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This is yet another incarnation of my personal blog. Here's where you can read about what I do when I'm not at work: hiking, seeing plays and other shows, eating, traveling, etc.

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Running with Nike Plus

Posted by gck Sunday, February 13, 2011

A very kind marathon runner gave me a Nike+ SportBand for my birthday to encourage me with my running progress. Ever since my 5k events last year, I’ve maintained the ability to jog 3 miles, but I haven’t pushed myself further. In fact, before today, I believe the longest runs I had done were the two 5k events. Even though I’m not actively training towards something now, I knew it was time to take it up a notch.

Grantwood shoe pouchI do not run in Nike shoes, which is what the sensors that go with the Sportband are designed for. In order to use the sensor without a Nike+ enabled shoe, you have to find another way to attach the sensor to your shoe, preferably in a flat-laying position (NOT how the picture shows it). There are many pouches available, like this one or this one. I ended up getting the the Grantwood pouch because it was inexpensive and had good reviews. Unfortunately, it looks like it won’t make it to me for another few days, and in the meantime, I was eager to try out the Sportband.

tape method

There are a bunch of tutorials on how to attach your Nike+ sensor to your shoe online. Going for the easiest solution possible, I tried the “Quick Tape Method,” pictured above. While it did get the sensor to lay pretty flat, it did not end up working out well. Not only does tape make really annoying noises when you move, it also doesn’t stay on the shoe well. I got about half a block before the tape fell off.

my Mizunos with the Nike+ sensor

For today’s run, I tried a lace-in approach similar to the one described here, and it held perfectly. I went for my first 4 mile run, which took me into Bridle Trails State Park, a wooded equestrian park close to my normal running route. It’s fun to see horses, and the trees made me feel far away from the city. It’s not the best place to run during the winter because the rain makes the trails muddy, but once summer comes, I’m sure I’ll be spending more time in there.

my run on the Nike site

It’s really easy to upload running data to the Nike site, which also provides you with cool visualizations of your running habits, social features, and challenges to keep you motivated. I was a little frustrated at first by the speed and a few bugs on the site, but I will admit that the designers did a great job making it look cool. If you’re hooked on Farmville, there’s Nike+ Active, where you use “fuel points” from your activities to conquer the world. You don’t even need the Sportband to use these features if you have a compatible iPod or iPhone and the Nike+ sensor.

As you can see from my screenshot, the run data isn’t accurate. Since the technology doesn’t use GPS (and since I’m not using it in the intended way), there’s potential for inaccuracy. Supposedly once it’s calibrated against a real run, the accuracy improves. We’ll see how it goes on the next run!


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