Running with Tech

Nike+ collection
Nike+ collection

I’m trying to workout out whether I am getting hooked on running or obsessed with the data I can gain from my runs. What I do know is that the data is very helpful and has been instrumental in helping me track my progress, learn from my runs and improve.

As mentioned on my longest, fastest run on Friday my Nike+Running app on my iPhone let me down and didn’t log a route – probably due to poor GPS signal. On Wednesday the same app caused me to have a few false starts.

I have my Nike+ Fuelband and am impressed with how motivating it can be but it doesn’t track position or pace.

I am currently using the Get Running app which is based on the Couch to 5K training regime and I am nearly at the end of the training. I’m trying to decide how I will proceed after the coaching has ended.

At present I listen to the coach and have Nike+Running at the same time. This enables me to be coached and to listen to music and track my run, data, pace, GPS etc. Until recently I was happy with that but as I have had a couple problems with the Nike app I am not so happy and don’t want to be let down by it. That said I am looking at alternatives and all of them are from Nike!

I am looking at a couple possible combinations for tracking my runs etc as follows:

  1. Keep what I have now – Nike+Running on my iPhone
  2. Nike+GPS watch plus my iPod Shuffle
  3. iPod Nano (with Nike+ built in) and Nike+ GPS watch

Option 1 doesn’t cost me any more as I have it all already and I could add additional apps (such as Zombie Runner) to keep me motivated. I do however feel self conscious about running with my iPhone. What happens if stumble and break my phone? It’s an expensive error to fix.

Nike+ GPS Watch
Nike+ GPS Watch

Option 2 means I would have to pay £149 for the watch and could use it to track my routes etc via the built in Tomtom GPS. I think I would have more faith in it working than the iPhone app as it is specifically designed to do this task.

My old iPod Shuffle would provide the soundtrack to my run independent of the watch. It would only play music though.

Neither would give any audible feedback which I prefer now and I think I would miss it. I know the watch gives visual feedback on the display but I’m not sure if I would get used to it.

Option 3 is the most expensive as I would be looking to buy the watch and the Nano. The only thing I see as being beneficial from this route is the audible feedback you get from the Nano within the app software.

Nike+ running on iPod Nano

What I don’t know is if the Nano announces progress such as every km or every 5 km. Does anyone know if this is something you can turn on and off on the Nano?

Ultimately this is all personal preference and although it sounds like it, the technology is not giving me an excuse to run. The technology so far has and will continue to be an aid to my running.

I enjoy the audible feedback I get on progress and I cannot imagine running without some music to motivate me. I simply need to work out how I move to my next evolutionary step I running (no pun intended) one I no longer need the coaching app.

How do other runners work out their pacing, their speed etc?

I would be very happy to hear how/what other runners do for their runs and how they came to the decision they have about what aids their runs and why they chose the relevant kit etc they are using to plug in some kit or not…

Oh and why Nike+? Purely because I like the measures and the method they use, I already have a Body of runs logged with them and I like their approach to running and data. I’m not sure I’m really in the market for high end professional tracking kit.



12 Comments Add yours

  1. Enda Guinan says:

    Tech tech tech!

    I run with the Nike+ on the Nano (but that may change now I have an iPhone). Of course it doesn’t have GPS but running in the city means I can pretty easily track my routes (before of after) with WalkJogRun and then just punch in the time from the Nano.

    You can silence the Nano completely or let it announce various ‘milestones’. You don’t have any fine control over this alas, so it tells you ‘half way point’ or ‘x mins remaining’ depending on the length of the run you choose.

    I’d get a nice robust sports case for the iPhone and not bother with any more tech.

  2. dgjury says:

    Whilst I have the SportWatch GPS and absolutely love it, I’d say get an armband and stick with your phone.

    You won’t get GPS data with the Nano. Sometimes Nike+ Connect fails to upload according to plan too, so you lose your GPS data. It happens

    In an ideal world, you want to run naked, ie with as little as possible. I run with my SportWatch and nothing else. No music. No phone. Just me. This happens over time. One day your iPod will die from the sweat and you’ll just keep running. You surpass the tech.

    It’s always handy having a phone in an emergency.

  3. trunkguy says:

    Enda thanks for the clarification. I wasn’t sure about the Nano and although it’s small it doesn’t do anymore than what I have now.

    I have an incase armband for my iPhone 4S which is great, it stays in place and has a small Velcro fastening for a key etc.

    I thinks I may stay with the iPhone for now and see how I get along.

    Did you install Nike+Running?

    Did you see today was the Nike+ British 10K? How about you can I sign up for next year?

  4. trunkguy says:

    Dave that’s a very good point about having a phone on you – especially as my boss broke her arm/shoulder running and used her iPhone to alert the family shed fallen.

    I think I will stick with what I have for now. (The watch is tempting though 🙂 )

  5. John says:

    I don’t run with anything technical apart from my phone in case of emergencies. Its not by choice, ideally, I’d like a Garmin watch to log my routes and give me lots of data. I love my technology but cant afford a Garmin at the moment.

    1. trunkguy says:

      John that’s the ultimate choice though isn’t it? This tech is all so tempting but ultimately there’s a cost involved. I did promise myself I wouldn’t get sucked in by all the kit and I guess I have to remain true to this and to myself. Honestly my iPhone does a great job (and I did spend £35 on an arm band!)

  6. Enda Guinan says:

    Sure, let’s sign up for next year. Or a smaller scale 10K like the Greenwich one.

    I didn’t use to run with my phone, but when I got injured last year, I had no money, no Oystercard, no phone and had to hobble 6K (I got lost) back home. Very very stoopid. I learned quickly to take a phone from then on.

    1. trunkguy says:

      Yeah that’s a good point. I should learn from your experience.

      Ok well maybe we need to work out a good run and see how our pace compares etc.

  7. Jacinta says:

    Which option did you end up with, and thoughts?

    1. Keith says:

      Originally just the iPhone with iSmoothRun installed

      I ran like that for about a year.

      Now I no longer listen to music and I track my runs with a Garmin Forerunner 210 and a heart rate monitor. I still carry the iPhone in case of emergencies.

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