Nike import issues

Posted

The Nike sync is currently down. As of Sept 28th, new runs are no longer flowing through the pathways we use to retrieve your data. We’re not an official partner of Nike, and so we don’t have any recourse, but to wait and hope that they fix something.

This turn of events is all the more painful because I’ve just spent over a month working to make the Nike import bulletproof. We have a fair number of Nike users on Smashrun and, for many people, the data we’ve retrieved has become the sole existing record of those runs. It pained me to see the frequent problems and errors. So, I rolled up my sleeves and attacked the issue wholeheartedly. I invested an embarrassing amount of time in the task.

There are currently dozens of different sources for the runs that end up on Nike’s site: the watch, the footpod, the iPhone and Android apps, runs sent from Tom Tom, runs sent from Garmin, the Apple Watch, and even connected treadmills. Each of these sources have unique data signatures – the data is registered in the same fields but with different meanings. This means that each source must be handled differently. And, of course, these sources have also changed historically as old bugs were fixed, and new ones were introduced. In short, it was a fool’s errand, the deepest and darkest morass.

After spending a month in the weeds, building a matrix of kludges based on the different versions and sources, I can only describe the way the data is stored like this… Imagine you wrote a love poem, and faxed it to a machine running out of ink, somewhere in Glasgow. Someone picks up the printout, stuffs it in their pocket and carries it through a rainstorm to the nearest pub. Once there he hands it to the first person he finds who happens to have this terrible cold, and they uncrumple the soaking wet fax, with it’s smeared ink, and they read it in their thick Scottish brogue over a bad Skype connection to someone who’s hard of hearing. It’s kind of like that.

Ok, well, it’s not exactly like that. From the 1,000 foot view that Nike’s site gives you, everything appears to be in order. Yes, the graph goes up and the graph goes down, and indeed, it does change colors. Yes, there’s a map that shows pretty much where you ran. Yes, there are splits. But, no… those splits can’t be backed out of the raw data. And if you calculate the distance based on the GPS points, it won’t match the distance you’ve been given for that run. And the bits on the graph where it’s green don’t always match the places where you ran fast.

In practice, the data isn’t there. Not really. What you see on Smashrun, I think, is the best that can be done. And, for some device/software version combinations, the data should be pretty good now. But, looking back at it, no programmer who wasn’t also the founder of the company, would ever have been given the latitude to sink so many hours into this project. To be honest, it was as much a crusade as anything else. Runs are personal, the record of the run is personal, and that data is yours – you should be able to have access to it.

Which brings me back to the current situation. Nike usually stages runs from the main site to their API. But, at present, that’s no longer happening. I suspect that at some point, someone may notice and reboot a process somewhere and get things back on track, or the choice may be deliberate in which case the sync will be broken for good. I highly recommend supporting companies that believe in data portability.


If you’re using an iPhone, iSmoothrun has a great app as well as a standalone Apple Watch app that exports to Smashrun (and many other sites).

If you’re using an Android phone then Sportractive, Caledos Runner, and Ghostracer all export directly to Smashrun (as well as other sites).

  1. porkfork

    I haven’t used nike in a few years, but feel you should still get a big “thank you!”
    When I was switching from nike, there were a couple sites that had created run importers, and just a few weeks ago I was cleaning up some old bookmarks and saw that those sites had stopped trying to glean the nike data ages ago.

    You’ve probably talked about it in previous blog posts, but is there a day on the foreseeable horizon when smashrun will no longer attempt to support nike?

    Reply
  2. Chris

    I’ve used Nike Plus for about 5 years of running but on my current run streak noticed the lack of import the other day so I’ve manually entered and now using my Garmin the last few runs. Thanks for the update and efforts.

    Reply
  3. sparrowhawkes

    Thanks for all the time and effort you put into this site to help keep us runners going!

    Reply
  4. Simon

    Thanks for your hard work – your previous blogs and my own Nike import issues convinced me to stop using the app some time ago. This current blog only further strengthens that resolve.

