Tag Archives: iphone

Running with Nike+ on Apple Watch

Time to answer some questions about using the watch on its own.

The Nike+ Running Club app has been deeply integrated into the Apple Watch now since they introduced the GPS version. But I feel it is only now that it is all starting to come together and work as a holistic system.

Do you still need the phone with you?

No, you can now just run with the watch. I have the Apple Watch 4 with both the GPS and a paid cell line connected to the watch. This, in theory, means that I have everything I need to make this work. You don’t really need to have the cell service connected to track your run, but I like the security of being able to call for help (for me or anyone else that has problems) or to pull up a map if I get lost.

There are some features that you can only setup by using the companion app on the iPhone, including: shoe tracking, route details (trail, road, etc.), and note taking. But the core items for running now work independent of the phone. You also have to use the phone app to configure the screen layout options for the Nike+ displays on the watch. Very odd, but I guess they do this to keep the watch interface as simple as possible.

Some other observations with this: if you want to use the watch during the run and have your phone with you, you’ll probably still need to start it from your watch. Occasionally, when I start it from my phone it will appear on my watch, but mostly it doesn’t.

Can I Run with Podcasts?

When I run I tend to listen to podcasts which now have an app on the Apple Watch, since iOS 12. You’ll need to pair you Bluetooth headphones to the watch to make this work. However, it doesn’t support playlists, so this means that after each episode ends, you have to switch over to the podcast app and select another to listen to. This works well and I haven’t yet had that screw up the run tracking.

To achieve this while running and using the Nike+ run club app, single press the button on the Apple Watch (not the scroll wheel) and select the podcast app. Not the ‘now playing’ app as that won’t help you. Once in the podcast app, select the option in the top left corner to go back to the list and select another episode. Once you have it, press the play button.

I’ve noticed that the watch will switch back to the run automatically if you wait long enough, but I generally just take care of this myself by double-clicking the scroll wheel to switch to the last app used. In this case, that will take you back to the Nike+ app.

What About the Guided Runs?

The iPhone app offers a large selection of guided runs where a coach or celeb will talk o through various different run types. This is now available on the watch. You have to make sure to download the in you want to your watch before you set out, it once it is there I found that the integration works really well.

These runs are typically very high quality, with good banter between the coaches and any celeb guests. They will help you understand differently paces and keep the weekly grind more interesting.

This week, for instance, I did a speed run hosted by a British coach (Coach MacRae, Sally?) that did a six minute warm up, a pause for a stretch, then followed up with a minute at mile pace (9/10), three minutes at 5k pace, a few more minutes at 10k pace, then a few more minutes at recovery pace. It was unusual to do a speed run that got slower through the progression, but it was quite a refreshing approach.

Recorded on Apple Watch. Tweeted from iPhone in NRC app.

These guided runs are well implemented and work really well. If have Apple Music, they will integrate with a sound track, but I don’t pay for that!

Completing the Run.

At the end of the run, you can simply stop and wait for the watch to detect this, or slide the screen to find the pause button. Once paused, you are presented with the options to ‘resume’ the run or to ‘stop’ it.

It the gives you a results summary screen and may announce some congratulatory commentary from a famous runner/celeb.

If you scroll to the bottom of the results you’ll see the ‘done’ button. Press this to finish it all up.

Updating the Stats.

Once you are back with your phone, you’ll be able to update the stats and other info in the companion app on the iPhone.

Tracking the mileage on each pair of shoes is very useful if you are putting in a lot of miles, although you’ll know when your shoes are done by the way your legs and feet feel at the end of a run. For my running style and shoe combination I can get around 400 miles per pair. That may be significantly more for some people, or less for others. The only way to find out is to track the shoes.

Awards

The Nike+ app does like to award achievements as you progress through the various programs. You may get a trophy for running 3x per week, for example. For taking part in the Sunday 10k.

Will You Miss Anything Running Without The Phone?

