Running is all about gadgets and toys. Err, it really isn’t, but if you’re a true gadget geek it can become. One thing I’m often asked is how do I measure the distance and then if my music changes the faster I run.
The way I measure how far I’ve ran is by using a cool device called pedometer, in my case it’s called Nike+ and is connected to my iPod Nano. What it does is that it has a mechanical component that measures movement and it then transfers it to my iPod. This allows you to store this information in it, using your iTunes to transfer it to the world.
On to the questions:
How many parts does the thing have?
It has two parts – pedometer that goes into your shoe and a small white connector for your iPod Nano (notice I keep saying Nano, because it only works on Nano’s and 2nd gen iPod Touch).
You get both parts as a part of Nike+ iPod Sport Kit. It costs about 30 Eur/29USD (I know, Apple “exchange rate” is horrible) and you can buy it at any Apple or Nike store and most good sports stores. It’s nothing special in this regard.
Do I need a special shoe for this?
Depends. Nike+ shoes have a special hole for the pedometer, but you can easily build your own pouch and attach it to the shoe laces. They even sell them on Amazon for a few dollars.
What exectly does it do?
It keeps track of how fast and far you’re running. It has a number of settings where in beginning you set how many miles/kilometers you want to run or time or calories. It will then keep you updated on your progress as you run.
Example: let’s say you’re running 7 km. It will let you know for each 1km and when it’s 3.5km (half-way point). For last 400 meters, it’s going to count down by 100m, giving you extra push in the end.
During run you can press the middle button of iPod and it’s going to tell you how you are doing and full statistics (length and time).
After the run you just connect it to your iTunes and it’s going to send the data to NikePlus web-site, where you get such screenshot:
The page allows you to keep progress, create running paths, has widgets for your blog and many more things. For the ones that are not happy with iTunes or Nike page, the XML file of your run is freely accessible on your iPod and there are a number of utilities and alternative webpages out there that you can use.
Does it change music while I run, depending on my speed?
Surprisingly – no. I believe that this is urban myth, since I haven’t yet discovered this feature. I’m also of opinion that it’s not needed as you usually have your own playlist or one of the Nike Original Run mixes that are long enough that you don’t need to change songs while running.
How accurate is it?
It’s about +/- 10% accurate. This means that you won’t know exactly how much you ran, but it’s still accurate enough that you can compare your different runs, which is actually functionality that you want.
Is it worth it?
Definitely. For people who are just starting to run, having something to keep you motivated while you run is really incredible. It’s like having a running partner that keeps telling you “we’re almost there, just a little bit more”. In addition to that, having an online profile keeps you fair and allows you to compare your runs with peers and is one more motivator to go out.
You can ask any additional questions in the comments, and I’ll try to answer them.