Friday, April 20, 2012

User Review: Nike+GPS

I know that there are probably a ton of reviews out there about the various apps, shoes, workout clothes, etc. that I will inevitably be talking about, but these are just for fun, when I have nothing else to write about or really feel passionately about a product, good or bad.  I figure the first one should about something I use in basically every run I do.  I came upon the Nike+ system when I first started getting serious about running last year.  I went out and bought the Nike+ thingy for your iPod (I had not yet been converted to an iPhone) and realized that the 1st gen iPod I had didn't support any apps.  So I went to return my Nike+ thingy and be sad because I still had a Blackberry that was compatible with nothing.  

That was in September.  In October, we were preparing for the final weeks before marriage and were blessed to be able to get matching iPhones the weekend they came out. Well, not entirely matching, but close enough.  I downloaded pretty much every app I could find and spent way too much time on my phone, but that's another story.  I originally downloaded all the free running apps because I could justify paying a whole $1.99 on something that I could get for free.  Hubs couldn't help noticing that I'd always be looking at the Nike+GPS app and reviews with adoring eyes and eventually just bought the thing without asking me and sent it to me as an app gift.  Who says romance is dead?

I've logged close to 100 miles on this app so I feel like I can give it a thorough review.

This picture really makes me want to go out and run 1.77 miles so I can break 100. But alas, it's a rest day.

We'll start with what's not the best:

  • Like any app that uses GPS on your phone, it kills the battery on my iPhone even after a shorter run. Yesterday I logged a mile and a half and it killed my battery by 15%.  
  • It's not entirely accurate.  Again, this isn't a Nike+ problem because even Garmins have issues with accuracy.  It is however super annoying that when I do the exact same run, I can end up finishing earlier or later depending on the weather or the sun spots that day.  They do offer a way to calibrate your run, but honestly, I'm not sure exactly how long my routes are in the first place so I wouldn't want to risk screwing up the calibration.
  • The social aspect is a little confusing.  It says you can play tag with your Nike+ friends but I have yet to figure out how to add friends even though I know a few people who use the app regularly.  Any ideas?

Here are my pros:
  • I love the freedom to decide what your run is going to be.  You can go out and have no specific goal or a very specific goal and the Nike+ app can handle it.  I've used all of the different ways of running through the app: Distance Run, Time Run, and Free Run.  Each of them gives basically the same information throughout the run every mile.  The only difference is if you have a goal, it will let you know how much longer you have til you're done. 
  • It syncs with a website so you can track and adjust your settings on a bigger screen.  I love my iPhone, I really do, but looking at things on a little 4" screen can get a little tiring.  Ever since Hubs built his own computer with dual screens, I've kinda taken it over for my blog posts and running planning.  It's awesome to be able to look at your last run and blog at the same time.  
  • It gives you inspirational athletes at the end of your workout.  I've heard from Tim Tebow, Paula Radcliffe, and a whole bunch of other people I haven't really heard of at the end of my runs tell me how awesome I did.  Sometimes that's just nice to hear since I do most of my runs by myself. Everyone needs a little encouragement every once in awhile.
  • It gives you access to a whole bunch of training programs. Want to do your first 5k? Your 3rd half marathon? The online aspect of the app gives you a plethora of training programs that can be tailored to your comfort level and the date that you need to accomplish your goal by.  I have a marathon training program inputted into my app and while it isn't what I'm going to follow, it's nice to know how it compares to what I'm doing.   
  • It syncs to your music library.  This is just a convenience thing. I don't have to worry about changing screens to switch the song if something really lame comes on.  It has the controls built into the app which is awesome.
Overall, I think for the price, this app is worth it.  I try not to compare it to the others I've used which is hard, but it is my favorite one.  I think the music thing is my biggest selling point because it's really annoying to have to focus on changing my music while I'm in a zone.  Call me prissy, but that's just me.  What apps do you use while running?

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