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Nike+: A Product Review

Posted Jun 18 2013 2:01pm
The other day I popped into a discussion on Nike+. There were many questions about how it compares to Garmin, is it good, etc. And then I realized, I have been running with Nike+ for years. It is really hard to tell since I don't think I really know when I started. But that is the lovely thing, I can log in and find out. Look at that, May 9, 2010, my first logged run with Nike+.


But let's rewind a bit. When I first started getting serious about running I wanted to know how long I was going in terms of miles and time. I wanted to know my splits. I asked for a Garmin. I received the Garmin Forerunner 410 as a gift. It worked beautifully but did take some time to "locate me" at the start of each of my runs. I had no real issues with Garmin. It was nice running in Spain knowing if I got lost I could follow the GPS map back "home". I didn't get lost...well, not to the point of having to follow the GPS back. But that is another story and this post isn't Nike+ vs. Garmin.

When I started running post childbirth and was serious about training for a marathon, starting with a half marathon, I purchased the Nike+ sensor for iPod. Why? I couldn't find my Garmin, a new Garmin was kind of expensive, I liked the idea of having a sensor that plugged into my iPod since that meant one piece of equipment...tunes and a sensor! Who could ask for more? And the added bonus, it was within my budget. You know, the working mom with a little kid budget.

Shoe tracker!
Since then I have upgraded from an iPod to a iPhone but I still run with Nike+. It may be the sensor, it may be the Nike+ Running app. It just depends and most days it is the sensor. I even run with the sensor on the treadmill but that isn't for knowing how far I have gone, but does help for calibration. It helps with keeping track of miles on shoes. That is a good thing!

If you are looking into getting Nike+, or have it and want to know more, here are some pros and cons to consider for both the sensor and the Nike+ Running app.

Nike+ Sensor Pros:
  • It is easy to attach to your shoe. You can put it in the specifically designed pocket in Nike+ compatible Nike shoes or just attach it to your laces in a pouch. I have a pouch. It is velcro and it easily moved from shoe to shoe.
  • It is affordable. The iPhone doesn't even require the receiver but your iPod will. The sport kit is $29.99. The sensor alone is $19.00.
  • You can share your runs via facebook and/or the Nike community. I don't join in on the Nike community for social media but I do like reviewing some of the stats and when they had the avatar you could dress, darling daughter loved doing that! Too bad that girl is gone.
  • The sensor does seem to have a good running life.  
  • You can have feedback on your run.
  • You can see your splits.

Nike+ Sensor Cons:
  • It requires regular calibration. If you really need to know your distance, be sure to recalibrate on a regular basis but often, I know it is wrong if my pace seems too fast or too slow.
  • It isn't consistent. My pace will jiggle all over the place during a run. Don't try to run to its stated pace for speedwork. You need to trust other means.
  • It is based on foot strike. This leads to some of the distance and pace errors I am sure.

How do you compare?
Nike+ Sensor Hints:
  • If your pace starts getting really squirrly it is probably time to replace the sensor.
  • If you are doing a long sensor based run, check your splits for the first couple of miles with road mile signs etc. to allow you to ascertain if the sensor is running true that day. I have found within the first few miles that I can determine if the sensor is on track, running slow, or running fast.

Nike+ Running app pros:
  • It is dependent on GPS.
  • It locates you quickly.
  • It will tell you if you have a weak GPS signal at the start.
  • You can see your splits.
  • It provides additional information such as temperature and elevation profiles.
  • The app is free and doesn't need to be replaced.
  • You can get feedback on your run and cheers. That is cool!

Nike+ Running app cons:
  • It uses a lot of battery power, especially if you are running with tunes too!
  • My longer runs outrun the GPS app so I have to rely on the sensor instead. You need to make this decision at the start.
Moving up meant a lot at the start

Nike+ Running Hints:
  • Be sure to turn off all other apps on your phone to maximize the battery life of your run.
  • Be wary of running through cities or other "sheltered" zones that may block the signal and provide inaccurate data.
Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for technology that enhances my life.
Daily Affirmation: I have the power to overcome discomfort.
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