    It’s a real shame to me because Nike’s training plan feature is really quite nice.

    Reply
  5. Steve

    I must admit as a non-dev who has recently started to work as a Project Manager in eCommerce your description of the way the data is stored did make me laugh and rang true! This must be a right nuisance for those it affects but also the bigger issue of you being the owner of your data and having control of it is a worry. The trend for several large players (Strava/Runkeeper etc.) to want to make it as hard as possible to extract the original data is concerning. I get why they want to do it but that’s not the point. Keep up the good work trudging through those muddy fields!

    Reply
  6. Andres Hart

    Again, a big thanks for your efforts, some day in my timeline I decided to give up on Nike and using Garmin as more trustworthy source, still keep login my runs in Nike… and the differences….well…

    Reply
  7. Laffer

    Chris time to cut the technical debt and deprecated the feature! Dump Nike! But a huge THANKS for your big effort. The runners love you.

    Reply
  8. Christian Magnell

    Thanks for the update. I use Nike (Apple Watch) and this is disappointing but I appreciate your efforts. I’ll add my runs manually. If eventually importation works again, cool.

    Reply
        • J.D. Williams

          I do still use Nike’s training plans, but iSmooth run is so much better at tracking and exporting the data. I had so many issues with Nike stopping during a run, or their website was inaccurate for months at a time with PR’s, etc. I was tracking with Runkeeper and manually entering in Nike, or trying to track with both at the same time.

          Switching to iSmooth run was a great decision. It exports straight to Smashrun, still to Nike and to Runkeeper. Also, once you get them figured out, the workout and interval training is great.

          Reply
  9. Fernando Quartarolo

    It really is not easy to work when third parties do not help, congratulations on the work your website is much better than these problems with nike.
    Good luck

    Reply
  10. Steve

    It is Nike, would you expect anything less from the world’s worse shoe company?

    Reply
  11. Thom

    Chris,

    Thanks for working so hard on this. I gave up on Nike almost a year ago was thrilled to find Smashrun. Nike users, take the plunge. Get a Garmin watch and abandon Nike. Smashrun is so much better.

    Thank you

    Reply
  12. Craig

    Thanks for the hard work. Your site is awesome. I moved over to Garmin full time about 4 months ago just because of the Nike portability issues.

    Reply
  13. ftaok

    I’m about to dump Nike. This last outage has been excruciating. It’s like dating someone who is not good to/for you, but you keep going back.

    As it is, I’m gonna give Nike one more chance. I’m hoping that whatever import/export issues are going on are due to server changes required for the new NRC app update. I’ll know more after my Thursday run.

    Reply
    • Vlad

      I used to use Nike app and tried ismoothrun only because I read that it teleports a lot less when you’re running in areas with poor reception (near high buildings and cloudy etc). I’ve not really had any data import issues in the last year and the quality of the data is so much better.

      Reply
      • ftaok

        If/when I dump NRC, I’m going to iSmoothRun. I like the idea of the app auto-exporting my run data straight into SmashRun.

        Good to hear some positive experiences about it though. Thanks.

        Reply
        • J.D. Williams

          I would suggest making the switch today. I still use Nike for their training plans, but do all the actual tracking of runs with iSmoothRun. It’s been so much easier.

          Reply
          • Frankie

            You can do what I do, start using both. Just shut one of them down. At the end of the race you’ll have results from both apps. Pretty simple. I keep Nike+ just because I have a nice leaderboard with friends year-on-year. For actual data iSmoothRun+SmashRun are unbeatable.

        • Ed

          if you switch to iSmoothRun now, you can still simultaneously export the data to Nike,SmashRun, RunKeeper, MapMyRun, Strava, and pretty much any other site of note at the end of each run, so you dont really lose anything. Or you can email yourself the raw GPX files if you want. As someone who has dug into the guts of GPX files in the past at work, the quality of data that comes from iSR is far superior.
          Also, the standalone iSR Apple Watch app is fairly seamless, as it auto updates iSR when you get back in range of your phone.

