Farewell Nike+


It is kind of fitting that yesterday I completed my 500 mile milestone on Nike+. Originally, I started using Nike+ because it was the only app that I could use on my iPod touch that would keep track of runs using the accelerometer.

After a while, I adapted a script to export the stats into a text file that I could share. I continued to use Nike+ because I had friends using it. But, recently the number of friends actively using Nike+ has been dwindling. Also, I found the app iSmoothRun which also worked for treadmill running and used the iPod’s accelerometer. iSmoothRun had the added benefit that it could use Bluetooth Smart devices (heart rate monitors and footpods) and could export to a whole slew of running sites — like Nike+, Strava, MapMyFitness, Movescount, Garmin Connect and more.

Since I started running outside again, getting my runs into Nike+ wasn’t much of an issue since there was the script tcx2nikeplus. But, Nike+ the site has always been unstable and slow. Often times I cannot sync with it because of maintenance (usually at night past 11pm PST). Using the site itself is a test of patience because each click resulted in a long wait. The trophies were really great, but they had a habit of not showing up after I  earned them, which is most demotivating. I also never understood the point of Nike Fuel.

This is not to say that the Nike+ site is all bad. The ideas that they have behind it are great. The trophies, if they worked are an awesome motivator (usually pushing me to run more in order to earn Bronze, Silver and even Gold trophies). The different color levels are really nice also. I really liked some of their non-hardcore data analysis, for instance the break down of when I run most (by days and also by times of day).

So, about hitting 500 miles on Nike+… I figured this would be a good time to break away from Nike+ and start using a different platform that is more open to third parties. I had been trying out Strava for a bit and really like the clean and fast interface. Strava recently worked with both Suunto and Garmin to allow for automatic synchronization of their respective sites to Strava. This makes it painless to have runs all in one place.

I recently picked up a Garmin Fenix 2 and have been using it for a month, uploading everything to Garmin Connect and having that mirrored over to Nike+ (using the tcx2nikeplus script) and Strava. The GPS accuracy on the Fenix 2 is not that great and I just picked up a Suunto Ambit3 to replace it — my first run with the Ambit3 showed that the accuracy on the Ambit3 is much (much) better than the Fenix 2. The Ambit3 uploads its runs to Movescount, which like Connect, automatically sends the runs to Strava too.

Unlike Nike+, Strava lets me export all my runs without any problems. Strava provides an API like Nike+ and because of this, I was able to adapt my Nike+ export script to also export my Strava statistics into a nice text file for reference (script here). Using the Nike+ Data Exporter website, I was able to dump all of my Nike+ runs into individual TCX and GPX files. From there, I imported all the TCX files into Strava and now I have all my run history in Strava.

So, after more than a year of using Nike+ to track 500 miles of running, I have now moved away from it. I will be using Strava for all my run tracking now. If you run or cycle and want to be friends on Strava, you can find me here.

Farewell Nike+

500 Miles on Flickr.

Running Outside

Fri 08/16/13 : 1.11  miles (14'22/mi)  fuel: 331   calories: 149  active: 0:15:56 | Injured      | Asics 9097   | Cloudy       | Road      | horrible. fell down.

A little over a year ago, while running in the dark morning, I came around a corner too fast in my neighborhood, tripped on a portion of the sidewalk that was pushed up from a tree root. I fell, tore up my face and broke my two front teeth.

The whole reason for running outside that day, and the couple of days before it was that my treadmill had broken and I figured it would be a nice change of pace to get outside and run. After the first run, I knew it was awesome and I loved it. I had a cheap Garmin Forerunner 10 GPS watch and I was really enjoying running outside. The running was more challenging because… well, the ground beneath me was not moving and helping to propel me.

After the fall, I had a phobia of running outside and got a new treadmill. I embarked on running faster and longer, but only using the treadmill. I definitely saw improvements in my running times and I was happy.

It was only until recently, about a year after my fall, that I wanted to go running outside again. I got another GPS watch (a Garmin Fenix 2) and shortly after that a heart rate monitor (a Mio Link) and have been splitting my running time between indoors and outdoors — with a definite preference for outdoors.

Running on the treadmill is much, much easier than running outdoors. I can easily run a 5k (3.11 miles) on the treadmill in less than 30 minutes (around a 8.5 to 9 minute mile pace). Outdoors, I barely scrape by under 10 minutes per mile on a two-mile run. And the effort to do the two-mile run outside versus the the 5k inside is much greater. I feel completely worn out and exhausted when running outside at lower speeds than when I run inside. Thank you wind resistance and elevation changes!

Right now, I am keeping track of my runs in a bunch of places. I will see about consolidating when it gets too overwhelming.

  • My place of truth is a spreadsheet that I have been using to keep track of my running for the last two years (first entry shows me running two miles in 25 minutes and 45 seconds).
  • The second place is Nike+ where I have been keeping track for a year.
  • The third place is Garmin Connect which I have been using since I got my watch on the first of September.

Random other places include:

  • MapMyRun
  • Strava (which automatically imports from Garmin Connect)
  • SportTracks (a Windows program that is quite nice).

The links above are to my profiles at the respective sites.

here is my destiny on Flickr.

here is my destiny

a year of running on Flickr.

lazy fridays…