Go the extra mile with Nike+ Run Club [50 Essential iOS Apps #23]

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Nike+ Run Club app run tracking
Nike+ Run Club offers detailed run tracking whether you're new to running or an experienced marathon runner.
Photo: Ian Fuchs/Cult of Mac

50 Essential iOS Apps: Nike+ Run ClubRunning is a great form of exercise, regardless of your fitness level. Getting motivated to run is a different story. Some running apps are designed for run tracking, others offer training, or make exercise a game. Nike+ Run Club blends all three to get you started and keep you moving, from your first run to your thousandth mile, and beyond.

The ultimate runner’s review of Apple Watch Series 2

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Is Apple Watch Series 2 the perfect running partner?
Is Apple Watch Series 2 the perfect running partner?
Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

With the launch of a GPS watch, and a renewed Nike partnership, Apple is getting serious about targeting runners. So is Apple Watch Series 2 the perfect running partner that Cupertino promises?

As an avid runner myself, I was keen to find out. Over the past couple of months, I’ve been training for the TCS New York City Marathon, and I took my Apple Watch Series 2 with me every step of the way — right up to the finish line in Central Park last week. Here’s how it measured up.

Set up your new Apple Watch to max out your fitness gains

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Get in shape with your new Apple Watch
Get in shape with your new Apple Watch.
Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

If you’ve just bought a shiny new Apple Watch Series 2, hoping it will help you get in shape, then here’s some advice: Invest a little time setting it up so your wearable is tailored to your personal fitness level and goals.

These quick and easy setup tips will help you get the most out of your Apple Watch fitness routine.

Editor’s note: This is an excerpt from the new Cult of Mac Fitness Handbook. It’s coming soon, loaded with iPhone and Apple Watch fitness tips — and it will be exclusively free for Cult of Mac readers.

Is Apple Watch Series 2 a good option for runners?

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Apple Watch Nike+
There's more to a great running watch than GPS, but it's a good place to start.
Photo: Apple

With the addition of GPS, you might imagine Apple Watch is now a credible runner’s watch. Not so fast.

It may have made a big splash with swimmers, but to appeal to runners, there are more issues that Apple needs to address. Like a screen that stays on while you are running, and controls that still work when you get really sweaty.

Why did Nike ruin its beautiful running app?

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Nike has turned its running app into a dodgy mashup of Instagram and Snapchat
Nike has turned its running app into a dodgy mashup of Instagram and Snapchat
Photo: Graham Bower / Cult of Mac

All hell broke loose last week when Nike relaunched its much loved Nike+ Running app with a new offering called “Nike+ Run Club.” Plagued with bugs, sluggish performance and missing features, this update has infuriated some of Nike’s most loyal users, including me. Nike+ Running used to have an impressive 4.5 star rating on the App Store. Since the update, this has plummeted to just 1.5 stars. And Nike’s Facebook and Twitter accounts are now flooded with gripes.

So what happened? How could a single update turn one of the best iPhone running apps into one of the worst?

$2 billion lawsuit claims Apple Watch idea was stolen

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Apple Watch lawsuit
Best of luck, ma'am.
Photo: U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan

A Michigan woman is suing Apple and Nike for a combined $5 billion over claims that the two companies stole her concept for a device called a “Detachable Beeper Disc Digital Gym Shoe with Sensor.” She states that she filed a patent for her invention 20 years ago, well before the companies came up with their own, similar products — namely, the Apple Watch and the Nike+ smart running system.

While she’s seeking $3 billion from Nike, she’s only looking for $2 billion from Apple, so Cupertino’s getting off relatively light on this one.

Fitness apps are ruining the Apple Watch. Apple should scrap them.

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My resolution for 2016: Less staring at spinning dots, more running.
My resolution for 2016: Less staring at spinning dots, more running.
Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

Apple has got its fitness strategy all wrong. It sees Apple Watch as a computing platform rather than a device, and so it promotes third-party apps instead of making better built-in ones of its own.

That may be a fine strategy for Macs and iPhones, but it just does not work for watches and fitness trackers. Relying on third-party fitness apps means spending far too long staring at the spinning dots of death (the Watch equivalent of a spinning beachball), when we should be working out.

Instead of offering a range of underwhelming third-party workout apps, what Apple Watch really needs is one great built-in app that integrates with popular fitness platforms like Runtastic and MapMyRun.

How to choose the right running app for you

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And the winner is… find out which running app offers the most features
And the winner is… find out which running app offers the most features
Photo: Graham Bower / Cult of Mac

There are so many iPhone apps for runners, it’s hard to decide which one to use. Should you go for a familiar brand like Nike, or a specialist like Runkeeper?

Ultimately, all running apps do pretty much the same thing: They use GPS to track how far and how fast you run. But when you take a closer look, their features and prices vary considerably. So I’ve done the leg work for you, to help you find the right running app faster.

How gadgets helped me go from dad bod to six pack

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Third-party fitness apps will finally become fully fledged Watch apps.
Fitness gadgets saved my life. Sort of.
Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

I used to live the classic geek lifestyle, forever hunched over a MacBook, munching on comfort food. Until one day cancer forced me to take my health more seriously.

Now I run marathons and lift weights for fun. But the geek is still strong in me. From GPS watches to bioelectrical impedance analyzers, I’ve used pretty much every kind of fitness gadget.

Here’s the story of how fitness gear helped me get in shape for the first time in my life and swap my middle-aged dad bod for a six pack.

Can Apple Watch really help you get fit?

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Swatch has an answer for Apple Watch. Photo: Apple
Swatch has an answer for Apple Watch. Photo: Apple

With Apple Watch about to become a reality, recent reports have questioned the benefits of fitness trackers, highlighting their inaccuracy and even claiming they make you fat.

So can wearables like Apple Watch really help you get fit? From my experience, what’s in your heart is more important than what’s on your wrist — but gadgets still have a role to play.