Nike + iPod, a different app/system, has been around for a while.  This system required special shoes, a sensor, and your Apple device to help you keep stats while running.  While this is a pretty cool way to go, a lot of people could not get past the need for new shoes just for the app.  Nike’s new app, Nike+ Running, takes the Nike+ Shoes out of the equation, and lets you run with your iPhone alone while still benefiting from a slew of features.  Read on for more.

Nike+ running app for iPhone review

Using the iPhone’s accelerometer to enable a pedometer (steps taken), and the built in GPS to track distance, pace and time, Nike+ will keep you motivated and informed throughout your run.

The Interface
Beautiful and Unique are two words that come to mind when discussing the Nike+ Running interface.  The design elements and animations throughout the app make it fun to use.  The app works primarily in two steps.  First, you simply setup the run.  Second, you run and enjoy the perks.

Nike+ app

Before the Run
From the main screen, simply press ‘Run’ to begin the setup process.  This process is painless and quick, allowing for what I believe is the perfect level of customization without you spending more time on setup than actually running.  Four main options are presented.

running app iphone
On top ‘Basic Run’ is defaulted.  Pressing here will allow you to switch to Distance Run or Timed Run.  Each of these when pressed will allow for selecting your desired distance or time, respectively.

run type nike

Your second option is location.  This tells the app if it should enable GPS tracking (if outdoors), or not (if indoors).

location of run

Third is an extremely important aspect of most runners experience, Music selection.  Your entire iPod selection is available here, with the option to also create an in App playlist called ‘Powersongs.’  While most runners will most likely already have playlists setup through the iPod, if not, here is your chance to make your Powersong playlist.

music for run
An added bonus in Nike+ Running’s music section is that playlists total time is shown next to the playlists.  This will allow you to make sure songs don’t start repeating or run out before your run does.

playlists for run

The Fourth and final setup feature is called Get Cheers.  This is a Facebook hook in that allows friends to cheer you on as you run.  Enabling this for your run will post that you’ve started a run on facebook.  If a friend comments, you will get the notification in-ear, motivating you to push through your run – or anything else your friends and family want to say.

During the Run
Your on the trail, your Powersongs are blasting in your ear, and your friends are cheering you on.  Every mile of your run, Nike+ Running will read you run metrics to keep you focused and aware of your progress.  If you have your iPhone on an armband or feel like taking it out of your pocket to take a look at the screen, you can see your distance traveled and time elapsed.  Your GPS signal is also shown as Weak to Strong along with the ability to Pause the run or unlock the phone.  Finally, a pull away map feature is built into the bottom right to show your location and route.

distance run in Nike app

After the Run
The world is getting smarter and so are its people.  Why? Two words: Information Management.  From billion dollar computer systems used by big business and government to apps such as Nike+ Running, visualizing and understanding information is becoming easier and easier.  After your run, Nike+ Running does not just throw away all of your run statistics.  Instead, it keeps them, aggregates them, and creates valuable (and great looking) visualizations.

visualize run

Not only will Nike+ Running remember the distance and elapsed time of your past runs, it will remember the weather at the time of the run and more.  As you beat previous times or distances, the app will let you know, and this is a great motivation to keep running and improving.  Another great post run feature is the shareable and interactive map (to Facebook) of your run.  Your route will actually be displayed as a rainbow of Red, Green, and Yellow which indicates pace at different sections of the run and your friends can interact to see statistics by location.  Cool!

map of run

Overall
I am not a runner, let me make that clear.  I play tennis and enjoy weight lifting, but never got into running; until now.  This app creates competition which is a great motivational tool.   The competition here is with yourself – to best your records and push harder each run.  It gives you the music, accountability (from Facebook friends), metrics, competition, and drive to run, keep running, and keep improving.  The use of GPS and accelerometer along with the creation of post run visuals and analytics make this a great workout tool.  Did I mention it’s free?  A clear 10/10 for all runners or aspiring runners!