Over the past 2+ years, I have been using the Nike+ GPS Watch to track my runs. We trained for our first 5K, then our first 10K and most recently our first Half Marathon using it. During this time I have had differing opinions of the watch depending on how it is behaving and how I am running.
First, I would like to say that in the beginning I got angry at the watch, I felt like it was telling me that I ran too slow. Then I realized that I was running slower than I thought I was and stopped being angry at the watch. Over the first couple of months, I began to like the watch more and learned to utilize it for the information that it was providing. It told me how much I slowed down on hills, where I was naturally taking breaks, and how my pace changed from the beginning of a run to the end. All of this helped me to schedule breaks that my body needed so that I didn’t take them just anytime. I was able to change the way that I ran up and down hills, making sure to maintain a pace up them and slow myself down when going downhill. My overall pace changed as well, specifically on training runs, I started to maintain a pace throughout rather than the ups and downs from when I started.
Then we had some cold months and I had to run inside. I connected the foot pod and got on a treadmill. My treadmill pace was a 10 minute mile. The problem was that the watch hadn’t calibrated the foot pod because I hadn’t used both the pod and GPS outside. So it assumed a much longer stride and my pace showed a 7 minute mile. Running on the treadmill a few times, I completely hosed myself from getting a PR on any 5K runs. I am not a 7 minute runner and those runs show as my records. This upset me, but I got over it, I know what runs are good and bad without seeing them on the Nike website.
Later, I added the heart rate monitor. I like data from my runs and was able to utilize this as I trained more. The expandability after purchase was great and I was happy to have the option to do this after the initial purchase because I wasn’t really sure when I first started that I would need all of the accessories.
Though my relationship with the watch was painful at times, I have grown to really like it. I don’t look at it as much during the run as I used to, but I do look at the data after the run. I have steadied my pace and now know what a 10 minute mile feels like and I know what resting at 12 minutes feels like. I do use the interval training on the watch to tell me when I am allowed to take a break, sometimes I take it and sometimes I don’t, but it is nice that I know it is there if I want it.
Pros – easy to use, expandable, integrated website functionality, price
Cons – time to connect to GPS (at times up to 3 minutes, and sometimes would not connect at all), calibration was not explicit in the foot pod instructions
Follow Up: Last year it became painfully obvious that this watch was not going to help track swimming or cycling. As we picked up those sports, I tried to use this, but it just skewed my running data. In May 2014, I decided to upgrade to a Garmin Fenix 2. Changing formats to Garmin was difficult because it meant leaving a lot of data behind. At the end of the day I am happy with my change because Garmin seems to be continually developing and Nike has essentially stopped.