App of the week: Nike+ GPS

This week I take a look at a classic iPhone app that has changed the face of fitness forever, the ever popular and worth-way-more-than-you-paid-for-it classic, Nike+ GPS.

Not to be confused with the original Nike+ that comes pre-installed on all new iPhone 4 devices (which wirelessly interacts with a special chip that is to be placed into a special shoe), this version makes use of the device’s GPS capabilities and doesn’t require anything more than a good signal, great weather and the desire to get out onto the road.

As you will know from reading my last reviews, I am a sucker for smooth and beautifully designed user interfaces, and this is where this app trumps its competition. Every element, from the big buttons and the sleek-looking timer, is perfectly designed to ensure that nothing detracts from your run. The way the app interacts with you while running is also something that stands out: you can set voice reporting according to time, distance and pace, and it ever so elegantly lowers the volume of your music so that it can tell you that you’ve just completed your seventh kilometer, you’ve run for 30 minutes and that your current pace is 4.3 kilometers per hour.

Using this app couldn’t be simpler really, start the app, tap ‘Start New Run’, choose from a few run choices (target distance, target time or basic run) and there you go. Choose your music, click ‘begin workout’ and start running. Nike+ will then track your pace, your distance and route; while keeping you updated you as you go. Nike+ GPS simplifies your run for you, all you have to worry about is keeping your pace up. If you’ve allowed the app to interact with Facebook, you’ll even hear a loud applause over your earphones every time somebody likes or comments on your run, which sounds silly but really helps a lot when you’re struggling up a massive hill!

A recent update has also added the ability to choose whether an incoming call pauses your run or not. I like this a lot because if you’re using the earphones that come with the device, you can answer, have a conversation and end your call without even touching the device, and your timer goes undisturbed.

When you come to the end of your run (be it time or distance), you simply click to end your run. Nike+ GPS will then sum it all up for you, add it to your total distance and play you a little congratulatory message from a top athlete like Lance Armstrong, which, coupled with the endorphins and nice warm feeling in your legs, really makes you feel good. You can then effortlessly record how you felt throughout the run, what the weather was like, what terrain you ran on and any other notes you’d like to make (I normally make a note of what I was listening to) before syncing it with the Nike+ web app and Facebook.

Once you’ve showered and cooled down from your run, the app allows you to view your run and route on a Google Maps like interface. Here you can switch between seeing your route according to distance, which shows markers every kilometer, or pace, which shows your run with a heat signature showing you where you ran fastest and slowest. This really helps if you’re looking to better your time on a favourite route, or just to remember where you’ve run before.

Whether you are training for the Comrades marathon, 2Oceans half or just blowing off a bit of steam after a hard day at the office, Nike+ GPS is a must have. Aside from the motivation that it provides and the way it effortlessly records all the necessary data, it is a great example of just how powerful and feature packed the iPhone is. I highly recommend this app to anyone who is currently running, or looking to start, and because it’s the 5 year anniversary of the first Nike+ system, Nike is giving this app away for free on the App store, so do yourself a favour, get hold of it now!

Name: Nike+ GPS
Publisher: Nike, Inc.
Category: Health & Fitness
Price: $1.99
Size: 15 MB

Available for iPhone



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