          Reply
  14. Fernando

    Thanks for the update! I am sorry to see Nike doing that, I really enjoyed using their app – their social rankings were quite good and really promoted competition among me and my friends.

    I am considering buying a Garmin watch anytime soon, but in the meantime, do you recommend using Strava to clock runs? I ask because I already have Strava installed for cycling and was wondering whether I need a new app like Ghostracer …

    Thanks!

    Reply
      • Fernando

        Thanks for the tip – tried it out today and works great, although it is not as practical as Nike was hehe. Will also give a chance to Ghostracer to see how it goes! :)

        Reply
  15. Alfred

    Hi, I started to use sportactive app today. Do you know generally how long after a run that the data will get sync to Smashrun?

    I love your site. Nike being Nike, there is always alternatives.

    Reply
    • Jacklyn

      It should send the run immediately after you save it. Can email us at hi@smashrun.com so that we can troubleshoot? We probably just have to double check some settings on your Sportractive account.

      Reply
  16. Bill

    Boo hisss. Just made the 1000 days as well. Will hope and pray things resolve

    Reply
  17. Frankie

    Remember this, if you’re running with an iPhone (I don’t know how Apple Watch works) you can run with TWO simultaneously applications which is what I’ve been doing since Nike went down the drain.

    Both iSmoothrun to update to SmashRun and Nike+ to keep my active leaderboard against my friends. The battery hit is minimal.

    Reply
      • Frankie

        Just open Nike+ and press run. Then open iSmoothRun and press run. I suggest you disable Nike+ voice over (or iSmoothRun’s) so you only get one reading per mile/km. As iSmoothRun gives you more detailed stats (last km lace, full face pace, cadency) I would suggest you try that.

        Reply
  18. Rick Nance

    This is alla bit of a drag with Nike, but I have to admit I’m not normally a fan anyway, and apple, something I use constantly and have for decades (really? jeez) don’t really inspire confidence regarding integration with things that don’t pull direct profit.
    But I got a nike/apple/TomTom used cause it fit the budget.

    So now I’m wondering; Does anyone have any budget suggestions for the next non-phone sportwatch or tracker?

    I like this site and pretty much would prefer something that worked well here.

    cheers y’all

    and thanks for all the effort. Constantly kludging shifting data must be a nightmare sometimes.

    Reply
    • Frankie

      Regarding running without the phone, Apple watch looks pretty good. You can run with iSmoothRun or Nike+, sync music to your wireless headphones, watch is also swim-proof if your into triathlons… haven’t tried it but looks great on paper.

      Reply
      • Jacklyn

        Just a thing to keep in mind about running with the Apple Watch while using Nike+: we took a look at the data and it seems, at least earlier this year, the elevation data was being zeroed out. On its own, the Nike+ app does record elevation but, for whatever reason, it seemed like there was a bug where the Apple Watch wouldn’t include that data set. Another thing to note is that there’s very little information about exporting data from the Apple Watch. You can use a third party app like Spectarun to get the TCX file, but it’s not formatted in a way that’s supported by most running apps and 3rd party sync services like RunGap can’t grab the GPS trackpoints from the watch, just summary details. If you’re gonna run with the Apple Watch, definitely consider using an app that already lets you move your data around such as iSmoothrun. You could just get a Garmin or a TomTom sports watch (TomTom originally designed the Nike sports watches) – it’s really hard to beat a dedicated running watch if all you’re gonna use it for is to track your runs.

        Reply
        • Frankie

          Hi Jacklyn, first of all, great work! Regarding Apple Watch remember that versions 1 and 2 do NOT have an altimeter. The new version 3, that should be on sale soon, has. A dedicated watch has pros and cons. The pros are pretty obvious, the cons have more to do with the ability to hear music on the go, use the watch as a payment device if nearby shops support it, etc. And you can (and should) use iSmoothRun on the watch making the sync to SmashRun trivial. I’m talking without actually experiencing one, just on the specs.

