Wednesday, October 29, 2008

20 minutes

I love being able to run in shorts and a t-shirt even as November quickly approaches.  What a wonderful afternoon run.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

8 miles

Alright, so today was my LSD.  I mapped out a route that would be challenging so that I learn to regulate my pace better.  As it turns out, the route was slightly longer than 8 miles.  I ran down one side of the Mississippi and back up the other, and was it ever beautiful.  Sadly, Minneapolis and St. Paul have turned off the drinking fountains along the route for the winter, so no water en route for me.  

It felt good to go a long distance, even for as tough as it was.  One of the downsides of the route I took was that it was a paved walkway almost the whole way.  I tried to run on the sides of the path as much as possible, but it feels like I may have done a number on my right ankle.  I'll take it easy tomorrow and I might just go to the track and calibrate the Nike gizmo.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Nike+iPod Review

No run this morning.  Wanted to recover before I do the LSD tomorrow.  I'm going to set a goal of 8 miles, but we'll play it by ear in the morning.

I do want to give my thoughts on a new gadget I got last weekend: the Nike+iPod Sport Kit.

What is it?

The sport kit, (cost: $29.99) has two components.  The first is a piezoelectric accelerometer that you put in your shoe.  This registers each stride, and sends a wireless signal to the second component, the receiver.  The receiver plugs into an iPod Nano (I've heard that the new iPod Touch has a built-in receiver), and the iPod calculates time, distance, and pace from the data it gets from the accelerometer.

A caveat:  Nike really wants you to buy their shoes (no surprise here), so they strongly recommend you buy the special Nike+ shoes that have a pocket in the sole of the shoe for the accelerometer.  In fact, their is no other way to attach the accelerometer right out of the box.  I've never liked Nike shoes, and I wouldn't give up my Brooks Adrenaline GTS for anything.  With a little ingenuity, you could come up with a pouch to put the accelerometer in the laces.  I found an aftermarket device for about $8 that seems to work well.

The iPod Experience

Essentially, this is a pedometer hooked up to an iPod.  Yet, it does so many things that you would have never expected.  There are myriads of workouts built-in, and ones you can buy from iTunes.  They can be time based, distance based, calorie based, etc.  You tell it how far or how long you want to go, say 30 minutes, and it will give you updates every five minutes on your pace, distance, and time.  You can also hear this info by pressing the center button on your iPod.  It also has the "Powersong" feature.  You set a certain song to be your "Powersong", and if you hold down the center button, it will play the song to give you an energy boost.

So far, this part works as promised.  The distance measure is pretty accurate, and I haven't calibrated the device yet.  The Powersong is neat, and I do find that it gives me a little burst of speed.  I've never been one to run with music, so the novelty (and benefit) of this feature may wear off when I get used to the music.

If you run a PR, or go your furthest distance, a celebrity voice will come on and congratulate you.  Creepy, yes, but its kinda cool hearing Lance Armstrong or Paula Radcliffe cheer you on.

The Online Experience

The best part of the Sport Kit is the online interface.  When you get back from your run, you plug your iPod into iTunes and it uploads the data to the Nike+ website.  Here, you can see each of your runs displayed on a distance vs. speed plot.  It will also show you your progress over time.

You can set up goals and challenges through the website.  A goal would be something like, run 100 miles in 2 months, or improve mile pace.  A challenge puts you up against other Nike+ runners: Last to 200 miles buys lunch, etc...

You can also see other runners in your area, and look at their routes.  Helpful for finding a route of specific distance.

A Good Buy?

I think the Nike+iPod Sport Kit was a great purchase.  It's a simple device with a lot of features.  I find it motivates me to run because I love seeing my runs online.  It's an accurate pacing tool too.  A downside is that when the battery on the accelerometer goes, you have buy a new accelerometer for $19.99.  It's supposed to last at least a year though, so I'm not worried about this yet.

For a look at the Nike+ website, check out mine as an example.  Link is on the right side of the page.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

20 minutes, 9'17"/mile

Route: Summit-Out and Back

It was significantly colder today for my run.  I set out at about 7:30am and the thermometer was reading 33 degrees.  It was time for the gloves and hat.  I could really feel the cold in my lungs, and that contributed to my drop in time from yesterday.

I tried a new warm-up today, and while it was a lot better than what I have been doing (nothing), I could definitely feel it when I started out.  However, I need to strengthen my core, and this warm-up should help.  This warm-up is courtesy of the Nike running blog:
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