Recently, I have been asked a lot about how I like the Nike+ SportWatch. I share my runs on Twitter and post a lot of photos on my Instagram account, so I’m guessing with the holidays just behind us, a lot of runners were looking to upgrade.

So what do I think about it?

I love it. I’m all in with how it works and the way I can interact with it through the app and on my desktop in tracking my miles. But the thing is, I feel I need to provide some additional context as what I am looking for in a watch, might not be in line with what YOU are looking for.


Stellar. Nike nailed it, as they always do with a simple and sleek design. I used to rock “the brick” otherwise known as the Garmin 305. I got this back in 2007 and it had been my go-to watch for 5+ years. It never gave me any issues and worked like charm at all distances, from a 5k to a 50 mile in the rain/mud. Why did I stop using it? Wish I had a better reason other than “wanted something new.” It was a bulky watch and I was looking for something sexy and sleek.

The Nike+ watch is really easy to use with three buttons and huge screen to see the data. You can click through different options like distance, pace, time, etc., pretty standard stuff, but displayed in a user-friendly way (see neon watch in above photo). It was classic Nike simplicity. I really wanted the all-white version, but knew that with the amount of running I do, it would quickly turn into an all-brown version. (that’s me making a joke… please don’t take that literally.)

Left-to-right: (1) Watch in normal non-tracking display. (2) Cycling through options. (3) Reviewing final stats post-activity.

Left-to-right: (1) Watch in normal non-tracking display. (2) Cycling through options. (3) Reviewing final stats post-activity.


Online Tracking and the App

Here comes the one that you NEED to be aware of. The Nike+ watch only works with the Nike+ App and Nike+ desktop site. That’s right. Your miles and data live within the Nike universe, so if you use other media to track (Daily Mile, Strava, Garmin), it’s not the watch for you. You can however import data from another watch INTO the Nike universe… but it takes a couple steps and isn’t easy to do (it basically involves exporting your “other” data and converting it to a file that Nike can read, and a couple of other steps that doesn’t really justify the time it takes to move a 3 mile Tuesday run… for me).

Tracking Your Current Pace

This one is important, too. As you are running, you can view your “current pace” on the Nike+ watch. Nothing fancy, as most other watches can do it, but I’ve noticed (and this is on my watch, I CANNOT say it is for all) it is off by 15-20 seconds consistently. What does that mean? Let me show you:

Last Monday, I decided to stare at my watch for 3 miles to confirm my hypotheses: “The Nike pace per mile is off by 10-20 seconds, consistently.”

Sample Mile 1: This was mile 3 of an 8 mile run. I ran a route with some slight turns and some incline/declines, but without any stopping points… so it was constant running. Keeping an eye on my watch, the PPM (pace per mile) ranged between 7:09-7:16 for 95% of the mile. I hit 7:24 on a slight incline and when I had to slow for a car, but it never went higher than that.
Overall pace for the mile: 7:40

Sample Mile 2: The following mile was a little more consistent, as my time danced between 7:16-7:30.
Overall pace for the mile: 7:39

Sample Mile 3: Any guess? This one was a little slower, but still ranged between 7:20-7:30.
Overall pace for the mile: 7:41

Conclusions: As you can see, I was in a rhythm and running consistently. The overall mile splits were within seconds of each other and spot on… it felt like a 7:40 pace. Although the watch was showing anywhere from a 7:09-7:30 pace, I never saw a 7:40 time show up and I was not running 7:15 mile for the majority of that first mile. I felt like I ran a consistent 3 miles keeping in a steady pace, which it shows… but tracking the current pace is what seems to be off. I trust the mile splits, not the “current pace.”

TECH SPECS >> Click to enlarge <<

TECH SPECS >> Click to enlarge <<


Why do I use it then?

Because I’m never that glued into my current pace. Those three miles sucked because I was staring at my watch every couple steps. I pay attention to the mile splits and adjust based off that because I, and that’s important I, find it more useful.

During training runs, I usually don’t stare too much at my watch. On Saturday I ran 20 miles and looked at my watch for the first time around mile 4… then checked it again every few miles.

During a race, I use it more frequently, usually looking at it at every mile marker.  The three things that are the most important to me are tracking total distance, mile splits, and my current overall time and this watch delivers it in a display that I love and can easily move through options/screens if necessary.

And living in the Nike universe? Fine with me. I love the Nike+ app and the interactive features, goals, awards and community are great. It tracks my totals based on day, month, week, year and allows me to compete with other Nike+ users. Since all my miles are tracked through the Nike+ watch, it’s pretty simple for me.

I also use a REAL calendar to track my miles. Yep. A pen on paper in squares on a calendar. I actually reference that more often than the app. I’m old school that way and can absorb it better in a more tangible way.

Would I recommend it?

When people ask me what I think, I’m always honest, but feel that I needed to clarify the “downsides” that it might pose for others. It’s like the family that loves their two-sweater hatchback. Great for them, but terrible for a family of 4 with a dog. I think once I get to a point where I’m looking to qualify for something, like say, I don’t know, Boston… then the current pace would be extremely important. Until then, I’m digging the watch I have.

The best way to figure out what watch works best for you is to determine what YOUR needs are and find a watch that meets them. This isn’t a comparison post. I’m not saying that X watch is better than X watch or that X brand is a more reliable product. My needs are pretty simple and even a basic watch would fulfill those needs… but there is one thing that I want, and that’s the SEXY. And Nike knows how to deliver on that front, watch, app, feel and all.

What watch do you use?
What is important to you on your watch?