I’ve never been huge on running – and one of the main reasons why my race trainers stay woefully neglected, gathering dust at the bottom of my wardrobe, is that I often get a kind of imposter syndrome when I’m jogging in public. Am I running too fast? Are my feet striking the floor at the right angle? Do my arms look stupid?
There’s a lot to worry about, especially when you’re being lapped in the park by pro-runners – the type that speed along effortlessly around you, seemingly just knowing exactly what to do.
So naturally, I was keen to see if Nurvv Run could help (£249.99, nurvv.com). It’s a clever coaching system that’s housed within a pair of running insoles you slip into your trainers.
From there, it analyses aspects of your running technique to give you real-time feedback, and coaching on how you can improve your running game. Here’s what I thought…
How does it work?
The insoles are fitted with 32 sensor pressure pads, which feed through to a free, companion smartphone app.
The insoles are also linked with GPS tracker units which clip onto the collar of your shoes, just underneath the ankles.
Setting them up is pretty fuss-free. You layer the insoles underneath the sock liners that are already in your running shoes, and then clip the GPS dock in place on the shoe – the trackers themselves can be clipped in and out, so you don’t have to remove the entire insole to charge them.
The GPS and under-foot sensors work in tandem to feedback a variety of data about your running technique. As well as getting stats on your pace, distance and cadence, the sole sensors give you information on your foot-strike pattern, pronation and balance – three features that I think set these insoles apart from a wearable watch.
All of your running metrics are uploaded to an easy-to-use mobile app (iOS and Android compatible). Over time, Nurvv builds up a picture of your running and provides coaching to help you run faster and improve your technique, which can ultimately reduce the risk of pre-race day injury.
The removable GPS trackers connect fairly seamlessly. They have a button on the inside to switch them on – pop on your Bluetooth, start your run in the app and you’re good to go.
Although the they might look bulky on first glance, the trackers are surprisingly lightweight and comfortable – to the point where I couldn’t feel them on my run. Nurvv also provide extra clips for runners with thin-walled trainers and I was impressed to see that they didn’t slip out of place, even on my ultra-minimal Salomon S/lab Phantasm shoes.
I liked that the app gave me detailed pronation and foot-strike feedback – two metrics that I’d never really thought about before. I was surprised to find that my neutral pronation was considered poor (at 55%), and the app told me to add single leg stability exercises to my training, as well as increasing my step width to improve this score.
The percentage of neutral pronation and my foot-strike patterns were also broken down by left and right feet, so I could really hone in on my problem areas.
Another great feature for beginners is Nurvv’s running ‘health score’. As you clock up your runs, the app will give you a mark out of 100, based on a mixture of data, including recent training load (aka the amount of exercise you’re doing), pronation, cadence and balance patterns.
Using all of this knowledge, the app will suggest how long your next run should be or whether you should take a rest day, It’s essentially like having a running coach in your pocket – and one that will pace you too. You can set a previous run as your base run and then tell the app to help you run faster than it.
As someone who’s always been a bit confused by the whole pacing game, this was one of my favourite features, as it gave me audio prompts to increase my speed, so I could stay on track with my target pace.
When fully charged, the soles will last for around five hours, so you’ll need to be organised and pop them on charge the night before a run. Overall, I found this to be a really handy bit of kit for a beginner runner, as it made me feel a lot more comfortable and clued-up on my runs, helping me to train with purpose. I would definitely use these if I was training for a race.
That said, if you’re the type of experienced runner that already has your technique and pace game down, it might not be such a worthwhile investment.