Showing posts with label iPod. Show all posts
Showing posts with label iPod. Show all posts

Saturday, September 19, 2009

People plus and Nike minus

One of the greatest things about my work life is that I work with some cool and interesting people. A lot of that has to do with the company itself, it takes a lot to get hired here so those that do get in tend to be the leaders in their field. It's great to spend your days with people that you respect and also like. Not surprisingly, I met my wife here. Readers know about the amazing Adventure Girl and the Sedentary Man also has many fans. Another colleague who personifies this profile is KWL, a man with more sources of interest than J.P. Morgan Chase. I won't go into his professional bona fides but I will say that he is my inspiration when it comes to blending activity and technology. KWL made me aware of how applications can leverage the GPS capabilities of the iPhone and it was during our division Fun Run when I first saw MotionX in action. He's an avid cyclist and uses MotionX to record and map rides that can go 50 miles or even longer.

Now that I'm back on a - theoretically - stable iPhone (my third 3GS in two months) I'm looking to resume using the many GPS apps I have that record and map running data. Last week KWL brought me a Nike+ chip and receiver that he'd just picked up for his new iPod Nano. He went for a run with it and was impressed. I was impressed that, as a non-runner, he is capable of spontaneously pulling off 2+ mile runs whenever he feels like it. KWL suggested that I try the Nike+ app on my iPod as I ran this morning. It seemed pretty cool and when I plugged the receiver into my 3GS this morning my iPhone showed a message saying I didn't need it, that the phone would communicate with the chip automatically.

Before long I had established a communication link with the chip that I'd attached above the laces on my right foot making it a twin with the Garmin foot pod on my left. I assigned some music to the workout, hit start and hit the street. I didn't select a distance so the built in training didn't encourage me to speed up or affirm my pace but the app seemed to run okay. When I got to the end I stopped the Garmin and the Nike+ app. I then hit "End Workout" on the iPhone and that seemed to delete my run because I haven't been able to find the data ever since. That's too bad because I never got a chance to review the Nike+ data against my Garmin that showed I ran about 5K at 8:58.

I'll go back and read the instruction to see what I did wrong and try the Nike+ again tomorrow. I'm curious to see if it's accurate but my hopes aren't high for the technology. After my Nike+ wristband experience my expectations for it are very low. But if KWL likes it it's certainly worth another try.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Silence is golden

During my last race I noticed a number of runners were running with music players strapped to their arm or hung around their neck. I know that many people listen to music while they run and if it works for them, great. It's a personal decision and I'm sure it can be inspiring to attack an imposing hill or forcing yourself to do that extra mile accompanied by an energetic soundtrack.

I choose not to run with music for a few reasons. First, I find it distracting. For me the best thing about running is that it transports me to a quiet place where I can think - or not - as I move along. I've written about running at 4:00 AM and how much I enjoy the silence of that experience. Second, the need to wear ear buds as I run is a big annoyance. The one time that I tried it the tugging from the ear buds bothered me so much that I pulled them off and tossed them away. Fortunately I was on a treadmill so I could do that. When I saw those other runners listening to music while competing it made me think they were less serious about their commitment to the run. This is a race people!

Lest you think I'm some kind of hyper judgmental person I'll concede that music can be a great companion for some. Perhaps those in the race were using the music to help them focus. I know there is a Nike+ iPod app that coaches you as you run. Maybe these iPod wearers were actually doing it for competitive advantage. I will be getting an iPhone soon, primarily for business related research. I am thinking about whether I would try the MapMyRun or other location aware applications that use the GPS signal to communicate speed, distance and other metrics in real time. If I did that would I also consider listening to some music since I'm lugging the thing around anyway? I'm thinking I wouldn't but you never know.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Improving my 5K pace

Instead of merely getting through my morning run today I concentrated on maintaining a faster pace. As I gear up for my first 5K (144 days from now) my focus has been on increasing my distance and duration rather than speed. I think we all have a natural pace where we run without thinking about running. I'm guessing this is why most people run, to reach a state where exercise and enjoyment come together. This morning was not one of those times. I started out at a 9:55/min pace as a warm up and brought up my speed to the point where I finished with an average pace of about 9:15. I have run faster than that – in fact I once did a mile in about 7:50 but I haven't come close to that time again. This leads me to think that I never really attained that pace in the first place, perhaps my Nike+ Sportband was not properly calibrated. By the way, it appears as though Nike is no longer listing the Sportsband on their online store. I hope they decide to fix the problems with this unit rather than give up on it. There's nothing else out there that provides the same utility for anything close to its $59 price. The alternative is to use the Nike+ sensor with an iPod but since many (including myself) don't own an iPod or like to listen to music while running it's an unsatisfactory solution. Besides that, an iPod costs a lot more than the Sportband.

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