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Nike?s Run Club app update unlaces personalized workouts, adaptive coaching

Nike is tightening the strings on its mobile offerings by introducing an updated Run Club application that boasts adaptive coaching options, round-the-clock access to athletic expertise and enhanced social sharing features, such as hashtag challenges and branded stickers.

The sporting goods marketer rebranded its Nike+ Running app into the newly launched Nike+ Run Club app, a change that was also accompanied by a slew of new personalized features as well as several interface changes. Fitness enthusiasts can use the updated app?s adaptive coaching engine and expert advice to hone their workout routines and access on-the-go inspiration, showcasing how apparel and accessories brands can inject customized experiences into their mobile offerings.

?Athletes, especially runners, tend to be very ritualistic,? said Greg Ng, vice president of digital at PointSource. ?Everything from how they tie their shoes to what they eat and when follows a routine, and there is no exception when it comes to how they use technology.

?Because each runner has their own preferences, it is very important for sporting apps to allow for variability and personalization when creating the right experience,? he said. ?When it comes to running apps like Nike+ there is tremendous demand for not only capturing personal data, but utilizing that data to inform training goals.

?Without this level of personalization, users won't receive the user experience they want, and will likely abandon the app.?

Personalized coaching options
Nike?s latest app iteration seeks to serve the running community with its most personalized branded experience yet. 

The Run Club app?s adaptive coaching programs were designed to help athletes run faster and farther by measuring their fitness levels and goals before adapting the training module to their schedules and performance.

The ?My Coach? feature measures a runner?s tempo, average pace, mile splits, heart rate, distance and elevation to prescribe the fitness tips best suited to his or her needs.

Run Club also offers on-the-go access to world-class athletes and coaches via Nike+ Pro Tips. The content in this feature offers runners of all experience levels ? ranging from beginners to seasoned pros ? advice that will help them maximize the effectiveness of their routines and enjoy the sport more.

The expertise can be combined with the app?s run-tracking accuracy for outdoor and indoor runs, resulting in a personalized coaching experience.

Several featured Nike athletes include Kevin Hart, Ashton Eaton and Allyson Felix.

Mobile motivation
The Nike+ Run Club app underscores the value of community through several social-enabled features. The sporting goods brand recognizes that the running community loves challenging fellow athletes, which prompted it to introduce an NRC hashtag challenge to stoke friendly competition among users.

Consumers can select hashtags for their runs and compete with friends for the top spot on the in-app leaderboard.

Additionally, users can access a plethora of social sharing tools, such as an in-app feed displaying other runners' current statuses as well as photo-sharing capabilities.

Nike also provides a selection of branded stickers and hashtags within the app. This enables individuals to create après-run posts to share with friends and embellish them with statistics, photos and stickers.

Users can customize the audience that sees their post-run workout updates, meaning they can indicate if they would like their entire social network to see them or just their Nike+ friends.

Music fans in search of more motivation can also take advantage of the Nike+ Run Club app?s playlists.

A growing number of sports-related marketers have been rolling out athlete-geared mobile experiences with personalized features, suggesting that fitness enthusiasts are more likely to interact with a branded app if they are able to customize its features.

Earlier this year, Under Armour leveraged IBM Watson?s cognitive computing technology to bolster its UA Record mobile health application with a slew of features, including evidence-based sleep coaching and data-backed fitness tips (see story).

Nike also focused on personalization in a recently launched mobile app that combines content with rewards and boasts a feed specific to each user as well as a bevy of exclusive features (see story).

?Building community is something that comes naturally for running apps,? Mr. Ng said. ?I believe that there is a fine line between promoting the brand and promoting personal achievement and community, using the brand as the tool to do so.

?Nike has been flirting with this fine line for many of its releases,? he said. ?One example is the ability to post that you are starting a run and have your social followers give you audio cheers during your workout.

?From my personal experience, when I fully bought into the Nike+ platform as the place to store my data and build my local running social circle, the Nike brand awareness and sentiment increased for myself and my network as a natural result.?