runs.
I’d also love the ability to upload my stats to the Nike website without having to dock my iPhone with iTunes on my computer. Those real-time stats would be fantastic.
The possibilities for making this app more sociable are endless as well, so if there are any app updates, I hope some of these are featured! Think how powerful sharing running routes, promoting charity runs, or running in real-time with your friends could be! It would certainly make the price tag even more worthwhile than it already is.
The Nike+ running sensor and iPhone app has introduced me to a whole new world of running that I have never experimented with before. As a seasoned gym bunny, I am now enjoying exploring local routes and find the whole set up pretty easy to master and get a lot out of seeing my stats improve over time. It’s a gadget that has a lot of potential and gets you exercising — go get it if you haven’t already!