          Reply
          • Ed

            I tracked a 9mi run a couple weeks ago with the iSmoothRun Apple Watch app. It did in fact record altitude data, and overall I’m pretty happy with the results. Was feeling a bit like the Jetsons as I was able to listen to music while tracking via iSR and get a text message from home telling me to bring coffee, all with only the watch on my wrist and some headphones.

          • Frankie

            @Ed, pro features rock! Gonna grab that for myself. And running with the AW3 and sounds amazing! Have to try that soon too!

  19. Christopher

    OK so if Nike+ is gone forever, which I’m thinking it might be, I’m looking for suggestions. I had iPhone for like 8 years and switched last year to Android specifically for the GearS2 so that I could have a watch that has cell service and could leave my phone at home while I ran. Fast-forward about 10 months and Nike+ stops support with the Gear because it went exclusive with Apple. I haven’t used my watch in almost a year, although I like it a lot. I have been debating switching back to Apple now that the AW3 is out and it has cell service, but I found y’all’s website about 2 months ago and have determined that Smashrun is more important to me than my 3 years of data on Nike+. So, the question is this… Is there a really good app that I could use on a GearS2 watch that syncs directly with SR? I don’t want a strictly running watch because I need to be able to answer my phone sometimes while I’m out, so my options right now are just the Gear and the AW3.

    Reply
  20. Jesper

    Your effort is remarkable and so is your resolve. Thank you for a great website and excellent sense of humour and smiles.

    Nevr give up.

    Nike should focus on clother and shoes, and leave the programming to someone who cares as much as you.

    Reply
  21. Christian

    The Strange thing is that RunGap couldn’t get the Nike* Runs because like you said Nike changed something. But somehow, maybe Magic, the Nike+ Run from October 6 was imported from Nike to RunGap…
    but with Smashrun is doesn’t work….very strange

    Reply
    • ftaok

      I have the same experience with RunGap too. I’ve been able to get all of my missing NRC+ runs into RunGap. I’ve also tested sending the .tcx file from RunGap and importing it into SmashRun.

      It works, but the times are off compared to the actual data shown on the NRC app. It’s usually off by 10 seconds or so and really messes up the pace.

      Reply
      • ftaok

        I went ahead and paid the $2 to RunGap for the 3-month Swag Bag.

        This lets me export my Nike runs from RunGap right into SmashRun. So as long as RunGap can access the Nike data, I have a way to share that data to SmashRun. Sure, it’s a kludge and an extra step, but at least I have access to all of my Nike data still … at least until Nike kills data access altogether.

        Reply
  22. Christopher

    OK so Endomondo has decent reviews for the GearS2. Is there a way to upload my runs from it to Smashrun? I searched in the app and didn’t see any type up upload or sync option.

    Reply
    • Jacklyn

      There’s no direct integration with Endomondo. We’ve tried contacting them repeatedly in the past but, since we’re considered a competing app, they weren’t interested in integrating. That said, you can export the GPX file for a run tracked by Endomondo and upload to Smashrun. You’ll find instructions for the export when you click Endomondo > Import Steps on the top-right: http://smashrun.com/running/apps/android. Upload steps here: http://smashrun.com/faq#faq-7

      Reply
      • Christopher

        Thank you so much! One last question so that I can gave all my bases covered for dumping Nike+, is there a way on SR to track shoe mileage? I started tagging what shoes I wore for each run, but can’t find a way to sort by tags or check total runs or mileage for a specific tag which is what I would think I need to do. Thanks for all you guys help and for making an excellent site!

        Reply
      • Jorge

        You can also use tapiriik to integrate with multiple services… Worth a look.

