Good Luck

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I wanted to give a big shout out to all the kick ass runners who are taking on the ING half marathon in Atlanta. My cousin and her husband are braving the pavement and I’m sure will bring home some serious bragging rights.


Working Out the NEW Nike+

News, Nike+, Running, Technology 1 Comment » has uncovered some recently filed patent documents that reveal some intriguing information about the way Apple and Nike are expanding Nike+.

The next installation of Nike+ not only looks to be coming to the Apple iPhone and Apple iPod Touch, but it is also going to allow all types of exercise to be recorded, not just running. So all those reps, curls and circuit training you perform at the gym will soon be able to be logged and analyzed using Nike+. As well as being integrated into the Web site, it appears as though there is going to be a dedicated desktop application to manage all your personal information, goals and workouts.

And yes, it also looks like a heart rate monitor will soon be available to work alongside Nike+.

One of my favorite parts of the forthcoming tools is the comprehensive training program users can build themselves. For example, a user could be advised that the best way to lose weight might be to perform a warm-up walk on a treadmill for a set period of time, then complete a set of different weight drills, before embarking on a gentle run for a certain distance. Each exercise task can then be checked off via the iPod/iPhone as the user performs each individual workout. Upon uploading this data to a computer once the athlete is back home, it’s likely that the desktop software or Web site will record, rate, and congratulate the person on a successful workout.

Who needs (the cost of) a personal trainer when you’ve got this kind of technology…?

New Balance Is Coming After Us

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New Balance is planning a new advertising campaign targeting the casual runner in hopes of doubling sales by 2012. The company has been losing market share to Nike, and they plan to fight back by tripling their advertising budget in 2008.

New Balance is using a novel approach in their LOVE/hate campaign, acknowledging the fact that many of us have a love/hate relationship with running. I think this copy from the print campaign is pure brilliance:

“Today you almost broke up with running. Today running shook you out of bed and into the deep, dark cold. Today, once again, around mile 2, lungs full of air, pupils full of sunrise, you remembered, ‘Oh yeah, this is why we got together.’”

In my case, I usually don’t remember why running and I “got together” until after the run is over. A few minutes into my cool down, when I can breathe normally again, is about the time I start to feel that sweet feeling of accomplishment.

Whether or not New Balance will sell tons more shoes remains to be seen, but everybody loves to hate something, and I think their tongue-in-cheek, nod-to-the-average-jogger concept is one that will have great appeal to the casual runner.

While Nike won’t have anything to worry about on the technology front, New Balance isn’t trying to launch anything to compete directly with the Nike+ Sport Kit, they may well lose some shoe sales to New Balance. I don’t have a pair of Nike+ shoes now, and with so many means of attaching a Nike+ sensor to any brand running shoe, I can’t think of a compelling reason to purchase a pair.

Coincidentally, I currently own a pair of New Balance running shoes. They just happened to be the cheapest, best looking pair in my size the last time I was at Sears, and I’ve gotten more than 100 very comfortable miles out of them and I expect many more to come.

Via “Quiet New Balance to Get Off Sidelines” at Advertising Age.

We Could Have Had Nike+ 25 Years Ago

Nike+, Running, Technology 3 Comments »

Looks like Nike has Puma to thank for being the true innovators of Nike+ as we know it today. The Puma RS Computer Shoe was (a very clunky and ugly looking running shoe) available in the 1980s featuring a built-in pedometer in the back of the shoe. The computer museum archive Web site DigiBarn has some fascinating photographs of the Puma device, including some newspaper articles on how slow it seems runners were in adopting the computerized running shoe.

The most ironic and somewhat anecdotal quote within the newspaper article is made by Nike’s David Smith:

“At Nike in Oregon, sales program manager David Smith says that his company’s market research has turned up no solid market for computerized shoes.”

Oh what might have been…

Everything in Moderation

Nutrition, Running 1 Comment »

My official Nike+ running mileage has decreased this month as my soccer season is now in full swing. This gives me two less days per week to run. On top of that, I allow myself rest days after each game as part of my recovery process to avoid injury. So that leaves me a maximum of three days a week to run. In reality, I am currently running only a maximum of two times a week. Here’s how my schedule typically flows:

  • Game on Sunday
  • Recovery/rest on Monday
  • Run on Tuesday
  • Another game on Wednesday
  • Recovery/rest on Thursday
  • Another rest on Friday
  • Run on Saturday

Although this does not sound like a lot of dedicated running, I actually believe my exercise schedule is helping rather than hindering my overall fitness level and I am already seeing benefits.

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Running and Weight Loss

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There’s a book review in this week’s New York Times entitled “The Worst Foods in America” that reminds me of how hard it is to lose weight with exercise alone. While there’s a lot to be said for integrating exercise into a well-balanced weight management plan, if your only weapon against the flab is exercise, you’ll likely be in for some serious disappointment.

