This is the first installement of a segment Brian and I have been thinking about, known as Tech Tuesday. Each week, we want to review some cool technology that may or may not have any relevance to anything our readership is interested in. Really, its just a way for us to talk about things we think are cool.
For our first week, I wanted to talk about the Nike+ add-on to your iPod. Now, I want to get this out up front, I'm not a fan of Nike . . . but I like this little add-on.
For those of you who aren't familiar, Nike+ is a way to measure your runs. It lets you keep track of your pace, distance, and projected calorie burn. It also lets you load up everything into a nice, fancy online account, so you can review your past runs, set goals, and join challenges against other people.
So, lets go over the basics. You purchase a Nike+, and attach it to your ipod. It will load whatever it needs to load into your iPod, and you are pretty much good to go. Please note, You will also need a way to attach the foot sensor to your foot. Nike makes special shoes, where the sensor gets embedded in the sole so you dont notice it, but since I have rejected all things Nike---except the nike+---I refuse to buy their shoes. Furthermore, I am running with Vibrams, so there is literally no way to embed it in the sole of my shoe. Fortunately, third-party sellers sell these little pouches. These just strap on to your laces, and/or velcro (as in the case of Vibrams). So, let's get into the details:
How It Works
Nike+ comes with a sensor and receiver. Built into the sensor, their is something called a piezoelectric accelerometer. I am not going to attempt to go into the details, but, basically, the sensor can detect contact time with the ground and, using this value, it can calculate your pace. This system works best when you utilize the calibration function, because everyone
has slightly different styles and the amount of contact with the ground runners have varies widely.
A great article about exactly how it works can be found here.
Why I Like It
I like to know how far I go, though typically I don't really care how long it takes me. Honestly, sometimes I am frustrated because I feel like it was a good run, but my pace sucked. This is one of the reasons I like to run in kilometers, it makes me not worried about my pace as much compared to the dreaded ten-minute mile (see earlier blog post!).
One of the major reasons I like it, though, comes with all of the additions. I love how you can set goals and also review all of your runs. For instance, I know that since I've been tracking my runs with Nike+ I've run 344km and burned an approximate 30,300 calories. It keeps track of your all-time best runs, the longest distance you've gone, and a whole host of other things. What it does for me is it gives me something to look at when I am not running. It gives you a community to belong to. Any gamer can tell you how important being part of a vibrant community is; running is no different. If anything, I feel like the running community is one of the most friendly groups on the planet. Whenever I am out running around the park, fellow runners always say hello and smile. This site provides forums, tips and advice, and a whole lot of other things to keep you engaged in your runs.
The ability to connect to an activity while not doing that activity is key for me and my addictive personality. The more I can immerse myself into an activity, the better chance I have to stick with it. If you struggle to get going, give Nike+ a shot!