The following was written by Niffer, a superfox, super fantastic runner and awesome friend of mine. Know her. Love her. Envy her. She has hot legs and killer hair. She runs fast, too. She uses Nike+ to track her runs and is having an affair with *MY* Lance Armstrong. Here’s her take on the newest app from Nike+ for the iPhone/iPod touch.
I’m a long time fan of the Nike+ and it’s been my faithful running partner since it first debuted in 2006. Since then, I’ve used it to log over 2100 kilometers of runs. The ability for me to track my runs and graph my progress has kept me motivated for four years. And just as I was feeling like I’d finally out grown my old running pal, a new version has come out to keep me interested.
Some Things Stay the Same
The basic premise is still the same as previous versions of the application: before you start you choose a run based on time, distance, or “basic” (running with no particular goal). However, now you can also choose to challenge yourself by taking on your last run (more on that in a minute). You can still choose a power song, the voice for spoken feedback, and your units of measure. The home screen of the app also displays your total mileage run to date as well as a breakdown of the number of runs, average pace, total run duration, and total calories burned. The biggest difference is that it no longer uses the foot pod to transmit your run data to the device. This is all done now via GPS and accelerometer.
The iPhone GPS not only works with the accelerometer to track your pace, but it also maps your route as you run. When your run is complete, you can see your route with mileage markers or with your pace highlighted so you can see where you tend to slow down (or speed up). The downside is that the GPS capability doesn’t work with the iPod Touch.
The “Challenge Me” function allows you to aim to go longer, farther or faster than your last run. You can also “Beat a Record” – which pits you against your best times/distances.
In this version of the app, there’s no longer a need to sync your run using iTunes, it has the capability to automatically upload data to the site – or you can chose to do it manually through the app. You can tag your run data (how you felt, the weather, notes, etc) and it sends it right to the site. I love this. No more fumbling with finding a computer and hooking up to iTunes. This also means that I can sync with the Daily Mile website without ever opening the Nike+ site.
What can I say? The little things make me happy. I like to hear Lance Armstrong tell me how awesome my run was. Or get a verbal high five from Joan Benoit Samuelson. With previous versions of the Nike+, the congratulatory message was fleeting. You heard it and then it was gone. Your friends had to trust you when you told them that Paula Radcliffe told you that you just beat your personal best for the 5k. With the new app, it saves the message with each run, allowing you to replay it over and over and over again. And again. One more time…
Some Iffy Things…
The new version of the app allows you to use it on a treadmill by using the accelerometer to track your pace and distance. I tried this and then compared the Nike+ distance with what was recorded on the treadmill, and the difference between the two was fairly wide. It’s hard to say how much of that was inaccuracy on the part of the treadmill or the device. Jury is still out. My gut tells me it might be the treadmill because it doesn’t factor incline into the distance calculation. Another downfall to this is the fact that you must have the device on your body during your workout. I had forgotten to bring my armband, so I held it in my hand for a while. For some reason this caused the spoken feedback to repeat every couple of seconds until I got annoyed and finally stuffed it into my sports bra. Everything was fine after that!
Another minor annoyance is that you can set the voice feed back by distance or by time, but it doesn’t count down your last 500 metres like previous versions did. I liked that countdown. It was nice to know how close you were to the finish - or in my case, how much longer I had to suffer.
The Last Word
I was really jonesing for a new device and this will keep me busy for a while. It’s still not as technical as a Garmin, but it does provide me with more functionality than previous versions of the application. If you want to see how this new app compares to other iPhone running apps, there’s a side by side comparison here.