In preparing for this year's Boston Marathon® Jimmy Fund Walk, I received conflicting information about the length of one of my frequented training routes. The small .3 mile difference between one loop at 1.8 miles vs. 1.5 miles increases to a differnce of 2.7 miles when the same route needs to be completed 9 times to reach a weekly long walk goal. That's a big difference when tracking average mile time, a number I needed to accurately estimate how early I needed to leave the Hopkinton Start Line to reach other team members in Wellesley on Walk Day. I didn't want to keep them waiting, and let's face it - and extra 30-60 minutes of sleep at 4:30am is a big deal! (smile!)
In comes the NIKE+ ipod Sports Kit. I've been hearing great things about this tool that includes a small wireless sensor that fits under the insole of compatible NIKE+ sneakers. The sensor communicates with an ipod or iphone and will track mileage completed, steps completed (pedometer function) and calories burned (if you include your height & weight).
Initially, I wasn't sure I'd like a soft voice letting me know how many miles I had finished but found it subtle and not distracting at all - even with music playing. I also liked that if a specific number of total miles for your workout is pre-programmed in, the voice switches at the mid-point of your route to descending mileage - letting you know how many miles are left of your workout until you're done. There is also a 300ft, 100ft, etc... count down at the very end of your workout. This may sound silly, but the first time I tried it was on an 18 mile training route. I had 1/2 mile left to complete and it was 9:30pm on a hot, humid day. I planned to finish when I got to my car and forget the last bit. (Hadn't I done enough???) As I spotted my vehicle in the distance, the first metered countdown began. Ok.... (sigh...). I think I can do a little more. 300ft to go as I waved to my car and hobbled past.... I felt GREAT when I finished and hadn't copped out early. So, there is defiinitely a motivational and supportive coaching aspect of this terrific tool, too. (It also knows when you aren't moving and cues you to start up again - so no breaks unless you pause the workout).
What I like best is the freedom of no longer needing to pre-track routes before a walk or run. It is a must have for people who enjoy tracking progress but like the freedom to listen to their bodies and explore new roads & paths in the moment. What I was surprised about is the reality of the calorie burn for hours worth of walking. This an excellent resouce for weight loss programs. Especially since you can track steps while cleaning, doing errands, etc... and listen to music. This makes movement fun while streamlining how much technology you need to be connected to.
My greatest challenge - trying to figure out how to switch back from the 'pause' mode during bathroom breaks to resume a worktout. Learning to transition back to the same workout vs. needing to start again would be great. If anyone out there has tips, please email me!
The Sports Kit is only $29 and far more accurate than any other pedometer or tracking tool I've come across. If you wear NIKE's and have an ipod it's worth adding to your holiday wish list this season.
Learn More: http://store.apple.com/us/product/MA365LL/F/Nike-iPod-Sport-Kit