Gear Question for serious runners? Nike + GPS or Garmin?



  • MelisRunning
    MelisRunning Posts: 819 Member
    Garmin fan here. Absolutely love it!!!
  • 714rah714
    714rah714 Posts: 759 Member
    Nike sports watch for the accuracy, iPhone with the optional Nike app for the music. Anybody running alone should always carry their phone
  • jenna715
    jenna715 Posts: 201
    I can't speak for Nike because I haven't used it, but I love my Garmin forerunner 210! I wear a backpack with a water bladder when I run, so I always bring my phone too, for safety. If I were in your shoes and I was happy with the Nike thing and it was only bringing the phone that bothered me... I personally would just keep it since I carry my phone every run and it doesn't bother me.
  • ejwme
    ejwme Posts: 318
    I don't own a cell phone - hate them. I use a Garmin 310xt for everything. It's got a "return home" feature that I've found invaluable. I've also used the map feature to track my way along preplanned but unmarked routes i run with my training group.

    On the necessity of cell phones while running - remember 1990? I do, it was pretty awesome - lots of people happily running without cell phones (similar to the previous several thousand years). Now-a-days, all you need to do is plan your runs, learn first aid, don't be dumb, have a contingency plan. I've broken things 12 miles out into the middle of nowhere, I've sprained ankles in a country that didn't have paved roads (let alone hospitals), and I've lived and recovered to happily run another day - all without a cell phone in sight.

    Though I've owned cell phones in the past, absolutely none of my stories end with "thank god I had a cell phone!" They instead end with "thank god I knew what to do!"
  • I love my Nike Sports Watch. Does a great job on the treadmill (with the shoe pod) or out on the road (with the GPS). Uploads all my workout data and you get access to the Nike+ community so you can see how you compare to other people in your age/sex group. It also gives you splits which are helpful, along with elevation data, pace, calories, etc.

    One thing I really like it that it allows you to tell it which shoe you used and it keeps track of your miles on each pair of running shoes. I guess this is really only helpful if you have a closet full of running shoes for various terrain but I find it useful. It also shows maps of other peoples runs so you can go explore other places to run.

    Love it, never had a problem with it, highly recommend one.
  • mhiggi02
    mhiggi02 Posts: 5,988 Member
    I bought and used a Nike + sport watch. Loved it and it worked great. I gave it to my wife and got myself a Garmin 310XT. My only complaint with the Nike is that it is only for running. You can't identify other activities (i.e. swimming, biking, hiking, walking, etc.).
  • majope
    majope Posts: 1,327 Member
    I like my Garmin 405CX. I find as long as I lock the bezel before I start my run, I won't accidentally set something off during.

    I don't carry a phone while running.
  • 3dogsrunning
    3dogsrunning Posts: 27,167 Member
    I've had two Garmins in the past 8 years (one lost to puppy teeth the other at a race). I have always been a huge fan. I finally broke down and bought a second hand one.
  • Kilter
    Kilter Posts: 188 Member
    I use a Garmin 310xt currently and love it! Garmin has gotten me through 5 marathons, 2 ironman triathlons, numerous shorter races and thousands of kilometers of training (swim, bike and run). Next week it will be with me through my first ultramarathon.

    I know a lot of runners and consistently the best rated product is garmin.

    Run Hard.
  • scorpio516
    scorpio516 Posts: 955 Member
    Garmin hands down.
    Biggest issue with Nike sports watch? It's a closed protocol. If you EVER want to use some software beyond Nike's software, you can't. You can't even get your own data out. Maybe it's changed lately, but that's how it used to be.

    Garmin uses open protocols. So, depending on the watch, once it uploads to Garmin Connect, you can export the data and load it into mapmyrun, strava, Sporttracks, Training Peaks, etc. Strava and SportTracks will automatically download the data without having to go through the extra steps of exporting from Garmin Connect.

    Garmin isn't the only game in town, but they are the biggest.
    Timex and Polar also make nice running watches.

