Saturday, 14 July 2012

Review: Nike+ Running for iPhone

Nike+ Running app
The last couple of posts has been about weight lifting and strength training, and I though it was time for something else, and why not write a review of one of the many iPhone fitness / health apps I’m using; the Nike+ Running app (ver. 4.0.1).

What is Nike+

I thought I'd start out by telling you about Nike+ before actually reviewing the app.

Nike+ is a way to track your activity, using various equipment such as this iPhone app or the wristband called Fuelband.
You are able to track every run you do, total distance per Week, Month, Year, or All workouts, and many more things.
You can also see how you stack up against the entire Nike+ Community and People your age (and soon your friends) in Total distance, Average distance, Average pace, and Most NikeFuel the last 30 days.
I'm not going into more details about this, as I'll do a review of the Nike+ Website soon.

What can the app do then?

Source: http://nikeplus.nike.com/plus/products/gps_app/
As you can see the app has 7 main features;
  • GPS - no need for any sensors in the shoes or anything like that.
  • Pace tracker - track your pace per km or mile.
  • Timer - Time your run.
  • Calorie Counter - Self-explanatory, though not too accurate in my opinion.
  • Pedometer - Counts your steps, though I haven't tried it.
  • Music Player - Listen to your playlists while working out.
  • Social - Share your runs with Facebook, Path, and Twitter
These features are pretty good, and I really like that you don't need any sort of sensor, but can just start up the app, press run and then go for it.
The calorie counter isn't that accurate in my opinion. It calculates the calories burned per run by some formula using your height, weight, distance, and pace. To make it more accurate you'd have to be able to add your heart rate as well (might get implemented at some point).

You're able to share your run with you Facebook, Path, and Twitter profile when you finish you run. You can also get your friends on Facebook and Path to cheer you on, while you're running (Not sure how that works, as I haven't shared any runs yet).
Along with that you are able to tag Facebook friends post-run, if you run with friends.

Just as you can listen to the music you've got on your iPhone, you have the ability to pick a few Power Songs, which you are able to listen to by pressing a button on the screen.
The purpose of Power Songs is to give you a little boost if you need it, either because your pace is slowing down or you feel like you can't run any longer.

Types of runs:

There are 4 types of runs to choose from

Types of Runs
The Basic run is pretty self-explanatory, you just run and the app records your route, pace, etc.
Choosing the Distance run option, you choose a distance starting from 0.25 km all the way up to 50 km in 250 meters increments. You can also see what your Best average was, beat your last run, or beat your PR (Personal Record). It will also give you an estimate time for your run.
In the Time Run you decide how long you want to run, from 5 minutes up to 12 hours, in 5 minutes increments. Just as with the Distance option, it tells you your best average, beat your last or beat your PR.
In Speed Run your goal is to beat some of your Personal Records such as Fastest 1 K or Fastest 1 Mile

Auto Voice Feedback

You also have the option of getting some automated voice feedback, automated in the way that you can choose to get Time, Distance, and Pace spoken out loud by either a male or female voice.
That means the app will tell you how long you've been running, how far you've run, and your average pace.
How often you'll hear this feedback depends on the frequency you set it to;

  • 0.25 km
  • 0.50 km
  • 1 km (my preferred frequency)
  • 2 km
  • 1 min
  • 5 min
  • 10 min
  • 15 min
When you press end workout, the app will give you a final feedback of your time, distance, and pace.
It'll congratulate you on completing your workout and also let you know if you have gotten a PR, such as Fastest 1 K.

Finished Run

After your workout, you're able to put in the specific distance, in case the GPS tracker is too weak. You'll also be able to add how you felt, such as tired, great, and unstoppable. You also have the option of choosing where you run, such as Road, Trail, Track, Beach, or Treadmill.
You can tag the shoes you ran in, which provides the ability to track how many Ks or Miles you've run in your shoes.
Lastly you're able to add a note.

NikeFuel

Every run you earn NikeFuel, just as you do with any other Nike+ Gear. It's calculated the same way for everyone, so no matter what they do, or what gear they use, they are able to compare it with anyone.

Price

This app is free, so click here and grab it for your iPhone.
It's compatible with iOS 4.0 and later, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPod Touch (3rd and 4th generation), and iPad.
The app is also available for Android

Last couple of notes

One of the things I'm missing in the app is the ability to do interval running, but I've contacted Nike Support, and they apparently liked my idea and sent it down the developer road, so that'll hopefully come in an update.
Just as would like to be able to do interval runs, using this app, I would love to be able to choose a more specific time for running, such as 18 minutes (One of the Running programs I have adds 1 minute per week), or a more specific distance, like choosing to add 400 meters to my previous distance instead of just 250 or 500 meters.

Also, remember that continued use of the GPS app drains the battery more than using the phone normally.

Video

From the Nike Running YouTube Channel

A few Screenshots from the App.

Home Screen
Profile Screen

Run Setup
Running Screen





















Tabs Screen
Activity Screen