Nike+ GPS: Making Exercise Fun

It seems like everybody could use a bit more exercise in their life. Unfortunately, gyms cost money and not everybody is a fan of sweating to the oldies in their living room. As a result, running outdoors will always be one popular and free way to lose weight and keep fit.

Taking a stroll around town can get a bit monotonous though and it would be nice to figure out a way to mix that up. Enter Nike+ GPS. Now, all of your runs are recorded as you go, tracked via GPS and even uploaded to Facebook when you’re done. Sounds like going for a jog just got a whole lot more fun, right? Let’s find out after the break.

How It Works

Remember a few years ago when Apple introduced the iPod Nano with Nike+ sensor? You had to buy these fancy shoes (or just install it yourself in the laces or tongue) and then your iPod Nano and shoes would work in sync. You’d learn how fast you were running and the music would change with how quickly or slowly you were running.

It was a neat concept, but buying the shoes was a pain and it seemed a bit pricey for a while. Instead of abandoning the concept, Nike decided to integrate these features into an iOS app.

Track your mileage as you go.

Track your mileage as you go.

The Nike+ GPS app takes the features of the previous version and works in GPS as well. This means you can track your run, watch it map out at the end and even see how fast or slow you were moving at the time. This lets you learn as you go, and improve yourself over time, giving yourself goals to beat in the process. This truly makes running fun.

The Test

To test out the app, I decided to give it a go. I’m not much of a runner, but I do own a bike, so I decided to take it for a spin around the block a few times using the Nike+ GPS app each time via my iPhone 4 strapped to an incase armband. Before I could get going on my first run though, I had to set things up.

Before you start, you have to build a profile for yourself. This includes your height, weight, gender and how you want the app to record your stats, either in English or Metric units of measure. Once that was done, I moved on to starting my first ride.

Choose how your goals, then try to beat them.

Choose how your goals, then try to beat them.

I decided to plug in a Basic run, meaning that I wasn’t going for any particular goal. You can also choose to run against the clock if you’re trying to hit a certain time, or you can go for distance as well if you have something in mind.

After that, I selected no music for my ride since I was streaming from the SiriusXM app at the time, but you can choose a playlist, what’s playing on the iPod or just to shuffle your music if you prefer. I didn’t want to share my ride with my social network, but if you find that kind of thing motivating, you can tie in the Nike+ GPS app with your twitter and Facebook accounts. After that I picked my location — outdoors — and I was ready to go.

One catch though: I did my first ride all the way through and the app wasn’t running. Once the Play button pops up on the screen, you’re not actually ready to go. You have to hit it again and then you’ll hear someone telling you that your workout is starting. I learned that one the hard way!

In Use

I recorded my next ride correctly, then a day or so later I did a third ride. As I was riding, a little voice told me that I was getting close to my previous record. If I could just go a little bit further, I could beat it. Sounded pretty good to me, so instead of turning towards home, I headed off in another direction.

Once you're done, you can view a map of your route, and see your pace.

Once you're done, you can view a map of your route, and see your pace.

Once I was done, I checked out a map of the route I took. By selecting Pace, I was able to see where I was at my best, and where I could use some work. I also received a congratulations from Mr. Lance Armstrong for doing so good and exceeding my previous goal. What’re the chances he knew I was riding my bike?

Results

I don’t enjoy working out. That said, I understand that I need to work out to stay healthy. To make it enjoyable though, I need something like this to get me going and motivating — which is exactly what Nike+ GPS did for me.

Watching my pace on the screen made my think about how I was riding and what I could do to improve. Getting motivation from the coaches made me want to do better with every ride, and setting a goal for every ride made it more like a video game than work for me.

Is it perfect? I’m not a hardcore runner, so I can’t really say that it’s perfect for everybody. But for me, it provided positive motivation, gave me stats to look at later and made me want to work harder. In my book, that makes for a pretty solid app.


Summary

Track your runs and your run progress on your iPhone.

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