Gear Review: How the Nike + iPod Can Be Like Your Own Running Coach

I just tried out the Nike + iPod device to use try out on my running workouts, and I thought I would share my thoughts on it. I have actually only ran with it twice, and I think that overall I like it, and think it is worth the price I paid.

Nike Plus iPodWhat is the Nike Plus iPod
If you are not familiar with the Nike + iPod device, basically it consists of a transmitter that fits in your shoe, and a receiver that plugs into your iPod, iPod touch, or iPhone. The purpose of the device is to track your time and distance, and allow you to listen to music simultaneously and easily. As I told my wife, basically the transmitter device is a glorified pedometer. The device also provides you with a way to keep up with a running journal.

Where do I put the transmitter part?
Some of the Nike shoes have a slot in the sole of the shoe where you can place the transmitter. If you do not have a Nike shoe with a slot, then you can buy the Belkin holster like I bought that straps on to the shoe.

Belkin Pocket for Nike Plus iPod





The Setup
As I normally do with new gadgets, I ripped the device out of the box and threw the instructions off to the side. I put the transmitter into my shoe, and hit the button on the back. I am using an iPhone 4, so I plugged the receiver into the phone. When I plugged the receiver into the phone, though, a message appeared that noted I did not actually need the receiver, because the iPhone 4 has one included. So, that was definitely a plus for the Nike + device. If you have an iPhone, all you have to really keep up with is the little transmitter.

The Software
If you have the iPhone, then the app is already located on the phone. You just have to go to settings and turn the Nike + from off to on. Once you do that, a screen comes into view that asks you to walk around to activate the transmitter device. If everything works properly, then the device is activated and the Nike + app is now activated and on your home screen.

Here are some screen shots of the Nike + iPod App

Nike + iPod Running workouts options


Select Music Screen for Nike Plus iPod

Running History


Get Started
Click on the Nike + iPod app on your home screen. When the app starts up it asks you to select a workout. You can choose from an open ended workout, a time based workout, a distance workout, or a calorie workout. Under each workout, you can select a predefined value or create your own. The next thing you can do is pick one of your playlists that have been set up in your iPod, or you can just select the shuffle songs playlist, which will randomly pick songs from the iPod.

Next, you should be ready to start running. You may need to walk around and activate your sensor again, as it may have gone to sleep mode while you were fooling with the app. Once that is done, just hit the big green ‘start workout’ button, and go for your run!

At some point, you will need to calibrate your device to give you accurate distance. There is a button that allows you to calibrate your runs and walks.


* Spoken Distance and Time Updates – While you are running, you can just hold up the iPhone, and it will speak your time, distance, pace, and even running calories to you. I thought this was a nice feature, though it does this even when I just want to hold the phone up to change a song. Sometimes I do not era

* Songs – You can move through your songs right from this app, and you can also select another song.

* Power Song – There is also a ‘power song’ button feature. When you press this button, a song that you chose for your power song plays. I guess you can use this at the end of your workout, or when you need a ‘pick me up’

* History – All of your workouts are recorded in the history, which provides a good way to keep a log of your running. And this history can be exported to be viewed on your computer or on Nike’s website.

What is it Missing?

* Lap Button – The biggest feature that I think the app is missing is the ability to track how I am doing at different intervals (or splits) along my run. I like to try to run the same speed at the end of a run as I do at the beginning of the run.

* Workout History Notes – I think it would be great if you could edit the workouts and add additional information such as notes about the run, the

Overall, this device is a great product that I will continue to use. The ability to track and record distance and time is important for runners, and this device certainly fills that need. In addition, the device adds the ability to control songs while in the same app.  Also, the graphics on the app are really nice, and I like how I only need to keep up with one small device. The fact that the app does not have a lap button is kind of a pain, but I guess I can work around that for now.  The Nike + iPod is basically like having your own running coach go with you each time you run, and can be a great tool for running motivation.

If you are looking for a way to track your progress as a new runner, while also getting pumped with some music, then this is a pretty good option to look at.

What do You Think?
Do you think the Nike + iPod is a good product? If so, consider picking up one for yourself at the link provided.

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