iOS/Android: Nike's running app has long been one of our favourites. Its latest update brings a new name and colour scheme, and ditches its training plans for a new virtual coach that lets you build a personalised plan for the running goal of your choice. The plans, like everything in Nike's app, are still free. Where previously you could choose an inflexible eight-week plan, now you can configure a training plan just for you. To train for a 5K, for example, the app asked me for my race date, saying that it could build a plan that was anywhere between four and 24 weeks long. I chose my current activity level and the number of times I run per week, and it created a plan for me. I can reschedule the runs if I like. If you've used Nike's app for strength workouts, Nike+ Training Club, this will all look very familiar.
Instead of just assigning me to run a certain number of kilometres on a certain day, the app schedules different types of workouts. Tomorrow, for example, I'm doing a "benchmark" run that includes a three-minute time trial. The app will guide me through a warmup, a race segment and a cool-down, and it will use my results to give me a goal pace for the workouts to come.
Another fun feature is the feed, a screen that includes updates from Nike. Besides plugging their real-life running clubs, Nike also posts playlists, like this one for long runs that features interludes from historic marathoners Joan Benoit Samuelson and Paula Radcliffe. There are also athlete-inspired workouts, like this one from Allyson Felix, who made history herself at Rio with her sixth gold medal.
Several of these workouts are track intervals, but the app won't guide you through them; you have to keep track of your distance and time with the phone in hand. At least there's a new feature to help you with these: A workout mode called "speed run" that measures your distance in metres. When you hit the pause button, it starts counting up your rest time in seconds. At the end of your workout, you can view your time and distance for each interval.
Unfortunately, this app completely does away with the simple interface of the previous Nike+ Running app. There are no more giant red numbers trumpeting your lifetime distance on the home screen, and if you were using one of the old training plans, they're gone now. (The app sent a warning about this a few weeks ago.) If you loved the old app, you may want to hold off on updates. But if you're looking forward to the training plans or the new speed run mode, take the redesigned app out for a spin.