Bear with me now, I’m going to throw a couple of numbers at you. If you want to lose one pound of fat, you need to get rid of about 3,500 calories. If a new runner burns 1,000-ish calories over the course of a week (three runs of thirty minutes each, burning about 350 calories per run) they’re about a third of the way to losing their first pound. Not bad, right? Well, that depends.

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To Race or Not to Race?

Running 1 Comment »

For the past three and half months I’ve been working toward my goal of running the Germantown Half marathon. Despite some ups and downs, I was on track with my progress and on my way to another half marathon under my belt. Unfortunately, I got sick, along with what seems to be everyone else I know, and wasn’t able to run consistently for about two weeks. Once I finally was able to run again, I knew that I had to ease back into it or risk 1) getting sick again 2) injuring myself.

With the race only two and half weeks away, I knew I had a tough decision ahead of me. To race or not to race? I talked to Scott about my dilemma and he encouraged to me to push through and finish what I started and worked hard for. Last week, for better or for worse, I had to make the decision to not run it. Though I feel I would have been able to finish, I think that I would have done more harm than good. I kept thinking about what I’ve read and been told concerning pushing yourself too hard. The reason why I had shin splints was because I had increased my mileage too fast. I can’t forget that my big goal, the REAL goal, is to finish the marathon in December. I have a long way to go, definitely more than 400 meters, and I want make sure I cross that finish line.

Since I’ve made that decision to not run the Germantown Half marathon, I’ve fully recovered from my illness, completed my first 100 miles with Nike+, set two personal records for the mile and had better overall runs. I feel I’ve turned a corner in my training and have had a renewed love for running and training. Spring is in the air and with that comes new life. So lace up your shoes, grab your Gatorade, hit that center button, and log some miles.

New Arm (Dis)Band

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Along with my Nike+ Kit that I got for Christmas, my wife got me an armband to go with it. The biggest plus about the Marware armband is the clear front fascia that allows ease of use of the nano controls. Though it is designed to fit either on your bicep or your wrist, I did have some annoyances with the velcro coming undone while I was running. If you’re a very petite person, then having a snug fit around your bicep isn’t a problem, but if you don’t fit into that category, then it’s recommended that you use your forearm. However, this wasn’t comfortable to me because my earphone cord kept getting in my way.

Last week I ordered a Nike iPod armband and it made all the difference in the world. I didn’t have to worry about how or where I was going to put my iPod. It fit perfectly on my upper bicep and didn’t cut my circulation. Although you don’t have as much visible space for the nano, display screen only, using the controls isn’t difficult at all.

I HIGHLY recommend from all the choices available for iPod holders, the Nike armband. It is, in my opinion (and I was not paid by Nike for this endorsement!), the armband that most people will find the most comfortable.

Nike+ SportBand First Look

News, Nike+, Running, Technology 3 Comments »

Following on from the new Nike+ SportBand prototypes we reported last month, Nike has just revealed the official design of their new running gadget. The black and red device will be available to purchase as quickly as April 2008 for approximately $95 and will allow runners to record pace, distance and calories in exactly the same way as the original Nike+, but without the need for an iPod Nano. Running data can then be uploaded after a run via USB.

It’s not a bad idea: Say your iPod battery is dead or you simply do not have your iPod with you, the Nike+ SportBand will literally be on hand to record all your running data. The SportBand still requires communication with a Nike+ shoe sensor, so it would make sense for the SportBand to be shipped with a sensor.

Removing the iPod entirely from the equation allows Nike to tap into the running market for athletes who do not own (or wish to own) an Apple iPod Nano. Now that’s what I call covering all your bases! That said however, anyone using the Nike+ SportBand without an iPod is going to be missing out on the infamous “400 meters to go!” etc. voice motivation and celebratory congratulations from Lance Armstrong and Paula Radcliffe.

Meet Miles

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Nike+ runners in Germany have a new personal trainer. His name is Miles, and he lives on your computer desktop. We’re not sure if Miles is being tested out in the German market before a worldwide release, or if German athletes need a lot of encouragement to go running, but this 3D desktop widget seems like a lot of fun.

As well as displaying all your running goals and challenges similar to how the current batch of Nike+ desktop widgets operate, Miles also offers an interactive calendar to show which days you run most frequently, a weather forecast, and an integrated RSS reader.

I tried installing Miles myself, which is available from the German Nike+ Web site and it installed, but after a few seconds he mysteriously disappeared. Boo! Maybe a German reader/runner out there can offer some further insight? For those who are thirsty for more, check out the official Miles Movie to explain more.