nike + iPod gadget

I started out as a skeptic, but I’ve become a big fan of my nike+iPod gadget set. My wife nike + iPod gadgetgot me the gift box set for Christmas which has an iPod Nano, the Nike+ sensor that goes in or on your shoes, and a receiver that plugs into the bottom of the iPod (just like the docking or power cord). The product has been out for a while, but has gone through some improvements, particularly on the nike+ web site.

The best characteristics of the product are the motivation, the real-time feedback and the record keeping (see below for one caveat on the record keeping).

Motivation is provided either from the real-time feedback, through milestones noted at the end of a workout (it is quite cool to be congratulated by Tiger Woods or Lance Armstrong…or at least their voices), or through a customized workout program that can be purchased and downloaded through iTunes. I downloaded the Lance Armstrong intervals workout called Run Longer, and, though it kicked my butt the first time (hey, I’m over 40, past two knee ‘scopes and need as much motivation as I can) the concept works great. I love it when Lance tells me that “pain is only temporary”.

The real-time feedback comes at the push of a button, the middle button on your iPod. You are told (in a lovely female voice, or male if you want) distance, speed and time. Some runners prefer their GPS watch gadgets, which can give you the same data at a glance; to each his own.

The record keeping is done on the iPod, on iTunes and on the Nike+ web site. Your iPod shows runs you have uploaded into iTunes, your last workout, and your personal bests. iTunes is just a way station/sync point; it only shows your last workout and your totals. The Nike+ website is where you can slice and dice your runs, see how fast you did each mile or klick (or the speed when you pressed the magic button), set goals or workout schedules, and participate with others. I’d rather it be on my desktop (see below). I have seen some internet comments about accuracy of the system, but I have had no issues in that regard.

There are some limitations. Thus far, the solution only works with the iPod Nano (though there are some rumors that support is coming to the iPhone soon). My original (okay 2nd) iPod was a 20GB U2 edition, so I had to pare down to just my workout playlists on the Nano…but it truly was not that painful.

Also, I did have some concerns about having to use Nike shoes, as I have been running in Asics for many years. Two good things: one, there is a product called the Marware Sportsuit Sensor plus that lets you put the Nike+ sensor in a pouch and attach it with your shoe strings to any shoe; second, I found a pair of Nike running shoes that I liked, Air Max 180’s, which have similar characteristics to my Asics.

Lastly, the record keeping is through iTunes and in the Nikeplus web site. I would rather have a desktop application as opposed to uploading data that I have no need to share with anyone to a website. The tools to slice-and-dice your performance have improved on the website, but I would still rather have them locally.

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