Tibs Manor

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Nike+

For a few weeks now, Lauren and I have been going running every few days. I'm horribly out of shape but even in the short time since we began I've gone from gasping after 1 mile to gasping after 1.5 miles, which is progress! I had read about the Nike+ collaboration between Nike and Apple - this consists of a small pedometer that wirelessly transmits to a receiver that you plug into an iPod Nano. It tracks pace/distance/time and uploads your statistics to the very snazzy Nike+ website. Soon enough the rationalizations began - my current sneakers were falling apart, my current iPod is an original 5 gig model with a slowly dying battery, and man won't I be extra motivated to run more if I bought into this system?

So buy into it I did, with a pair of Air Max 180 sneakers, the 1 gig Nano, and the transmitter kit.

First off the Nano - I went with the small size for pricing reasons, as even with an older iPod it is hard for me to justify buying another until my current one dies completely (it is also a sentimental favorite since Lauren bought it for me in our first year of dating). Also my thinking with iPods has always been that until they have a model in the 150 gig neighborhood, I'm not going to fit my whole collection, so whether it's 1 gig or 4, either way I'll be loading it up fairly often. The current iPod software is really nice, with album art and such. The Nano is a physical wonder, I don't even feel it in my pocket. I am going to continue using the 5 gig iPod for the car, but I think for plane flights and walking around, the Nano is my new best friend. I cannot get over how light this thing is. It is actually a little hard for my oversized hands (I preferred the original Xbox controller if that tells you anything) to operate it but I'm sure I'll get used to it.

Next off the sneakers - I am still breaking them in but they are pretty comfortable and also quite light. The actual transmitter fits into a little indentation under the sole of the shoe. You can use the transmitter with other sneakers - you just need to cut the indentation yourself, or even fasten the transmitter under your laces. Since I needed new sneakers anyway I figured I would go whole hog, plus the Apple aesthetic I have fallen for means that I care about having a cohesive, clean look, and a transmitter velcroed to the outside of my foot clearly would not do.

I used the whole package for the first time yesterday morning, and it worked pretty well. I aimed for a 1.5 mile run, and the pedometer was fairly accurate - by my math I think it underestimated by about .08 miles. That's already pretty decent for my needs, but next time we hit the CalTech track I plan on calibrating it, which supposedly greatly improves the accuracy. At times during your run, the music will soften and a voice will call out to you when you pass milestones like every mile, halfway, every 100 meters down the homestretch, that sort of thing. It reports your distance, time, and pace, and if you don't hear it often enough you can press a button and it will announce it on demand. It is really nice to get the constant feedback and know just how you're doing.

Cooler still is the website. When you plug your Nano back in, iTunes will sync your data with the Nike+ website. You can view your times in various ways, my favorite so far is the view shown here, plotting pace against distance, so you can see how your speed varied throughout the run. The data also gets associated with your log on nikerunning if you have one there which is nice, since I had already logged a few weeks with that system. I haven't been able to see some of the displays like graphs and comparisons since I only have one run logged, but that will come soon enough.

You can do some other neat stuff on there too. You can set personal goals (times per week, total distance, speed, etc.) and get feedback based on how you're doing. You can set up challenges with friends on the system and see who meets them first. There's even a cool little section showing all the various recently logged sessions around the country. It is reassuring to see that there are people running even less than me! There are leaderboards and some other stuff too, I haven't fully explored it yet.

I will say that at least for now it has me incredibly excited about going out again and getting some more data logged. This is more of a first impression than a real review, and I'm sure going forward I'll figure out some stuff I don't like, but my first impression is really positive. It has me motivated to go out and exercise more, and it makes the exercise itself a lot more fun. I can't ask for a lot more from this type of product.

3 Comments:

  • This seems like a really great thing! I know keeping track of my steps/ miles with my pedometer keeps me walking more. Keep up the good work! Gina : )

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:35 AM  

  • an update - one issue I have is that a calibration is not stored as a run. If you're like me and can only run about 2K, spending 400m on calibration without seeing the payoff is frustrating!

    By Blogger Sir Tibs Tibsford, at 11:54 AM  

  • Hi Nice Blog .ipod battery share the characteristics common to Lithium-based technology found in other devices. Like other rechargeable batteries, these batteries may eventually require replacement.

    By Blogger Andreya, at 8:28 PM  

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