Discovering the Nike+ apps for iPod and iPhone changed my entire perspective on fitness and technology. When I was merely an iPod touch user, I bought a sensor and decided to give the Nike+ app a whirl. Let me preface this by saying that I have never been defined as a ‘runner’, and even my own high school basketball coach couldn’t coerce me into running more than 2 miles. How was an application going to do it? This was going to be interesting.
Feet hit the pavement, and I was off and running – literally and figuratively – with the the Nike+ app keeping tabs on my pace and how much distance I accrued along the way. It wasn’t until I plugged my iPod touch into my iTunes and synced my run that I became hooked. I was asked to join the Nike+ community online, a comprehensive network of runners and non-runners (like myself) who were holding each other accountable and keeping track of their progress. My competitive side flourished as I saw how far and how fast my friends were running. As part of the Nike+ community, you can participate in training programs, challenge your friends, or join nationwide challenges, such as the “2009 miles in 2009.” Best of all, when I added my current run to my profile, a video of Lance Armstrong popped up and congratulated me for joining the team. Talk about encouragement! I felt accomplished and inspired, all from an application from my MP3 player – and best of all, I was making an effort to lead a healthy life.
Last year, I finally upgraded to an iPhone and discovered the world of untethered Nike+ in the form of Nike+GPS. No longer needing a sensor each time I ran, I was able to sync up my mileage in real-time and those encouraging messages that I used to get from syncing up my iPod were now built into the application. You can even see a digital representation of your speed, color-coded to show how fast you ran (green) and where you slowed down (red) on a GPS map of the location you ran.
With a sedentary lifestyle, where I spend most of my time sitting at a desk in front of a computer screen at an office, the Nike+ apps show me that technology doesn’t hinder us from being active – it can most certainly help us. Just look at the Wii Fit and the Kinect, and how fitness incorporated into technology has become a crucial selling point. In a virtual world, I’m making physical progress and discovered a love for running that I may not otherwise knew existed.
Nike+ is a must-have in your running arsenal if you don’t have it already, if only for the wonderful community of runners that I have discovered along the way. Hope you find me on Nike+, and when all else fails, keep on running.