I do a lot of running on a weekly basis and I’m constantly looking for things that will make my runs more enjoyable and successful. New trainers, better clothing, etc, etc. However, one thing I would never change is music, I bring an iPod Nano with me on every run. When I heard about Nike+, I was at first sceptical about it but then I gave into temptation.
After a quick calibration over a few hundred metres, simply select your workout type, playlist and away you go. The Nike+ kit consists of two parts. A small pedometer device that goes into your shoe and a small receiver that plugs into the port of your iPod Nano. Nike manufacture shoes specifically for this system with a cavity under the insole for the pedometer but it isn’t necessary to purchase these shoes. I have an old pair of Nike Shox and the device fits snuggly under the lining of the tongue of the shoe.
The system allows you to input your weight also. So, while you are running about it is estimating your calorie burn rate. There is even a workout that is based on calories burned rather than distance, great for anyone trying to shape-up. Over a recent 11km run the accuracy of the device for distance was out by about 5% (underestimated). However, that’s more than acceptable to me as pedometers by nature cannot be wholly accurate and this route involved many uphill and downhill sections hence varying my stride. When you complete your run you get a full lowdown on how you performed and during your run you get updates everytime you run a kilometre or mile (your choice) and also regular updates on your distance left after you hit half-way in a distance run. You can also hear your average time per km/mile all without ever having to look at the iPod. Another nice feature is the “power song” feature. Every runner has a song that releases a bit of adrenalin, “Eye of the tiger” or whatever you want. 🙂 I always wished the iPod had this feature and now it does by simply holding down the centre button for a second or two.
When you get home, it’s still not over. Connect up your iPod and launch iTunes to transfer your data to the Nike website. You can store your past runs, track your progress, set goals and challenge somebody in Boston to a virtual race. Overall I’m blown away by this simple little package that cost less than Euro 30. I don’t think I’ll ever run without it again. If I had to say something negative I’d be stuck but I guess it would be that the receiver that plugs into the iPod needs power obviously and depending on the state of your iPod battery it might not last some of the longer distance runs unless you’re a top athlete or your iPod is always fully charged.