    RE: communication protocols.
    Garmin and Timex both use ANT+, which is open source, and there are tonnes of devices to use with the watches: HR straps, bike speed sensors, foot pods.
    Polar uses the closed ANT protocol. You can only use Polar devices with the Polar watches.
    Nike doesn't use either, it uses the dumb, and propriety, 2.4 gHz transmission (regular HRMs use 5 kHz, so you have to use Nike specific devices)

    The open protocol devices (Timex, Garmin, Magellan, the probably discontinued Motorola) allow MUCH deeper analysis through the 3rd party software suites (Timex uses Training Peaks though, and it's very popular).
  • I know this was posted a while ago, but in searching for some running related info I came across this post and felt compelled to reply.

    I have recently bought a new Garmin Forerunner 620 after having done two half marathons last year and wanting to get more serious about running - to track my heart rate and get some more information to help me analyse my runs. Before this I had started off using Nike+ (initially with a sensor attached to my shoe laces an later with GPS). I've tried Runkeeper and have moved onto Strava, using all the forementioned smartphone GPS apps.

    Having done about a month's worth of runs I have noticed the accuracy of the GPS apps on my smartphone is quite a long way inaccurate. When using these apps/sites I have regularly checked my runs to see if the maps of my runs looked ok and they did seem to be generally ok, but after using my Garmin for a month I was shocked at how inaccurate they were. I do a 10km run quite regularly and on my first run with my Garmin it was about 1km short. I was shocked. I wasn't expecting great accuracy from the GPS apps, but a 10% difference was just kidding me into thinking I was doing much better than I was.

    So my advice is if like me anyone is wanted to get more serious about their running it is a no brainer to get a Garmin. If you aren't too worried about distance accuracy and are just wanting to track heart rate then getting a HR strap compatible with the app you are using. This is cheaper and I did consider this.

    Lastly it is possible to upload data to Nike+ from Garmin using the Garmin to Nike+ converter and uploader tool which can be found at Having previously used Nike+ I still wanted to get my data onto the site, but didn't want to have to use their apps to get the data there. I now upload to Garmin connect (and Strava through a PC via a USB lead) from where I can export or push my data wherever I want. I don't think you can export your data from Nike+ and this closed ecosphere in technology I find very limiting, especially if there is some analysis you want to do, but isn't available on the Nike+ site. Nike also seem to be very connected with Apple with updates only appearing on Android a lot later - fine if you use iPhone, but not so great if you don't want to have to spend a fortune on your smartphone. For this reason I'll never buy Nike technology products again. Garmin have a long history of making satnav and running tracking products and for this reason I'd always choos Garmin over Nike's newer watch (which looks more like design over content). The Garmin watch is a little clunky and I was thinking of waiting for a smartwatch to come out that would combine accuracy with smartphone OS type functionality and ease of use, but I think that is a year or so off so for now I think the Garmin is the best option out there.

    I hope this helps anyone reading this to make a decision on whether to go for Garmin over Nike+ GPS (or other smartphone apps). It's just my opinion, but I did try and research this as you spend quite an amount of money and I wanted to know what the options were before making my choice.
  • froeschli
    froeschli Posts: 1,299 Member
    I got the nike+ shoe sensor because the GPS in my area was bad (or the phone I had at the time) and it was comparatively cheap.
    Now I am looking for new apps / equipment and both Garmin and wahoo looks good (want an app that does heart rate and cadence via shoe sensor) but I am too cheap to buy any of it yet...
    +1 on always taking a phone.
  • RatherBeInTheShire
    RatherBeInTheShire Posts: 561 Member
    I've had the same Garmin Forerunner 205 watch for years. It's been awesome for me.. Even after being several years old, it still lasts for 4+ hours on my long runs. I only paid $105 for mine new several years ago. Not all Garmin's are expensive.. just the ones with all the bells a whistles. I just wanted one that told me Pace, Distance, and Total time. It works wonderfully for me.