Tag Archives: nike+

More on the Nike+ Running Club Experiment

As I progress through the marathon training programme concocted by the Nike+ app, I am enjoying the challenging runs that it is assigning me. 

After last week’s benchmark run it has started to add pace requirements to the runs that I do. Currently, they are all well below the pace that I generally run at which seems a little strange. Perhaps this will adjust as the programme continues?

On Sunday I decided that I didn’t want to do the suggested exercise which was to tryout the Nike+ Fitness Club application. Instead, I opted to run 12 miles. 

The run went well and was an enjoyable run on the Perkiomen Trail from Schwencksville. 

On completing the run, I chose to categorise it as an ‘Other’ event as I had already competed all the runs for that week. 

Come Monday morning and a new training week and guess what? The app tells me I need to do an 11.5 mile run. On a Monday morning. After doing 12 miles the day before. Bugger off!

I tried to reclassify the previous day’s run so that it would count as this one, but to no avail. There’s no way to edit the assignment of previous runs; even the website doesn’t offer a way to do this. Boo. 

Because of this, the app thinks I bailed on the long run for the week. :-(. 

I did actually go out and do a four miler but that isn’t twelve miles!

Roll on to Wednesday morning and the prescribed run was a speed run with 8x800m intervals and 2:45 recovery (strangely specific). 

I wasn’t too happy about this as that’s a lot of intervals but opted to hit the streets. Running track intervals on the road is tough as you have to allow for traffic and the ground is not flat; hills in fast intervals. Yuck. 

For the recovery periods I simply jogged a little and ended up running a total of around 7.5 miles. 

Did you notice how vague that was?

Why? Well, the speed test only counts the distance you run during the speed intervals and not what you cover in the recovery. 

Four miles is all that counted from the 7.5 I covered. Grrr. Not best pleased. 

Any way, one useful thing you can do with these 800s is use them to calculate your estimated marathon time using the “Yasso 800” approach. I know this is a correlation prediction rather than a causation, but it is fun to play with numbers. 

After some finagling of the numbers I worked out that my marathon time would be 3 hours 43 minutes. That’s pretty close to my current expectations of my performance. 

Back to the Nike+ stuff: I’m not best pleased that I have to run the speed tests with the phone in my hands. As I got sweaty I was worried I’d drop my phone. I think I’m going to stick some strong magnets inside my gloves so that they will grip the metal plate in my phone case and take some of my worry away… I’ll let you know how that works out. 

Have a fun week running. 🙂


Nike+ Run Club Experiment

I have been an avid user of mapmyrun for many, many years, but with my purchase of the Apple Watch Nike+, I’m trying out that app for a while.

My trial with Nike+ continues with the third week of my plan and some variations on the types of run it is having me do.

Firstly, it had me run a speed test this week. This wasn’t a great experience. The speed test is laid out as running 400 meters five time, with a two minute rest break in between. If you try to start this from your Apple Watch Nike+ it will tell you to use the phone. When you use the phone you will quickly realize that you’ll have to keep your phone in your hand while you do the run! 

After you start the run, you need to watch the screen to see when you pass the 400 meter mark, then you have to press a button. This starts the two minute rest timer. Once it passes two minutes you need to press the button again to start the next 400 meter section… there are no audio prompts, no guidelines and no feedback. 

Again there is no integration to the watch whatsoever.

At the end of the run, the disembodied voice of Kevin Hart blasted through my brain congratulating me on the run.

My feeling about this exercise routine is that it was very poorly implemented.

The second run type was a benchmark run. This was really well implemented. A benchmark run is a seven minute gentle warm-up, followed by three minutes of all-out effort and five minutes cool-down time.

When you start the run, a calm-voiced trainer gentle talks to you about what you are about to do. They introduce the form of the run, why you are here and give you good general coaching encouragement. Throughout the warm-up the coach builds your enthusiasm for the coming effort.

There’s a count down to the theee minutes and you’re off! The coach chimes in a couple of times during this hard effort encouraging you to push harder and letting you know how far through you are. Then, all too soon, the hard effort is over and you are in the cool down phase.

Here the coach tells you what you achieved, massages your ego a little and reminds you why you are doing this.

Once you complete the run, that disembodied Kevin Hart voice comes back to award you a gold star.

What a difference between the implementations! 2/10 for the speed routine. 9/10 for the benchmark. 

I’ll fill you in with more details as I move through the program.

