I started using the Nike Run Club app, and this is what happened.

Good Wednesday morning. For those of you who are following me on Instagram, you may already know that I have reignited my fitness quest 3 weeks ago. Now entering the 4th week of my run training, I have finally downloaded the Nike Run Club (NRC) app to give it a go. It’s free, and this is not a sponsored post.

At my current distance, I can now run at least 4 miles, within an 11 min/mile speed. It’s not fast, yet, but I’m hoping with NRC, I can improve on that. Before this 2020 pandemic, I was at 6 miles with my run training, with my eyes on the 2020 September Rock ‘N’ Roll half marathon; however, fear of the unknown made me lazy and unmotivated to run outdoors, and my training went on a screeching halt. The 2020 marathon has been cancelled and rescheduled for September 2021, which I am planning to participate in.

Fast forward to today, mindful of social distancing on the roads during my run, I am now on my 4th week of run training outdoors. Where do I run? Around my neighborhood, for the time being, at about 3.5 loop around, according to my last run yesterday. I am hoping to venture out a little bit more and check out new sceneries when my lungs are more capable. For now, I enjoy being able to make a pit stop when I feel it, since I’m so close to home by foot.

I usually run with my GSD for the first half of my run; however, to get a more accurate reading on the app, since running with my dog requires more pits stops than I’d like during my run, I have been running without him lately. I do love the idea of not having to go back out just to walk him though. So, in the following weeks, I will be tagging him along again to get his exercise in as well, since I have a better idea now how the NRC app works.

Download and Sign-up

The app is free, and so far, I have not paid for any features I have used. I needed to create an account with a password. Very simple and easy.

Monday and Wednesday’s Run: Start a Run

Once I signed up, I tried it the same day. There are a lot of features available but I just wanted to see how it works. So, I clicked the running man icon, and just clicked the start button on Start a Run. I didn’t try to set anything to play, just a basic run to get a sense of how the app works.

Underneath the Start button, there is a tab for Set a Goal by distance, or time, or speed to personalize a run session.

Once I start a run, I am given a 3-second count to start running. It’s enough time for me to put my phone back in my “fanny pack” or running belt, for a handsfree run. The app records my movement by GPS. It pauses when I stop and resumes when I start moving again, inclusive of any continuous movement, walk, stroll, jog, run, it didn’t matter.

It tracked my Pace, BPM, Time, and Miles. I can pause and resume a run session if I want to. And when I’m done, I just hold the stop button.

For my first 2 run sessions with the app, Monday and Wednesday, I didn’t bother pausing the app each time my GSD had to take a break, or when I had to dropped him home before I continue on with my run. I just wanted to see how the app worked. I averaged a 13 min/mile for the 5 mile session for each of the day, at roughly an hour each.

Friday’s run: My First Run + My Next Run

My First Run: This is my first guided run with the NRC app. This is a 20-minute run with a 3-minute cool down. During this time, Coach Bennett helped me relax during my runs. Helped remind me to focus on improving my breathing instead of speed. Running shouldn’t hurt as he said during this run. He didn’t talk the whole 20 minutes but “checked” on me every so often so I can remain focused.

I didn’t bother to stop the session each time my GSD had to make a pit stop because I wanted to see what happens with the app; however, 20 minutes was not enough for me.

My Next Run: As the first 20-minute run was not enough, I tried another run session, after I dropped off my GSD at the house. This is a 22-minute run with a 3-minute cool down. As with the previous, Coach Bennett helped guide me to focus on enjoying the run. He talked a little bit more during this session, making sure I am running at a comfortable speed by checking to see if I can still talk while running every so often.

Sunday’s run: My First Long Run

This I run without my GSD. It is a 35-minute run with a 1-minute post run guidance. Coach Bennett’s voice weaved in and out of this run session, just enough to help me forage on with my run.

Tuesday’s Run: Speed Interval and a 30-minute run

To improve speed, there is a Speed Interval guided run on the app; however, I failed to set it up correctly so it did not track my run the way it’s supposed to, as I switched between run and walk during the run session. I may have to play with this one just a little more than the others, since I have another session coming up tomorrow.

