Nike + iPod (AKA Sports Kit)

May 7, 2007

Saturday I took delivery of the NIKE + iPod kit (Also known as iPod sports kit) which consists of a sensor you place in one of your running shoes, and a reciever which goes into the charger/USB port on your iPod nano.

Together, these two little devices provide you with what Apple and Nike like would like us to think of as a personal electronic coach. Although I was a bit sceptical about the actualy coaching benefits, I did find the feedback very useful from a motivational point of view – I know at any time in my run how long I have run for, how far, and how many calories I have burnt (Not to worried about the last one!)

The receiver actually adds functionality to your iPod Nano, as the first thing you notice after plugging it in and switching on your Nano is an additional menu ‘Nike+iPod’. Go into this menu and you’ll find the following options:

  • Basic – Start running, get the stats – Nice and simple
  • Time – Choose a time from 5 minutes up to 90 minutes. Start running and you’ll get feedback every so often (Frequency depends on chosen time), with the feedback changing from ‘you have run for X minutes’ to X minutes remaining’ once you pass the half way mark.
  • Distance – Similar to time. Choose a distance from 3km to a full marathon
  • Calories – 100 to 800 Calories!
  • Settings – Yup, the setting – Wont go into them now!
  • History – View your previous runs, times, calories burnt…Etc

I did my first run with the Nike + iPod today, which I set at 1 hour and just started running. Once I got over the novelty of the voice in my ear, telling me how long I had run for (Automatically every 5 minutes – Thankfully the track you are listening to fades out nicely for the voice, then back in again) I actually found the feedback quite useful. One of my big weaknesses with my running is pacing – I alway want to run faster than I should for the distance I am doing – With the constant feedback I was able to improve this.

Even after my first run this device has made a difference to my running:

  • Improved pace
  • I ran for an hour and did 11.09 km. Normally I would go and do 10km, which would take an hour. I have been told before that running for a given amount of time is better for you in terms of improving speed.

How about accuracy? Well, I had heard some people mention that the Nike + iPod wasnt too accurate. This can be improved by going through the calibration, although even without carrying out the calibration, my distance was measured at 11.22km. I did a comparison on MapMyRun.Com (Albeit rather un-scientific!) which came out at 11.10km, a difference I am happy with – If it was way out then I would be concerned, a little bit I am not worried about, after all – I will probably measure all my runs with the kit now anyway.

I look forward to making more use of this cool kit, I think this will prove to be a worth while investment that will improve my running. My only regret – Turning a simple, enjoyable thing like running into something that now demands that I carry web enabled, wireless technology with me!!

Find out more on Apples product info pages or on the ‘Nike+’ site


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