Oneupweb Reviews : Nike Plus Running Community

Spring is *almost* here and it’s time to start thinking about dropping those pesky winter lbs and toning up for summer. If you’re like me, it takes more than pair of tight pants to motivate you.

When I was a serious runner, I had a committed running “situation” with my friend Sarah where she would show up at up at my condo each day after work and I had no choice. On the weekends when we were off of our normal schedule, my competitive nature would drive me to do even more miles, because Sarah had this annoying tendency of showing me up week after week. 7 months ago, I moved 7 hours away from Sarah… you can see where this is going.

Recently, my friend Kim got the new Nike Plus sensor, and accompanying accessories (i.e. shoes and iPod). I had seen the system before, but hadn’t paid much attention. When Kim started explaining what it was for, I became very interested and began researching the product. It’s very cool.

As a believer in the power of social media (for community building and marketing), I began thinking like the athlete and marketer I am, and found that this is a powerful and smart use of social media. Not only has it created a place for runners of all shapes and sizes to band together and push one another, but also creates a heck of a lot of brand loyalty.

To begin, the technology is functional and impressive. The Nike sensor, in a sense, is a high-tech pedometer that tracks your distance, but also your time, pace, and calories burned. This information is displayed on the corresponding iPod. Awesome. All the benefits of a treadmill, but not stationed in front of a TV in the gym.

You can also connect your Nike Plus sensor and iPod to your cardio machine and the gym and track workouts. Again, cool and motivating.

The really great thing about the Nike Plus system, beyond the technical functionality of the system, is the social community that is built around this system. NikePlus.Nike.com is a opt-in membership program that allows you to interact with other runners, join cyber running groups, trade success stories, ask questions, set and meet goals as a team, etc. I signed up for an account just to see what types of interaction and challenges were offered. You’ll have to check it out – there’s a lot there.

I haven’t gotten my Nike sensor yet (it’s on my birthday list – one month and one day from today) so I asked Kim some questions about her use of the Nike Plus system. She hasn’t had it long (a little over a month) and when we spoke, hadn’t taken advantage of all of the capabilities, but she surely has taken advantage of the technical capabilities of the system. She’s a serious athlete and likes to track her workouts. I think Kim would blow everyone out of the water if she started competing with other runners within the Nike Plus community.

When I asked Kim what she liked most about the Nike Plus system, she responded:

It is an easy and effective way to calculate my distance and time. The iPod Nano is so small that I do not ever know it is with me, and the Nike Plus disc goes in the bottom of my shoe. This way I can get some of the benefits of a treadmill, but still get to enjoy the outdoors while exercising. Nike Plus also helps motivate me in my workouts and to see my progress, which is rewarding.