RunKeeper Pro

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We mentioned RunKeeper, an iPhone application to track all your runs, back in August last year, but since then the application has grown from strength to strength. So much so in fact, that there is now a Pro version available in the Apple iPhone App Store. But wait, here’s the best part — the application is completely free for 24 hours! Grab it for free while you can.

RunKeeper

Running, Technology 2 Comments »

RunKeeper for the iPhone

With the release of the 3G iPhone last month, developers have been frantically producing applications for the public, so it was only a matter of time before a decent running application came along that utilizes the GPS capabilities of the iPhone. RunKeeper is an application currently in development that will allow iPhone runners to track speed, pace, running history, and also has the ability to map runs using GPS. If you are an iPhone owner you might want to hold off on any secondary GPS device until RunKeeper is released. View a video preview on the official RunKeeper Web site, or keep tabs on the latest news via the RunKeeper blog.

Working Out the NEW Nike+

News, Nike+, Running, Technology 1 Comment »

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…

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.

Adidas In the Race Against Nike+

News, Running, Technology 3 Comments »

Adidas and Samsung have teamed-up together to take on the mighty Nike+. The new quad-band Samsung miCoach F110 mobile phone is due for release in April as a direct competitor to the Apple/Nike+ online world of fitness and motivation.

The phone comes with a foot sensor called the “stride sensor” which attaches to the shoelace of the running shoe in exactly the same way the Nike+ sensor can be attached to the shoelace. Where the Samsung device differs however is that you also get a heart rate monitor device to strap across your chest which allows the mobile phone to measure your heart rate throughout your workout. One nice feature the F100 offers is the ability to tell the user whether they are running too fast or too slow based on the combination of the heart rate recording and a predefined training program the user selects prior to a workout.

Samsung has also promised a new feature in the near future that will automatically play music during a workout based on your running speed. Slower tracks would be played while walking for example, and faster-paced music would play during more intense workouts.

Users upload their workout data in a similar fashion to Nike+, by connecting the Samsung device to a PC (no Apple Mac support yet apparently) which then gets sent to a dedicated Web site called miCoach (pronounced “My Coach”).

More resources:

miCoach F100 review

F100 photos and miCoach screenshots

miCoach fitness portal

The Nike+ Gym is Nigh

News, Nike+, Technology 2 Comments »

Business Wire is reporting that major exercise equipment manufacturers such as Life Fitness, Precor, Star Trac and Technogym are going to incorporate Nike+ into their gym equipment this summer.

Gym members will easily be able to track workouts on cardio equipment like treadmills, ellipticals, stationary bikes and stair climbers using Nike+ technology.

“The Nike + iPod experience revolutionized running. Now were revolutionizing the gym cardio experience, said Trevor Edwards, Nikes Vice President of Global Brand and Category Management. Were enabling people who go to the gym an opportunity to set goals, track progress, and compete in challenges with their friends and with other members of www.nikeplus.com. Its a groundbreaking tool for people who want to maximize their workouts.

Why isn’t Nike+ Compatible with the iPhone?

Nike+, Technology 4 Comments »

Imagine the following scenario:

You’ve just finished a great run, and you listened to some good music along the way. You even paused your workout midway through so you could take a few photos of the beautiful trails, and also to speak to a friend on the phone because you were using Nike+ with your iPhone. As you hear “Workout complete” in your ear as you officially close the Nike+ workout, your iPhone sends your run data immediately to the Nike+ Web site. As you walk back to the car, you check Google Maps on your iPhone, and the Nike+ kit has tracked your exact running route and mileage.

Wishful thinking, but alas, this is not currently possible.

If you connect your Nike+ device to an iPhone at the moment, you get a very disappointing incompatibility error message. But the technology is already largely available (everything bar a true GPS system within the iPhone), and the iPhone is desperately waiting for the day Nike+ becomes a compatible device. It would make perfect sense for Apple to allow Nike+ to work on their device. After all, one of Apple’s selling points with the iPhone is that it is an all-encompassing media device — why carry around multiple gadgets when everything you need is in one unit?

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Garmin Forerunner 405

Running, Technology 17 Comments »

Meet your new best friend, the Garmin Forerunner 405. Scheduled for release in the US on April 21, 2008, on the same day the Boston Marathon takes place, the new Forerunner model will take personal training to a new dimension.

UPDATE: While the 405 was available for purchase at the Boston Marathon Expo, the general release date has been pushed back and has been difficult to nail down. The 405 could be released anytime between today and August of this year. You can pre-order your Forerunner 405 on Amazon now.—Ed.

UPDATE: The 405 is shipping! —Ed.

Building upon the success of the feature-rich but somewhat clunky-looking Forerunner 305 and Forerunner 205 predecessors, the GPS-enabled 405 has been redesigned as a stylish watch that can be worn all day long.

Unlike Nike+, which is based on an accelerometer sensor, the 405 uses GPS satellites to continuously track and record all your runs. So instead of having to attach anything to your shoe to help record or relay data, the Forerunner 405 records everything within the watch. Time, distance, calories, pace and even heart rate data (via a corresponding heart rate monitor accessory), are all collected by the 405.

Here’s the clincher: As soon as you’re done with your workout, and you get back home, your run data is sent wirelessly to your computer. While the Apple iPod Nano can only communicate your Nike+ data through iTunes via a USB connection, the Forerunner upload involves no wires whatsoever.

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