Nike Run Club: How to use Nike's app to become a better runner

Smash your goals with the Apple Watch-friendly app
Nike Run Club guide
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Nike Run Club is just one of the big name running apps you can download for the Apple Watch and one of the many Wear OS smartwatches you can get on your wrist right now.

If you're a runner and Apple's own Workout app doesn't do it for you, or you're not won over by Google Fit, you can track your stats indoors and outdoors, take on challenges and find some motivation from the Run Club app instead.

It also offers a powerful community and training focused experience on the watch and a smartphone app to dig deeper into your stats.

Whether you're packing an Apple Watch or a strong Wear OS smartwatch like theOppo Watch or want a better sports tracking experience on a stylish option like the Skagen Falster 3, here's our break down of everything you need to know about Nike Run Club and how to get the most out of it.

How do I get Nike+ Run Club?

Nike Run Club update

For people who don't mind running with a smartphone, the Nike Run Club app is available for iPhone and Android smartphones and it's free to download.

If you own an Apple Watch, you can download the app from the App Store, while Wear OS watch owners will need to head to the Google Play whether on your phone or from your watch, to start putting it to use.

It's worth mentioning of course that there is a dedicated Apple Watch Nike edition of the Series 6 and the SE, that comes with a custom Nike band, has Run Club preinstalled and includes some exclusive Nike watch faces with support for complications (widgets).

Does Nike Fuel still exist?

It's been eight years since Nike launched its original fitness wearable the Nike Fuelband and with it the Nike Fuel points system that converted all your activity into one single fitness currency. By translating all movement into one centralised score, the idea was this would make it possible to compare the efforts of different sports and reward a wider range of effort.

While the Fuelband is dead, Nike Fuel lives on in the Nike+ Run Club and Nike+ Training Club app but in reality it now feels a bit lost.

10 Ways to use Nike Run Club

We've been using the latest version of Nike Run Club for a while now and have pulled out the features we feel can make the biggest difference to your performance, motivation and running enjoyment.

Build your running knowledge: Go for a guided run

Nike Run Club update

Running is often seen as an easy sport to start. You just need a pair of shoes and a bit of time right? While that is true, getting out there for the first time and building yourself into a better runner requires a little more than just lacing up and putting one foot in front of the other. That's where Nike's guided runs come in.

At the time of writing the number of guided runs are into double digits and are largely focused on supporting new runners or those rediscovering their fitness. Each drill comes with complete written instructions for a session and a downloadable audio guide so you can be coached as you workout.

The workouts are designed to help runners improve strength, speed and endurance and have fun doing it. Additionally, intervals are automatically marked along the way so all you need to do is press start and go. Here's a sample of what to expect:

First Run: A beginner level introductory 20-minute audio guided run designed by a Nike Run Club Head Coach to help you with that early challenge of just getting moving.

First Speed Run: 8 x 1 minute intervals at 5k pace created as an introductory interval run for those who are new to speed work.

First Fartlek Run: Introducing runners to the benefits of alternating between easier and harder efforts, this run involves a 7-minute warm up followed by a 10-minute fartlek run.

If you're using guided runs on a smartwatch, you can access those guided runs directly from the watch.

Get some in-run support: Switch on Cheers

In-run support from your friends, family and running mates is a nice way to get a motivational kick when you're out on your toughest runs.

To switch it on simply hit the Settings cog on the run screen, click on Audio Feedback (this is also where you can set your preferences for the style and frequency of voice feedback on your runs) and toggle Nike+ Run Club Cheers on or off as desired.

When these are both on, Nike posts to your feed to let people know you're heading out and they can simply Like or comment on the post to give you an over-the-ear boost as you run.

Find a competitive edge: Join a Challenge

Nike Run Club update

If you're a runner who has ever been on Facebook or Instagram there's a good chance you'll have seen one of those motivational post that says something like "It's not about you versus them, it's you versus you." While we salute this spirit, there's nothing like a bit of friendly competition to make you work hard when you just want to lie on the sofa and eat chips. That's where Nike challenges can help.

