Nike+ Run Club: A Fitness Application Review
When looking into the history of athletic brands there is one that tends to stick out. It started as Blue Ribbon Sports in 1964 and was co-founded by a legend in the running community: Bill Bowerman. He was the coach of Oregon track and field during its heyday, which included this guy that you may or may not be familiar with, Steve Prefontaine. While the company has its fingerprints all over the sports world, running was how it got its start, so it’s only natural that Nike would have the best running app on the market, right? Check out our review of the Nike+ Run Club app, try it for yourself, and let us know what you think!
Nike+ Run Club Basic Features
Nike+ Run Club is a widely known app for runners with a huge user base that befits its brand recognition. In terms of core features, it has everything you’d expect from a run-tracking app and in terms of the interface when actually in the process of running, it looks really nice. It has a clean and easy to use look with buttons that are large enough to hit while at the tail end of your finishing kick. There are several different ways you can set up the app: Basic is exactly what it sounds like: open-ended; Distance allows you to have your goal distance set so that the run notifies you when you reach the finish line; Duration gives you the option of setting your run up to be a certain amount of time, and finally, Speed allows you to do interval training.
Nike+ Run Club Special Features
Nike+ Run Club integrates Apple Music as well as Spotify into its interface and is quite simple to use (I did experience some random pauses when I used the feature, particularly in areas with spotty coverage due to tree cover.)
Another useful feature is the ability to select a workout plan that is tailored to your goals and fitness level. Labeled on the home screen as “My Coach,” there are three different options: Get Started, Get More Fit and Get Ready for Race Day. The Get More Fit option includes some workouts on the Nike Training Club app, while the Get Ready for Race Day supplies plans for every distance from 5k to Marathon.
As with most run-tracking apps, Nike+ Run Club has a leaderboard function, though it is fairly simple, with a list of your friends who have completed runs in a given week, month, or year. If you want to open it up a bit more, you can create a hashtag in the “community” section of the app, which is where you find the quasi-global leaderboard – again, it depends on hashtagging your runs.
The feature that truly sets Nike+ Run Club apart from the competition (for good or ill) is the social aspect. When I first started running, it was with this app’s predecessor, Nike+. Where some apps throw your run into a feed, sort of like Twitter, with the amount of detail dependent on your privacy settings, Nike+ Run Club is oriented more like Instagram. Where on Strava (depending on privacy settings), you can actually look at every portion of your friend’s running route, on Nike+ Run Club, you choose a picture you took or a Nike provided poster, and share that to your feed. Your route then appears on the picture (if you so choose) as just a colored outline of the route, as opposed to a full map view.
Somewhat controversially (if we’re being generous), Nike opted to completely redesign the Nike+ app in August of 2016. Where the bones of the app had stayed mostly the same for several years, this time around, Nike decided to to a total rehaul which was met with…well, there was some conversation. Nike+ users were caught off guard and there were quite a few PR fires that Nike had to put out regarding the redesign – primarily these fires were related to disgruntled users who felt blindsided when certain features of the previous app were not included in the redesign with no real explanation at the time. The redesign really highlights something briefly mentioned in our review of the Strava app a few weeks ago: the new Instagram-like feed is an extremely easy way to showcase their new gear offerings as well as their sponsored athletes and their celebrity spokesman for the app, the inimitable Kevin Hart.
Final Thoughts on Nike+ Run Club
Nike offers a broad scope of products and a huge community of users to get all you can out of their running app. It feels very social, and some might argue more social image-oriented as opposed to running stats-oriented. There is a definite niche that Nike is striving to fill with this app, and it’s integration with their Nike Training Club app likely means there are many more users who are not necessarily as serious about “running” as they are about simply working out. Another note is that while you can sync Nike+ Run Club with many running GPS watches, Nike also boasts a branded Apple Watch which could be a draw for any out there are in the market for a smartwatch that has workout capabilities as well.
While Nike is the behemoth for a reason, I wouldn’t say this is the app for stats-oriented runners. It offers great social features and Nike uses its considerable cultural influence to get plenty of big names to endorse and help encourage those of us who are just getting started. Where it falls short is in the analytics aspect of the running game. You aren’t going to find out much about your stride length or get insights into whether you should back off or push through in real-time like you can get with some of their competitors.
What do You Think of Nike+ Run Club?
We want to hear from you – what do you think of the Nike+ Run Club app? Do you use it every day? Let us know what you love about the app or how it’s helped you in your running journey. At the end of the day, we love apps that help keep our feet hitting the pavement!