Froze My Butt Off

Finally some wintery weather has descended in the Philly suburbs. 

A light dusting of snow arrived Friday night and then the temperatures plummeted into the low teens Fahrenheit.  

This led to some great playtime with the kids on Saturday and to a very cold run on Sunday morning. 

The actual temp listed was 13F but the real feel was 3F; so getting the right kit was imperative. 

Kit included:

  • Snowboarding socks
  • Under armour underoos (an extra layer for butt)
  • Sugoi winter leggings
  • Under armour cold weather long sleeve shirt (x2)
  • Cycling wind breaker layer (has long back pockets that also cover your butt). Make sure this is a visibility colour against snow; do not wear white or grey. 
  • Balaclava
  • Baseball cap
  • Winter mittens

10 miles later, all that froze was my butt. My face and hands were toasty. I wore my iPhone holder inside my outer layer to stop the phone from freezing up. 

I wasn’t fast but then no one would be with all those layers on. 9:07 average pace reported by Nike+. 

I’m writing this sitting on a heat pad to defrost my extremities 🙂

Tech-wise I ran with my Lumo Run device today and I got ‘in the green’ results for four of the five measured categories, with the only exception being my hip rotation. 

I used Nike+ on my Apple Watch for tracking and started it from my watch. This meant that to hear the announcement for distance and speed I had to hold the watch up to my head as the sound wasn’t routed through my headphones that were connected to my iPhone. Nike really need to get their integration worked out. 

Now to get showered before my sweat causes me to get a chill. 

Have a warm week. 

And he’s back…

Greetings blogosphere!

Did you miss me?

I got caught up in spending time with family and really cut back my running for the last couple of months, so I stopped updating the blog. I seem to be back now, however.

Lots to catch up on but I’ll spread that out over the next few posts.

Reasons I’m back:

  1. I managed to run my traditional Boxing Day marathon earlier this week. It half killed me as I hadn’t been running enough to really be able to do it easily. Lesson learned. 
  2. I just upgraded my Apple Watch (original) to the Apple Watch Series 2 Nike+ version… and it is lovely. 

Today’s run was my first with the new watch and it worked great.

I had a music playlist on the watch and connected my Bluetooth headset to it to get some good sounds for my run.

I then used the built-in Nike+ application to record my run…and I left my cell phone at home! 

The Nike+ app (Nike+ Run Club) is really well executed, easy to read, use and it gives good feedback through the headphones, too.

As for the gps tracking on the new watch, well it was within 0.01 of the distance that is usually measured by my iPhone, so I’m going to call that accurate. Given that the iPhone number can vary by more than that on any one run, I’m thinking this is in the right range. It was old to see the route instantly on my watch when I completed. For some reason it hasn’t picked up my heart rate info from the Apple Watch so I’ll have to investigate that.

The watch looks cool (now I sound old) and I went with the model that has the light watch and strap with Volt colored inset holes on the strap.

It goes well with my shorts and belly in this shot. Yeah, I’m going to need to work on that a little. 🙂

I’m quite looking forward to giving some updates so I won’t blow it all on this first post. Have fun out there and enjoy your New Year training routines.

Running Commute: Double Done

I completed the seven miles home at a slightly slower pace of 8:36. But it is done. Combined with my two mile walk for lunch I’ve covered sixteen miles on foot today.

My face is stinging from the sweat and I need to shower and eat but other than that I feel fine.

The way home is tough as it is mostly uphill. Blah.

I thought I’d post a stat from my nike+ page:

IMG_3668.PNG150 miles in thirty days compared with my sex/age group average of 32.1. Cool.

Chills are Multiplyin’

What’s this? Another sub-60F morning with a gentle cooling breeze. Is this really the middle of summer?

Another fantastic morning for running. After Sunday’s fainting episode (see the updated blog entry) I had a pint of water before I went out and then loaded up with a few shot blocks in my SPIBelt and my blinkie.

I chose one of my favourite out and back routes and struck out. Within 100 yards I saw another runner (she looked very experienced; good form and musculature) and nodded “mornin'”, then decided to take the more challenging hilly version of the run.

Once my legs warmed up at about the one mile point my speed started to improve. I was trying to remember to do the butt clench while running and think I did a reasonable job of that this time. My pace throughout looked pretty good.

20140729-065049-24649158.jpgThere are a couple of very respectable splits in that set.

