- Editor's Rating
- Provides users with a GPS map that shows them how fast or slow they are running at a particular time
- Provides motivation through music and an online community
- Can be paired with various other Nike+ accessories
- Some users have complained the GPS mapping is inaccurate
Quick TakeThis is a great app for serious runners who are looking to improve but need a little extra motivation.
As the weather warms, more and more runners find themselves out on the trails. Whether they’re out for a casual afternoon jog or training for an upcoming race, many will carry smartphones
For joggers serious about maximizing workouts, the Nike+ app is a perfect choice to help train for an upcoming race, or just to improve overall performance, providing motivation at the same time.
The Nike + app is a GPS running aid that helps runners keep track of important data in real time while running, reflect on data after the fact, and compare data to previous runs or runs completed by friends. The app allows users to accurately track distance and other metrics using the phone’s GPS, including time, distance and calories burned. The app keeps up with the runner by plotting the route on a map, which is visible during and after a run.
Also while running, users can check out the smartphone screen to view miles, time and calories burned, or tuck the phone away into a pocket or running holster for hands free use. Users can set the app to speak alerts through the headphones at varying distances, telling them the mileage and average pace.
The best tool the app offers for serious runners is the heat map, which is on display during a run. While Nike+ tracks the route, it also calculates how fast the user is running throughout a course, and plots that on the map using a color scale from green to red. The app records the fastest mile, represented by green and the slowest mile, represented by red, with shades of orange and yellow indicating a moderate pace. The feature is particularly useful for runners learning to pace themselves and improve upon different aspects of a run, whether it’s starting at an appropriate pace, pushing through mile four or finishing strong.
The accuracy of the GPS map will depend on the smartphone’s signal throughout the run, but users have the option to calibrate every route following a run, to ensure the statistics reflect the accurate distance covered. During the review, TechnologyGuide found no issues with the GPS tracking the correct map of the run.
The app also lets users take into account terrain, weather and overall feeling of the run. After recording a run, users can select if they ran on a road, trail, beach or track and how they felt after the run, ranging from “I felt unstoppable!” to “I got injured.” Additionally, the app records the day’s weather to be included with the run activity log. Users may also take notes on a given run to keep track of other variables like high foot traffic on a particular route, or event congestion.
Post-run, users can share their workout to Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.
Users can set the app to give some inspirational cheers throughout the run at various milestones, and users are also able to share their runs via social networks and ask for support from friends and family. The in-app mile, time and pace updates also prove to be motivational with alerts as runner pace slows.
Music is the biggest motivator, however. The app is compatible with the smartphone music library. Before heading out on a run, users can select what music they’d like to listen to through the app, ranging from a playlist to “all songs.” The app also has a preference where users can select what Nike refers to as “PowerSongs.” When the Nike+ app senses a runner is slowing down, it will automatically change the music to one of the PowerSongs, using music to propel the runner. Once the users are back at the average pace, the app goes back to playing the general music choice.
Users may also register with the Nike+ website to connect with a community of Nike+ users. The platform allows users to compete against, or train with, friends and strangers alike by syncing and storing running routes, which can later be searched and shared.
The online platform also allows users to track their progress, with graphs and infographics displaying any progress. Users may also set goals, time limits for achieving those goals and alerts synced with the smartphone’s calendar for running reminders. The platform also has built in rewards, such as trophies for reaching certain milestones, like running a 5K or mile in a specific amount of time, reaching a certain number of miles or running for a certain amount of days.
Beyond the app
For users who hate running with their smartphones, Nike+ offers a host of other devices that can achieve essentially the same thing as the basic app. Newer versions of Apple’s iPod Nano come with Nike+ preinstalled. Some models require users to purchase the Nike+ sensor, which is priced at $19 at the time of this review. The sensor can be put into a predesigned slot in a Nike+ shoe, or users can purchase a small pocket that attaches to the laces of any shoe to secure the sensor.
Nike also offers other products like the Nike + SportBand, SportWatch GPS and FuelBand to help users track their fitness goals.
The Nike+ app is available for Apple and Android users and is compatible with iPhone 3Gs and later generations and iPad. The app requires iOS 5.0 or later and is optimized for iPhone 5. Android users must be running Android 2.3.3 or later to use the app, which is free in both the Apple App Store and Google Play.