Nike +, Fraudsters and the debate between GPS and built in Accelerometers.

NIKE + (PLUS) and CHEATING

Nike + (Nike Plus)  was and still is a decent app for the casual runner. However, it falls victim to misuse by people who desire top position for the weekly and monthly positions. There are a number of ways these fraudsters cheat. I shall give you three examples off the top of my head.

1: Running Nike + app with 2 devices simultaneously: Lets say you have an iPhone 5 and an iPod/ iPhone and Nike + GPS Watch. This is the easiest way, you run the same distance and record double what you ran, upload and viola! Look at the following example of a guy who I don’t actually know personally but whenever I up my running mileage I can feel a pattern. So yesterday I noticed that he had posted twice thinking to myself “Good job buddy, makes my 15k look like a 5k”. So this morning, I decided to see what this guy actually ran. Nike + actually stores the last 3 runs that you did. So all you have to do is look at the times and you can get a pretty good idea if the guy is cheating or not. Turns out he was, he ran 8km and not 16km, and the p/km times are off by a few seconds which indicates multiple devices. He was deleted this morning.

FAKES

2: Mileage Calibration: On an iPhone and iPod, you get the chance to alter the actual mileage you did at the end of your workout. However altering it too much will be obvious. Lets say I ran 7k but I altered the mileage to 10k for the same time that I ran. That would certainly reduce my minutes p/km time to indicate that I was in fact faster than I really am.

3: Manually adding: “No shit Sherlock” just Google manually add to Nike +. The reason this site is available is for those days that your device did not sync with Nike + and that would be such a pain in the behind if you had just beat your PR or had just completed a 60km run. I know I used it to add my Run Kuwait 240km and my Atacama Crossing for days 3 – 6 because my GPS watch could only store 15 hours worth of running without a computer sync (unknown to me at the time). It should be used for the right and just reasons. I noticed one of my friends last week post about 50+km on the first day of the new week (which is a Monday) and suddenly he was 50+km in front and you know damn well that this person didn’t run it but they tried to re-post what they had done the previous week to hide it disguise it within the realms of “Their last 3 runs” which are visible on Nike +. I am 90% certain that occurred. I have switched from Nike + to Movescount and now to Strava, but I still want to add my mileage to Nike +, so I use it for this. That’s what its meant for. I Will confess though that I used my GPS watch while on a bike ride in the Atacama Desert once, but I had no way of tracking my mileage so I figured it’s not often I will get the chance to bike or run there again.

Those I would say are the 3 major ways people cheat in Nike +. I wonder what goes through their minds when they blatantly cheat? is winning so important? winning without actually putting in the time and the effort? that’s just so lame. This leads me onto the next part of my rant. GPS Vs. Accelerometers.

GPS Vs. ACCELEROMETERS

GPS watches are great companions. I am on my third right now and I am in the process of deciding which one to stick with. I used the Nike + GPS watch and added a HR monitor with it later on. It’s the perfect companion for the recreational runner, it does all it needs to and it’s powered by TomTom for GPS. I found it easy to use and I loved the fact that you can slap the screen to activate the light rather than pressing a button. Its super yet its limited. Its excellent at what it does and that is Avg Pace, Current Pace and collecting mileage. Its also a very good watch to use as an everyday watch. The down side is that there isn’t much detail to ponder over once one starts to investigate themselves further. The HR only gives your Avg HR over course of the run and by KM basis but doesn’t allow for much analysis or greater detail. See Image Below:

Nike+HR

I just bought a Suunto Ambit 2 Sapphire, it looks too slick to be an excercise device but its super sexy. I used it for a couple of weeks while I waited for the HR band to arrive because some of the apps don’t record data without a heart rate like calories for example. It has a thermometer as well as the usual GPS, Digital compass, Recovery time predictor and so on. The downside; the Movescount software is kinda ugly and doesn’t do a good job of presenting the run statistics. Love the watch because I could use it for cycling, running and swimming. The great thing about Suunto is you can download running apps onto the watch, or even make your own!

Then came the Garmin 910XT which was a gift from my dad. Only used it twice but it came with a HR monitor which was nice. As a daily watch its crap, doesn’t even show the time! However as a running watch im beginning to think its better than the Suunto because it feels cheaper and made to get dirty and wet. It has all the function I need except I havent found the Recovery predictor thing yet which I am interested to try out. I like the stats it gives me, and I like Strava for software analysis. The Suunto is now my mountaineering watch (provided I don’t scratch the beautiful Sapphire glass or the Stainless steel.