Since I didn’t want to figure it out and lose my running momentum at the time, I just manually counted my steps between a 60 count run and 30 count walk interval on the count of my left foot pounding the ground. It’s supposed to be a 200 meter run with a 45-second rest for each 9 mini speed sessions per the app. I wasn’t going to keep looking on my phone to see if I run 200 meters each time though. Far simpler to just count.

Because I didn’t fulfill the necessary setup of the Speed Interval, it logged my Speed Interval session as Tuesday’s Morning Run: 2.51 miles at 9 mins/mile in 22:40 time, instead of under Speed Training. My aim is to run at 10 minutes/mile. In due time, eh?! I was able to apply this recorded run to my weekly planned activities by manually applying it to it’s designated day, however.

Because I didn’t feel I got enough run in, I did an extra 30 minute run. I got an extra 2.43 miles out of it, at an average time of 12 mins/mile. At the last leg of this run, my right knee starting showing some pain, the first ever since I started running again. I iced it, on and off, for the rest of the day yesterday, and it is feeling better this morning.

5-Week NRC workout plan:

Yesterday, I set up a workout plan. After answering the initial questions about where I am with my run, it created a 5-week plan for me to follow, so I can continue to improve my run successfully. This week is my first week of the five. To give you an idea, here’s the first 2 weeks of my planned workout:

Week 1

Tuesday: Speed Interval: 9 x 200 m (That I did wrong, see above. Haha)

Wednesday: Rest Day

Thursday: Speed Interval: 7 x 200 m

Friday: NTC Workout*

Saturday: Long run: 4.5 miles

Sunday: Rest Day

Week 2:

Monday: Endurance: 2.5 miles

Tuesday: Speed: 9 x 200 m

Wednesday: Rest Day

Thursday: Speed: 7 x 200 m

Friday: NTC Workout*

Saturday: Long Run: 5 miles

Sunday: Rest Day

And so forth…Each week is a little bit different from the last.

*NTC

You may have noticed the * on NTC mentioned above, this is a separate app that I had to download to pair with my planned workout on NRC. It’s free. It connects automatically with each other, as NTC is also a Nike app: Nike Training Club. I have not messed around with this app just yet, but it uses the same log in info as my NRC. There are a lot of workouts within this app, and I am looking forward to using it and sharing my experiences with it with you guys in the future.

Additional feature:

Listen to music while running. I do find listening to music helpful when I run on the treadmill; but I prefer silence when I run outdoors.

Group challenges to join. It’s something to look forward to trying out in the future.

Connect with friends to track their progress as well, for a little friendly competition motivation.

Fitbit vs Nike Run Club

As I have mentioned, I have been using my obsolete Fitbit to track my run progress. I have noticed that although both use GPS to track my run, NRC records my speed at a slower time than the Fitbit, which makes me favor the Fitbit. haha

I also love the convenience of having the Fitbit around my arm already, as opposed to carrying a cellphone. However, NRC is available on Apple Watch, which I don’t currently own.

The NRC app offers more options however than the Fitbit app, which I plan to take advantage of in the coming weeks. So, aside from speed, NRC seems a better choice as I progress on with my run training.

Photo update

Went to the beach last night and it was chilly! Summer is coming to an end, and while it is my favorite season of the 4 seasons here in Virginia, cooler weather will be much easier for my run training outdoors for sure, might even help me run faster.

Final Words

This pandemic has definitely altered my mindset these past few months, but I am starting to shift back to some semblance of my life before it, to a new normal. I will say this, the combination of sun, fresh air, and exercise has allowed me to feel freer and lighter. And I will use whatever motivation I come across to continue on with my fitness quest. Maybe sometimes, it’s the invitation of a glorious scenic view, a new workout pants, a new exercise app, and so forth. Do you.

Having something to focus on allowed me to get out of the rut I was in, once debilitated by fear of the unknown to actively achieving goals again. While the gyms are starting to open again, although helpful, I do not need the gym at the moment, nor do I need to spend money, to reignite my fitness quest. No equipment necessary. I hope I have given enough information to help you reignite your fitness quest too. I would love to hear how you have maintained your fitness quest during this COVID-19 pandemic. Do share.

Until next time.

Mabuhay!

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