The camera. As a blogger it is helpful to have the camera with you to snap a shot for the page, or to memorialize a glorious sunrise. But at this time of year it is fine as it is mainly pitch dark when I run in the mornings.

The playlists. If you are going on a long run and want to string a number of podcasts together, this can be a pain. You’ll have to manually select and start each one on the watch. You also need to make sure that they downloaded to the watch. It is worth noting, however, that you can use Apple Music playlists just fine.

Social Media integration. Possibly. You cannot do any of this from the watch. You have to do it when you sync back up with the Nike+ app on the phone.

Summary

I’m loving having the freedom to run without my phone. It is quite liberating but still allows me to collect the stats I’m interested in and listen to music or podcasts. Today I ran 12 miles with just the watch and my Bluetooth headphones, and everything worked perfectly (again).

I’ve been up since 6:30 am, I ran 12 miles while listening to podcasts with just the watch, I took my son trampolining and tracked my exercise there with the watch and paid from some stuff using Apple Pay. It is now 9pm and the watch still has 22% power left. Pretty. Darned. Good. 🙂

Nice work, Nike!

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Nike+ Running Club Update #3

Another week goes by and more quirks are experienced.

Firstly, and perhaps most annoyingly, I had problems with the Apple Watch Nike+ during my long run last week. I was scheduled to run 13.5 miles (on a weekday morning which is, in itself, ridiculous) but at mile 5.5, the damn app just stopped working.

I tried to restart it on the watch but it came up as starting afresh. I didn’t have time to investigate too much as I wanted to complete my run, so I just started the app on my phone and continued for the remaining 8 miles. When I got home I checked in the log and it did at least still have the data for the first run. Phew. 

Then what do you do at the end? The training programme only lets you put one run towards the goal for the day. You cannot combine the efforts. So, after playing around a few times, I gave up and manually created an entry for the 13.5 miles and attributed that to the training plan.

On the Friday it had me doing a 4×400 meter speed run, with 4:30 mins recovery. It was only 21F outside that day so there is was no way that I was going to hang around in the cold for four and a half minutes between each set of reps. I did 1.5 mins and then started out again. This meant that by the last set I was pretty knackered. 

For the route, I found that the cul de sac behind my house was almost exactly 400m around the perimeter. The first run took 6:28… not too bad. The second was faster at 6:08 and then the following sets were back up at the 6:28.

Again, the speed run requires that you keep the phone in your hand so that you can press the button for the start and end of each rep. This makes me feel a little uneasy running hard with a cellphone in my hand.

Friday Easy Four-Miler

Another day, another distance. Today was a short four mile run to clear the legs out from yesterday’s speed work. It got cold again and was 24F when I went out. Brr. But that’s what layers are for and I was toasty in about half a mile.

The mapmyrun app was completely and utterly screwed up again today, measuring 13.5 miles in 12 minutes. Both the time and the distance are way off. Here’s a screen shot because I am so incredulous:

20140117-065931.jpgThere were two obviously wrong GPS readings that threw out the large number, but even the small local reading were very inaccurate. This annoys me for a couple of reasons: 1) I pay for MVP membership with mapmyrun and this renders the app useless, 2) their service syncs up to my works health plan and earns me points, but it is so inaccurate it is now stealing money from me as exercise has to be measured at least at 20 minutes. 3) the email responses have been automated and useless. Nothing has worked.

It is working fine on my wife’s iPhone, just not mine. Crazy.

Thank goodness for Nike+. 4.12 miles in 33:50 with a pace of 8:12. Right in the zone (as I am ignoring the 9:07 pace requested in the plan as that is tooooooooo slow for me).

I also checked my shoes this morning to see if they are wearing on the outer edges and they are after just 15 miles. Looks like it’s me rather than the shoes causing the problem. I wonder how you correct the lateral angle that your foot hits the ground? My little toes seems to strike before the middle if my feet.