Nike’s #makeitcount Campaign – The power of the brand and social media

The world’s biggest sporting brand has launched it’s annual campaign driven by the force of social media. All athletes, including runners have been asked to tell Nike and the rest of the world how they are going to “make 2013 count”. The campaign, endorsed by a number of Olympic and world athletes and titled with the infamous Twitter hashtag has attracted thousands to sign up. Motivational images such as the ones below are leading the movement to encourage athletes to sign up and connect with the rest of the world about their sporting goal for the next 12 months.

Take a look to see how the running community got together in New York for #makeitcount 2012 last year (how I would’ve loved to have been there!). It portrays so well the power of the Nike brand and as well how social media in isolation has it’s own power to bring people with similar interests together.

The#makeitcount campaign doesn’t just involve athletes to pledge their sporting goals for this year, it gives a general message of doing something more active with your life. This has been introduced to coincide with the release of the Nike+ fuel band which retails at around £129 and basically tracks how “fuelled” up you are on activity (and adrenalin). Take a look at this amazing video, made by Casey Neistate, an American film producer about how he is making this year count:

(My heart literally stopped when he jumped from that waterfall)

Casey’s video which is full of energy and motivation is exactly the kind of marketing Nike have so successfully involved themselves with. Marketing and positioning of a brand has become ever more essential in the age of the social media revolution and the citizen journalist. Making their brand about people and experiences and allowing them to share those in a world wide community rather than another dreary product focused advertising campaign is something Nike has perfected over the past decade.

Few more #makeitcount pacts from Nike’s Facebook page:






However, Nike have not lost sight of the importance of high quality products and the way these are marketed and released has also proven vital to their success. The introduction of their Nike Free trainer just as the phenomenon of minimal and barefoot running started to take off is a clever and successful move.

They have managed to consistently make their profits rise year on year – they recorded a $24.1 billion revenue in 2012 and adapting their products to fall in line with changing trends and fashion has proven to be the magical formula to ensure this keeps happening. How even after thirty years and in a global economic downturn, people continue buying Nike gear and everyone wants to be seen in it is a massive achievement. And I don’t see it changing any time soon. Bravo Nike.
Will you be #makingitcount this year?

Happy Running.



Winter Running – There is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothes.

As temperatures are dropping and the nights are getting colder, the temptation to stay inside in the warm gets more and more difficult.

Running in the cold is a great feeling and thanks to new technology in clothing you don’t have to spend all winter inside on the treadmill.

When it comes to clothing make sure you follow these simple steps to ensure you can run well & to your best during the cold weather

Cover your head

Your head can get very cold but at the same time it can also get very hot during exercise. I personally don’t like wearing anything too heavy on my head like a bobble hat as I find my forehead gets too sweaty and itchy. To ensure the right balance and comfort I recommend you purchase a fleece headband which will keep your ears and sides of your head warm as well as blocking the wind.  I have a Lowe Alpine one which is brilliant.

Talking of wind, it can also damage your skin so make sure you apply moisturiser before and after you run so you don’t get wind burn. It’s also good to use a chapstick or vaseline on your lips so you don’t get chapped skin.

Running in the rain

As the Scandinavian proverb (and my father) says:

“There is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothes”

Having a good running jacket for running in the rain (which happens a lot here in Wales) is essential to making sure your run isn’t ruined by (I won’t say bad but) tough conditions. Even if its cold and wet, your body is going to produce heat and sweat if you wear layer up on layer. The best thing to do is think ahead and not put on everything you own.

My essentials are:

1. A long pair of thermal leggings that cover past the ankle and into the trainer. Now these do vary in price quite significantly. It really depends on whether you care a lot about brands. For instance Nike leggings or a North Face pair will set you back between £30-£40 but you are guaranteed high quality and they can be worn in the summer too. You can also pick up standard branded running leggings for about £15 a pair but they aren’t likely to come with thermal benefits. These Under Armour ones are my favourite:

Not only do these look great but the quality of the garment is in the price. They consist of what is called Core X ColdGear Compression whih means they don’t only keep you warm but they compress and preserve muscle groups during running to keep risk of injury to a minimum. *adds to wishlist”

2. A good running jacket is key. Here’s what I’m running in at the moment – I picked it up from a local Nike outlet store for £20 and it has everything I need.  (Apologies for the poor photography, I’d make a rubbish eBay seller)

The jacket has reflective parts on the back, front and hood which is crucial to staying safe when running in the dark and when visibility is poor. When it’s raining and I want my head to be covered as much as possible, there is a toggle on the back of the hood and on the sides so it stays in place. There is nothing worse than having to constantly adjust yourself during a run so this is a great feature.

3. Durable trainers

I’ve got two pairs of running rainers – a new pair and an old pair. My old ones are a pair of Asic Gel Galaxy 3’s that I can’t bare to get rid of as they have been so good to me over the past few years. They have never caused me any problems injury wise and are the most comfortable trainers I have ever worn. I would say these are the best to wear when it’s raining as my new shiny Nike Frees aren’t the H20 Repel version. My Nike Frees feel completely different to my Asics but are equally as comfortable – I feel like I’m running on air and I feel like I can always run for longer. They have definitely lived up to the hype in my opinion.

4. Gloves

Running gloves are diffrent to normal gloves as they must have breathabilty and also keep you warm. I picked these gloves up in the Nike sale for £6.95. The fleece version is available but I prefer the lightweight pair as they can be worn in milder conditions and are made of 98% Dri-Fit and are therefore the best for breathability.

What else you wear is up to you but I recommend as long as you have good high quality thermal gear, you don’t need to wear tons of layers because you will get too hot and uncomfortable.

So running in the winter, as you can tell does have to be more carefully considered but once you’ve got the basic gear you will enjoy running and that’s the most important thing. Money will have to be spent to do this but it is a lot cheaper than being tied to a 12 month contract at your local gym where running on the treadmill is more of a chore than a hobby.

Please feel free to share your experiences and tips on winter running below, I’d love to hear them.

Happy running!