Fly Like the Wind

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Keep an eye out for new Nike footwear when the 2008 Olympic games kicks off this weekend in Beijing. The Nike Flywire running shoe has been supplied to the US track and field team and weighs in at an incredibly light 96.3g per pair. An even lighter version known as the Zoom Victory Spikes weighs just 90.7g and has been specially developed for middle distance runners (800m). Hopefully the shoe will play a part in the success of the US athletes Olympic mission, but either way, the new shoes, which were inspired by the same material that suspension bridge cables/wire use, will be available to the public in the fall.

Nike+ Running Shoes Ahead of the Pack

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The Detroit Free Press reported results on Tuesday of the 2008 Consumer Reports running shoe survey. Top of the list? The Nike Air Zoom Vomero+ series available for both men and women.

The survey, which involved testers running a total of 1,240 miles on 205 pairs of running shoes, rated shoes based on stability, cushioning, fit, weight, breathability and flexibility. Here are the official top three winners:

1. Nike Air Zoom Vomero+
2. Brooks Glycerin 6
3. Adidas Supernova Cushion 7

The Human Race

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The Human Race

What if all Nike+ runners could run in the same race, on the same day, no matter where they are in the world? The flexibility of Nike+ gives runners of all abilities the opportunity to do this. The race, to be known as The Human Race, will be taking place on August 31, 2008.

The 10km (6.21 miles) event will unite over a million Nike+ runners from all around the world in not just a battle of fitness, speed and stamina, but also a battle to raise money for three well known charities - The UN Refugee Charity, The Lance Armstrong Foundation, and the World Wildlife Fund. Each participating Nike+ runner can choose a charity to represent while they run, and every step in the race will earn money towards their selected charity. Starting in July, the Nike+ Web site will also allow runners to accept and manage personal donations from friends, family and colleagues.

400mToGo.com will be participating in this historic event, will you? More info and sign-up here.

The Lighter Side of Nike+

Nike+ 2 Comments »

Great products frequently inspire great parodies. Here are two of my favorites, followed by my favorite viral Nike+ video. Enjoy the lighter side of Nike+.

That’s your power song?

When I’m running, I hear music . . .

Man Boobs

Milestone Motivation

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One feature I would like Nike to readdress is the way Nike+ rewards runners with certificates on the Nike+ Web site.

Presently, Nike+ e-mails customized achievement awards to Nike+ members when runners reach certain mileage markers. It’s a great idea and a great way to motivate and congratulate runners of all abilities. At the moment however, certificates are only sent out when runners reach the 100, 500, and 1,000 mile milestones.

I ran my first 100 miles with Nike+ on February 6, 2007 and did not complete 500 miles until over 11 months later on January 19, 2008. That means I went almost an entire year without any extra motivation from Nike+, a long time if you are a novice or beginner runner who needs as much motivation as possible.

It would seem a smart move for Nike to maintain the user’s interest in healthy exercise and to keep them coming back to the Nike+ experience. My suggestion would be to distribute certificates every 50 miles instead of at the 100, 500 and 1,000 mile mark. I think this would reach out more to the average runner and typical Nike+ user who may only run or walk approximately 25 miles per month. Knowing that each additional milestone of 50 miles brings with it a certificate of achievement could really help motivate some people to continue running over a longer period of time.

Nike+, GPS (might be) Coming to the iPhone

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Stuff.tv reported last week that Nike+ functionality is definitely coming to the iPhone. Mark Wilson of Stuff.tv had a sitdown with the guys in Beaverton and came back with the exciting news.

“. . . Nike+ will definitely be extending its compatibility beyond the iPod Nano to the iPhone and iPod Touch. No surprise there really, but the interesting detail is that it could also make use of both devices Wi-Fi (and, ultimately for the iPhone, 3G capability) to let you update your training log on the fly.”

While getting your news straight from Nike HQ would seem to be authoritative, there’s some suspicion at Electronista that Nike+ won’t be coming to the iPhone as soon as we might hope. The clues come from beta firmware slated for the iPhone 2.0.

“. . . earlier references to Nike+ equipment have been dropped and point to delayed or scrapped plans for integrating the sport pedometer with the phone.”

The “earlier references” line comes from comparing earlier versions of iPhone firmware to the latest beta version.

So where does this leave those of us who can’t wait to go running with a Nike+ enabled iPhone? I don’t think there’s any doubt that the iPhone will eventually support Nike+, but it may not be happening as quickly as we hope.

The majority of reports seem to contradict my conclusion. Check them out and decide for yourself.

GPS, Stereo Bluetooth & Nike+ Headed For iPhone

Nike+ on its way to iPhone and iPod touch

iPhone to Support GPS, Stereo Bluetooth, Nike+, Battle Hackers

Nike+ coming to iPhone and iPod touch

iPhone/iTouch users may get Nike+ functionality… one day

5 Ways to Cheat at Nike+ Challenges

Challenges, Nike+, Running, Technology 11 Comments »

Gasp! You mean you can cheat technology?! You can, yes, but it’s not only morally wrong, it also won’t help you to become a better runner. We weren’t sure whether to publish this article or not because we certainly don’t condone any of these tactics, but just to prove that it is possible for an insidious runner to cheat the system and to highlight potential cheating with the Nike+ system, we’re going to share these ideas with you.

  1. CREATE IMAGINARY RUNS
    Can’t be bothered to run, but you want to win a challenge? Simply use the Nike Plus Edit Web site to quickly create an XML file based on your imaginary 50-mile run before work today. Add the XML file to your iPod, and then before you know it, iTunes has uploaded your mileage to your open challenge(s). Pure evil personified! ;)
  2. TRICK iTUNES
    Did your run not go so well today? Wanted to run 10 miles but only ran two? No problem! Edit your most recent run before you upload it to Nike+, and trick iTunes into publishing your pretend workout!
  3. CALIBRATION
    Calibrate your Nike+ incorrectly, on purpose. Tell your iPod that you are going to calibrate over one mile, but only run half a mile. Oh how impressed your friends will be when you slash your personal bests by 40% over the space of a few days!
  4. MULTIPLE IPODS
    Why use one iPod when you can have two, or even three?! Attach a sensor to each running shoe and BOOM! A 10-mile run suddenly becomes a 20-mile upload. Slightly expensive, admittedly, but people with a lot of money are probably more likely to cheat than those who do not, don’t you think?
  5. WEAR NIKE+ ALL THE TIME
    This is the least serious way to cheat as technically, it does involve exercise that you are responsible for. Simply wear your Nike+ device wherever you go! Walking around the house, strolling around the mall or the grocery store, all those footsteps soon add up! But why stop the evilness there? If a friend or a relative is going out somewhere, attach your chip to their shoes and ask them to record their mileage on your behalf!

Remember, you can cheat all you want online, but when it comes down to that real race against real people, we will all know who has been telling the truth and who has not. Be warned! :)

Working Out the NEW Nike+

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AppleInsider.com 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 NikePlus.com 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 NikePlus.com 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…?

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…

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.