I tried them both on to test the accuracy and this is what happened:

image(1)

The Avg Pace for that run from both watches was exactly the same. Which gives me more confidence that I am in actual fact running accurately and sadly slower than when I used to use my Nike GPS watch!! A comparison will be updated here soon! This leads me onto the subject of accuracy. The following webpage gives you some idea of where I am leaning towards with this post and how it relates to the subject of cheating… The GPS watch never lies! (well if its cloudy or you go into a tunnel)

http://runneracademy.com/running-apps-vs-gps-running-watches/

I particularly like this part;

“For runs of a mile or two this may not be a big deal, but if you run longer distances over 10 miles the results can be running over a mile or more less than the phone has reported!  That 20 mile marathon long run you might do could end up being more like 18.5 miles.

What’s worse, your pace is being reported incorrectly.  You will have a false sense of your performance capability and learn of this on race day when you run a measured course only to find your phone has betrayed you!”

So be warned, train accurately or at least run accurately and give your body the credit it deserves when its due.

During the summer months in Kuwait I joined a gym and ran on the treadmill (which I don’t enjoy nearly as much as running outside). I used the Nike + foot-pod and the Nike watch and even that was inaccurate. How was it so easy for me to run a 10k at under 3:58 p/km in the gym comfortably and not outside in the field?  The truth is, the lack of accuracy of devices that do not use GPS. They have a mind of their own. On that note, I wont even go into detail about using an accelerometer in an iPod strapped to ones arm to measure the  Pace/Speed and more importantly Distance! it goes without saying ! And for those who find my words have struck a cord, wake up and get a decent running device, it doesn’t matter if you run fast or slow, short or long, just run an honest mile that you enjoy, that’s what really matters.

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Comments
5 Responses to “Nike +, Fraudsters and the debate between GPS and built in Accelerometers.”
  1. rundmach says:

    Hey there. I am still a newbie with the Nike+ GPS watch. I’m contemplating on buying the HR for it so I know if I’m running too hard. Are you saying it doesn’t show the HR at different stages of the run? Only your average HR?

    Great post. I feel the same about cheating on Nike+. The day I got my GPS Watch and used my iPod nano and noticed a double count, I deleted the run and haven’t synced my iPod with Nike since.

    • Ok, check the post again I have provided an example of what information is available using the Nike HR monitor. It is better than expected sorry, it does give a KM by KM track but nothing more than that.

      The GPS watch is accurate enough to use so forget about the App inside the iPod. Its a very user friendly watch and the only reason why I stopped using it after about 18 months of usage is that I wanted more from a watch, better software support, and better memory and so on. As I said its a great watch for the runner who runs a few times a week and doesn’t care too much for usage with other sports and so on.

      The more complex watches are really waterproof and you can connect them with cycling gear and all sorts. They can tell the temperature, navigation and digital compass and that is the reason why I have stopped using the Nike Plus GPS watch. I will actually test it with my other two watches to see how it performs and send you an update.

      Newer watches have alot of apps and you can have a virtual pacer to race against, perfect for loners like myself 🙂 enjoy the watch and I shall add you on Nike +.

      Regards

      Faisal

      • rundmach says:

        That’s great! Thanks so much for the info!!! I did want more in a watch as well but I think I will be like you and use this as my introductory watch for the first year then see what I’m looking for.

        Thank you for the reply. I look forward to seeing the comparison. 🙂

  2. Hey there!
    I synced my ipod nano (5th gen) today for the first time to nikeplus.com after I’ve completed 5 runs.
    In my nikeplus account, when I check the records from my runs, the website shows me the 5 runs I did, but the grand total doubles the numbers I’ve accomplished so far. It says 10 runs instead of 5 and a total of 71kms instead of 33/34kms.
    I want this to be as accurate as possible, but this double counting keeps on happening. Could it be that the built-in pedometer and the nike+ app (which does not come natively in this ipod nano model) are both ON? I’ve tried to correct this but can’t seem to figure out what’s really happening.

    Thanks in advance.

    Afonso

    • Hi Afonso,

      What you just wrote was my first thought. The iPod Nike + app that comes hard coded with the nano is a very irritating app and I have one hard coded into my iPhone 5. Here is a way to stop it from working so that you are only using one app.

      In Settings, choose Nike + iPod and turn Nike + iPod on or off. When Nike + iPod is turned on, its application icon appears on the Home screen; when it is turned off, the icon is hidden.

      Try and see if that works. If not post another comment and I shall try to figure out what is going on. That is the most likely cause though.

      Good Luck

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