Monday, October 6, 2008

Buckeye Outdoors & Nike+Ipod

What a great combination, Buckeye Outdoors and Nike+Ipod.

I have called the Nike+Ipod, my poor man's Garmin, for those that aren't familiar with it, the system combines an Ipod Nano with a device from Nike (the Plus) that record your mileage and pace with a few nifty features (Lance Armstrong or Paula Radcliffe will provide encouragement when you do good things). It's a $29 add on to your Ipod Nano (any generation) that uses accelerometer technology (a foot pod device) that transmits data to a receiver inserted into your dock channel on your Nano. You can calibrate it to your pace for running or walking but I have found mine to be accurate without calibration (+/- 0-3%), at least on a paved road. On trails I have found it's not quite as accurate +/- 10% but it is occasionally pretty well spot on. What I notice is that it occasionally loses communication (or something else goes on) as it records a mile pace of 28 to 48 minutes. I may be slow but a 48 minute mile would be real slow even for me. After your run, when you sync to Itunes it will transfer the data to the Nike+ website (free to set-up) where you can see the mile by mile paces along with the overall time and distance. On the website you can join challenges, I am in a few, challenges like 1000 miles in a year, favorite football team - most miles, etc... and one that simply transfers the info to Buckeye Outdoors. The point of the challenges are to help motivate you and to connect you with a whole bunch of on-line folks into a virtual running community.

Now about Buckeye it's a free on-line log that you can add in all of your exercise info. So if you cross train you can track that as well. The nice thing is you can also add in additional information about your run, things like Max HR, Avg Hr, time of day, your equipment, a comment all of the info on the Nike site transfer as well. You can see my log on the left side of my blog (my way of holding myself accountable). What I like is I can adjust my mileage and times if need be (yes I could cheat if I wanted to) so if I have those dead spots and know my distance I can change it or if I know my route was shorter I can adjust it downward. You can also add runs when you don't have your Ipod (you can't do this on the Nike website). You can get reports on running, biking, swimming and cumulative workouts. Here is a quick sample of my info (my disclaimer is I haven't tweaked most of my workouts, so it is what it is).

Running Summary
Runs: 140
Avg. MHR: 153.9
Avg. AHR: 132.5
Avg. Time: 01:40:08
Total Time: 233:40:34
Avg. Speed: 4.9 MPH
Avg. Mi Pace: 12:08
Avg. Dist.: 8.2 Mi
Total Dist.: 1154.7 Mi
Avg. Cal. Burned: 1437.0
Total Cal. Burned: 17530

And you can get graphs (flash based ones at that - meaning if you stop on a bar it tells you the exact mileage)

A few notes on the Nike+Ipod system, a Nano is not water proof or water resistant (think too much sweat is bad for your Nano) nor is the connection point of the receiver to your Nano. The transmitter is designed to go into special Nike shoes, you will need to buy a pouch or the Nike shoes. The pouch is less than $10 and works fine. The Nike+ only works with the Nano (soon they will have it available for Ipod Touch), this is Apple's way of saying don't run with their hard drive systems. You can listen to music or to podcasts if you want to but it records just fine without. You don't get any info on elevation, weather, etc... but for $29 that's ok (as long as you have a Nano).

So combining Nike+Ipod with Buckeye results in a very good, low cost system.

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