Is is just a fade or will this be the start of a fitness regime? Michael over at Binary Bonsai started this off with his Zero2Hero idea; get running and get fit. I knew that since the Autumn I have been letting myself go and some time soon I would need to get back into shape. It just seemed like too good a opportunity to miss so I jumped on the bandwagon and decided to shape up. Last week end I cut out the smokes; yes I know I’ve done that before but over Christmas one thing lead to another and one drink lead to another session of smoking like a chimney! This week end I bit the bullet and went out to purchase a Nike+ setup. If you are not aware of the Nike+ thing it is a rather clever little partnership of Nike and Apple to get people out and running. The idea basically is a pedometer that records all your activity. The Nike+ kit consists of a small pedometer and a reciever that fits into the bottom of your iPod Nano. So other equipment that is required is a iPod Nano for a start and if you are feeling ultra cool a pair of Nike+ compatible trainers. The Nike+ trainers are nothing amazingly special, they are simply a pair of trainers with a little recess for the transmitter pedometer under the inner sole. There are other ways of securing your Nike+ pedometer to standard trainers, including just hacking hell out of a pair of shoes.
So how does this all work then?
Well it’s quite simple in effect, you have a pedometer in your shoes which transmits the movement via RFID (yes you could possible be transmitting your location blah blah blah) to the reciever on your iPod. When you first connect your iPod it installs an extra menu for Nike+iPod which lets you calibrate your sensor, or create work outs. When your ready you click the work out your require; basic, time, distance or calories burnt, then select your play list and off you go. Each step is recorded and sent to the iPod where a running total is calculated. By clicking the centre button at any time will give you a run down so far of your progress. Upon completion of your run you connect and sync your iPod and your current run is sent to nikeplus.comwhere it will plot your run with all the data collected. From here you can create goals to keep you going or set challenges with other Nike+ users to keep you motivated.
Does it work in the real life?
So far it is awesome! I have not run for some years now and to be honest when I did it was never really through choice. Just the edition of having music whilst you run is a great help, add to this the fact that you know every step is being recorded sort of pushes you on. For my first run I set about making up a decent play list. I sprinkled some Tangerinelove on my iTunes library and created an upbeat playlist. Blammed this over to the pod and set off. This really helped as everything that came on had a good bpm and whenever the legs started to give way you could just drift into a state of music and beat induced karma. The ability to quickly check on your progress was great. On the first leg out of the town, which was a nice downhill, downwind trot I picked up a nice pace. Yet to the return I could keep track of my pace and knew I needed to dig deep to keep that average up! If you want to start running but lack the enthusiasm this is a great way to do it. The fact that you are in effect competing with your self is such a motivator that you will keep going out and trying to beat your personal best.
To keep you going Michael has set up the Zero2Hero Locker Room over at Flickr. A place for like minded Nike+ and general non-geeky runners to meet and set up challenges and compare blisters! It is also a good place to post those screen shots of your latest run.