On the return run I think I saw the same woman heading back the other way. I again nodded a greeting but it wasn’t returned this time.

I completed the run strong and without any faintness at all with a good pace of 7:44 avg over 6.6 miles. Not too shabby given this was a recovery run from the long weekend run.

I received a ‘congratulations’ message from Paula Radcliffe courtesy of nike+ for completing another 500 kilometres, so that was nice.

Chill Out It’s Summer!

Or should that be:

It’s chilly out and it’s summer?.

I went out slightly earlier this morning to accommodate my wife’s need to run as well, but I was actually cold when I went outside. That seems like such an alien feeling at this point in the summer. Normally by mid-July it is crazy hot all the time.

Don’t get me wrong as I am not complaining. This is wonderful to run in.

Today I did a quick loop run with a little bit of hills. I had one issue with a gate I couldn’t get open and, once through, I couldn’t get it to stay closed. Despite this I still managed four miles with a 7:40 avg pace.

20140725-061347-22427065.jpgI think it is always interesting that you can see exactly where the hill is. I enjoy the fact that I know the area so well now that I can string different parts of various routes together to make the length that I want to achieve. MapMyRun had this at 3.92 but nike+ recorded 4.06. The difference: all those tiny steps I took to get up the staircase hill near the local middle school. 🙂

In other news I achieved the fourth level on Nike+ this week (I’ve only been using it this year). I expected the site to give me an achievement message but I guess they figure you are hooked in sufficiently by this stage. 🙂

Being Fast is Fabulous

Another one of those mornings today where I just felt fast. Standing at the top of the driveway looking out down the road I knew it was going to rock.

Then I went out too hard and found myself slowing dramatically (arms waving, tears; too much?) at the half mile mark. To add insult to this my GPS decided to be freaky for the first mile of the run reporting ridiculous speeds (4 minute miles); come on, I was fast but not that fast.

After finishing the four miles I had sections that were sub 7:00 pace and the average for my run that included some extra hills (because I haven’t done enough of them this week!) was still 7:32. Thanks Nike+ for working when GPS deserts me.

To top this off I decided to ride to work today as a bonus. I chose to take my road bike rather than my clunky hybrid and now I feel even faster. Damn I love this bike; such a smooth fast ride. The Specialized Roubaix is such a great bike.

Let’s hope I can find enough reserves of muscle power to get me home tonight. Perhaps I could take in some hills en route? Hmmm… 🙂

Friday Morning Combo Run

The temp this morning was a perfect 55F when I stepped outside. Oh yeah!

So I was in a quandary as to what type if run I should do. Should I run track to make up for Wednesday night’s meltdown? Should I run hills? Should I just relax and enjoy it?

I chose to do a bit of all three. I relaxed during the first two miles while I ran to a hill. Then I jogged down and ran hard back up the half mile hill. After this I tried to do a negative split on each remaining half mile. For the final half mile I shifted up to close to track speed and ripped my way back home.

A little bit of everything.

20140620-065726-25046463.jpg5.5 miles with and avg pace of 7:53 and some nice speed at the end.

Feeling good about things and setup for a nice Friday.

Only twelve miles to go before I graduate to the next level of my nike+ account; level 4, whatever that means.

Have a great weekend out there!

Human Fast. Machine Slow.

It was a warm morning and I was up early to feed baby Louie. This meant I was ready to head out the door around 6:15 including some light dynamic stretching.

I ran and it felt like I was moving quickly. I was happy with how I got up the first big hill and the second one. Then the voice on my phone chimes in with “pace 8:38”. Huh? What the heck? That can’t be right. I kept running despite the machine telling me I was slow or, perhaps, in spite of the machine! I had planned a familiar route with a slight variation on the loop point and I stuck to it.

Gradually the machine agreed that I was in fact running faster and the average time started creeping down.

I had to stop three times to cross roads where there was a line of traffic so this affected my time too.

In the end, 6.7 miles in 8:06. Nike+ had me at 7:52 average and that keeps tracking while I am running on the spot waiting to cross the road. So I guess the truth lies somewhere inbetween.

It felt fast to me. Damn stupid machines.

One odd thing today… It seems my toes are trying to escape from my running shoes.

20140527-072744-26864455.jpgA hole! That’s not cool. My Brooks Beast shoes always had a section of harder material over the big toes toe box area, but this model doesn’t. I guess it shows that I am lifting my toes while I run which I probably shouldn’t be doing.