A couple of years ago (in 2006), I started using the Nike+ iPod sensor while running. Iâve written several posts about it here.Â Iâve written about how to attach the sensor to your shoe without buying Nikes special shoes with pockets in the souls and Iâve written an api to retrieve the data from the Nike+ site with C# to use in other apps.Â I love the little device and it works perfectly with my iPod nanoâit gives me music and a measurement of how far Iâve run (roughly).
But there are some things I really hate about the iPod Nike+ sensor.
First, itâs not as accurate as it could be.Â The transmitter is attached to my left shoe, so it works like a pedometer.Â Iâm not a treadmill runner, so my self-pacing is terrible.Â My stride is based on the terrain or my mood.Â Itâs not consistentâbut itâs close enough.Â Itâs cheaper than shelling out for a Garmin Forerunner.
Second, itâs wasteful.Â The transmitter in the shoe has a battery that canât be replaced or recharged.Â You have to buy a new one when it dies.Â Iâve been through two of them now.Â Last week I found that my standard three-mile run was registering as two and a half miles.Â The battery in my shoe transmitter was running low again.Â I really didnât want to throw this into a landfill somewhere and buy a new one for Â£20.
Third, I canât get to my data easily.Â Nike has a website that stores all your run data.Â Itâs possible to get a feed of the data, but not officially.Â Some people out there have found ways to tap into this data (Running Tracker, Ear-fung.us, and myself) âbut they do this using an unofficial api into the Nike services (which sometimes changes).Â Nike wants to build their own running community (we need another community?).
So, I started looking for an alternative.Â A few months ago, a friend at work told me about an iPhone app which uses GPS.Â I looked into it and started using RunKeeper, an iPhone app with an online service.Â Iâve used it on a few runs, and I will never use Nike+ again.
RunKeeper is better than Nike+ for the following reasons:
- It uses GPS instead of a pedometer sensor
- It maps your runs for you on Google maps and Google earth after the run.
- I donât have to buy a transmitter every twelve months.
- I can track bike rides as well as runs.
- I can still listen to music while running.
There are some things I would like to see in the application.Â I still canât get to my data except through their interface (that I know of) so an open API would be nice.Â I need to turn off wifi before the runâwhich is not difficult, but the only awkward step (this is due to the way an iPhone works).Â And, Iâm not too crazy about the idea of taking my expensive phone out on runs with me.Â But aside from this, the application works great.
If you are a Nike+ user, and you have an iPhone too.Â Try this app.Â You wonât go back.