        Reply
  23. Stefan

    Hey guys,
    Hey Jacklyn,
    Since there is no good news regarding Nike Run Club imports, i’m thinking about the workaround with iSmoothRun. Can you give me some bits of information about this thing? Like:
    – Can i run only with the Phone/apple watch and afterwards sync my data with the iSmoothrun? Or do i need to start tracking my runs directly with iSmoothRun?
    – Did anyone tried this app after the Nike+ import issue with Smashrun (end of September, i guess) and how is it working?
    – Maybe you know how are they able to sync with Nike+ since it’s such a closed “area”.

    Thanks everyone.

    Thank you, SmashRun team, for keeping up this great platform and helping runners all over the world.

    Reply
    • Frankie

      I Stefan,

      I was exactly in your position. I used to run with Nike+ on my iPhone and then sync it to SmashRun. What I’m doing now is running with both iSmoothRun and Nike+. When starting the run I press start first on Nike+, then switch app to iSmoothRun letting Nike+ run in the background and press start on iSmoothRun. I run. When I stop I stop first iSmoothRun and then Nike+.

      Has been working like a charm. Just remember to desactive Nike+ voice feedback so that the apps don’t start giving you feedback simultaneously.

      Works like a charm. All the pros of using SmashRun and still keeping Nike+ just to have my leaderboard with friends.

      Hope it works for you,
      Frankie

      Reply
      • Ed

        Alternatively, you could just have iSmoothRun export to Nike+ at the same time it exports to SmashRun. That way you only have to run a single app. I just tested exporting a run from iSmoothRun to Nike+ about 5 minutes ago and it worked for me.

        Reply
        • ftaok

          Ed,

          How does that work? I wasn’t aware that Nike+ could import runs. Does GPS, HR and elevation data carry through to Nike?

          Thanks.

          Reply
          • Ed

            GPS, HR and elevation all appear to carry over. ISmoothRun exports to Nike at the end of runs same as it does to SmashRun, Runkeeper, Strava, MapMyRun,etc

          • ftaok

            Thanks Ed,

            iSmoothRun will definitely be my next system. Right now, as long as RunGap keeps getting access to Nike, I’ll still use the NRC+ app. I’m just used to it and don’t want to futz around, especially since I just want to run (and collect data in the background).

  24. Simon

    Thanks for all your hard work – it’s really appreciated!!

    You might be interested to learn that I’ve just received the following message from the IFTT app:
    **************
    Hello,

    On October 13th, the Nike+ service and its Applets will be removed from IFTTT. Here’s a message from our partners at Nike about the change:

    As a part of upcoming changes to our partner platform and authentication flow, we are taking this opportunity to reboot the partner connection portfolio.

    If you’re looking for an alternative, check out all the health and fitness services that work with IFTTT.

    Thank you for your understanding,
    *************
    It looks like some big changes are afoot with the Nike app 😡

    Reply
    • Chris

      Thanks for the heads up. That’s very interesting.

      “…we are taking this opportunity to reboot the partner connection portfolio.”
      Such a polite way of kicking an IFTTT off their API.

      Reply
  25. Christopher

    OK so as was suggested I started using Endomondo, and after a few runs I attempted to sync between E and SR using Tapiriik. My E account got all of my old runs off of SR, but my SR account was not updated at all. It took about 20 minutes for the E account to show the old activity, I guess because it was so much moving over. But I was only bringing over 2 runs from E to SR. It has been several hours, and if I try to resync on Tapiriik it just goes into queue because there is no new activity, Help please.

    Reply
  26. Danilo Tessera

    thanks Chris for your effort. I followed your advice and I’m using iSmoothrun and everything run… smooth!
    Thanks from Italy!!!

    Reply
  27. Stuart Ainsworth

    I echo all the comments re Nike and your efforts to crack the sync. I am currently mirroring runs on Strava and backing them int Smashrun which is a little clumsy but keeps both databases live. If I had not invested in an Apple Watch i would have ditched Nike+ long ago!!!

    Reply

Leave a Reply

  • (will not be published)

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>