Monthly Archives: December 2018

Apple Watch 4 and Nike+ Running Club; the Perfect Running Partners?

It has been a long time since I have updated this blog. I took some time off writing after a candidate I interviewed at work started talking about stuff he’d read on my blog. That weirded me out a bit, but I think I’m over it now.

So, time to catch up on all the stuff I’ve been doing!

I’ve kept my running at close to marathon distance for most of this year, with my long runs clocking in around 18-24 miles. I’ve recently relaxed a bit for the holidays, but plan to start cranking up the miles again in January.

Gear-wise I’ve upgraded a few bits and pieces: I now use the Apple Watch 4 with cellular service for all but my longest runs (15+ miles). I could probably use it for those really long runs, but sometimes find myself in unfamiliar places where I need to access a map so that I can get home. In those cases, having the phone screen is vital.

However, the rest of the time the latest iteration of Apple’s watch works really well. The latest version of iOS (12) introduced the podcast app to the watch and that is the main content I consume from my devices. This has meant that I have been able to purely use the watch on its own far more.

The Bluetooth connection to my steadfast Plantronics BB Fit headphones has been rock solid the whole time. Gone are the days of flaky Bluetooth connections and having to constantly reconnect the devices. What a relief! It is very rare that I experience any technical issues at all.

I also have some Apple AirPod headphones which I use occasionally while running. They stay in well but are not waterproof. Given how much I sweat, how often I’m out in the rain and how expensive they are, I tend not to take the risk of using them.

The version of the Apple Watch that I have also has the Nike+ integration. I don’t know how this differs from other apple watches as I’ve never had the other models, but for this version, the Nike+ app is handily integrated into many of the watch faces. This makes it a breeze to start up an open run and also to take advantage of some of their other features.

My favorite features include the many different flavors of coached training runs, often with various famous runners. These will take you on speed runs, recovery runs and even some long runs. The structure tends to be a running program with light interviewing of the ‘star’ runners built into the script. It feels good to hear from the athletes themselves; their motivations, problems, and methods all make interesting listening. The coaches are also pretty good and will make your harder training sessions fly by.

Nike have done a lot of work on the Nike+ running club app and it is a very solid platform now. Most of the niggles I had with earlier versions have been addressed at this point, although it still doesn’t allow you to setup interval training programs, but you can’t have everything.

Their shoe tracking tool has also become better allowing you to more easily track the wear you put on each run, along with other details of each run like where you run, how you feel and any other things you’d like to note down. The phone app even has integration for tweeting photos of your run and adding various frames or data to decorate the images.

Me at the finish of a personal marathon earlier this year @ Valley Forge.

All-in-all, the integration of these platforms seems to have come a long way since I started using it about two years ago (gosh, is it really that long ago? How time flies!).

As I start to build up my training again, I’ll be sure to update this site with things that I find.

The Perkiomen River Trail, mid-run.