Another significant change that arrived with Nike Run Club, you now use hashtags to get involved in a whole range of existing global challenges or to create your own.

To create a new #hashtag leaderboard, just come up with your unique hashtag, and share it with your friends. It's then up to you to spread the word by including the hashtag in your post-run posts to the Nike+ Feed.

It's worth noting though, that there are limitations. The only metric you can use for your challenge is Most Miles and whereas in the old Nike+ Running app you could create challenges just for your own selected group of running buddies, with this new hashtag approach anyone can join your challenge. And that can be a little #annoying.

Capture the feeling: Make post-run notes

The Nike+ Running app lets you add notes to your recorded runs, and it's never a bad idea to do so. Yes, you can pick a smiley face that best represents your post-run mood, but adding your own notes gives you much better picture of your progress so that, over time, you can discover what sort of workout is most effective for you.

Train with your other running tech: How to Connect Garmin to Nike Run Club

If you don't own an Apple Watch or Wear OS smartwatch but you do use a Garmin, Polar or alternative GPS running watch you can still connect these to Nike Run Club and sync your runs into the app. Each run carries a logo to make it easy to see which device was used to track the run.

To connect Nike Run Club to a Garmin watch for instance do the following:

STEP 1: Open up Nike Run Club app on phone. Tap the Settings cog in the corner.

STEP 2: Tap on Partners. Select Garmin.

STEP 3: From there you'll be prompted to log into your Garmin Connect account to connect the two services.

You can do the following with Polar Flow, Wahoo and TomTom, if you're still rocking a TomTom running watch.

Be honest with yourself: Kill the Auto Pause

Auto pause is a liar. If your auto pause says you ran a sub-40 minute 10k, but during that run you stopped every 5 minutes for a 2 minute road crossing, then your 10km PB isn't now 39:99. It's 39:99 plus whatever time you spent standing still at the traffic lights. For a true reflection of what you're capable of it's essential to find somewhere you can run relatively uninterrupted, closer to race conditions.

To disable that auto pause, do the following:

STEP 1: Open up Nike Run Club app on phone. Tap the Settings cog in the corner.

STEP 2: Tap on Run Settings and look for Tracking options.

STEP 3: Tap on Auto-Pause Run to toggle on and off.

Soundtrack your way to success: How to sync Spotify or Apple Music with Nike Run Club

Nike Run Club update

Purists will disagree, but, for plenty of people, running without music is unthinkable. You can connect Nike Run Club to Spotify and Apple Music. This not only lets you control your music from within the Nike+ Run Club smartphone app, or on your Apple Watch but you can also access weekly curated Nike+ Run Club playlists.

To connect Spotify or Apple Music to Nike Run Club, do the following:

STEP 1: Go to the run tracking screen on the phone app. Tap the music note icon.

STEP 2: Choose the service you want to connect.

STEP 3: You'll be prompted to log into that streaming music service to start playing music from it during runs.

Run with discipline: Use Nike's recommended Spotify playlists

Music isn't just useful for those sections of your runs where your brain is telling you to quit, it's also a great way to ensure you run at the correct pace, whether that's fast or slow. Matching the music to your desired output is a smart way to stay on track and now Nike has recommended playlists to offer better company on your runs.

Once you've connected Nike Run Club with Spotify as explained above, when you go to track a run, the music note app will now be replaced with a Spotify icon. Tap that and you'll see a stream of your own playlists but also Nike's own recommended playlists to tap into too.

Access your hidden gears: Choose a Power Song

We've all had those moments during runs where we desperately need a boost. It might be you need an extra push to race home to a personal best or just a bit of oomph to push you through a bad patch, whatever your need, the right track can do the trick. One of Nike Run Club's long standing features is the Power Song. You assign the one track that can unlock your extra drive and you can play that at the touch of a button from within the app.

Add some strength: Sync your Nike Training sessions

If you also use the very useful Nike Training Club app as well, you can sync all of your sessions into your Nike+ dashboard for a more complete picture of your overall training.

Follow the steps explained for connecting a Garmin or Polar watch further up, but choose Nike Training Club instead to connect the two apps together.