Setting the pace

AEJ and I headed to Beverly Hills today to buy a treat at the Nike Store: new running shoes that communicate with our iPod Nano. Have you heard about this yet? If you’re a runner, this is genius, and a must-have. Apple and Nike have teamed up to make a little two-part gadget to make running a bit more fun — a welcome purchase, given my recent difficulty getting motivated to run in the current summer heat.

What it is is a little $29 thing that comes in two parts. One part is the transmitter, roughly the size of two Mentos, that goes under the heel padding of your Nike shoe. (Yes, you can use it on non-Nike shoes, but you’d have to either cut a hole in the shoe to hold it, or velcro it, or rig something decidedly non-elegant and therefore inherently non-Apple-like.) The other part — the receiver — plugs into your iPod Nano. That’s it. Now your Nano will measure your running distance, time, calories burned, mile pace. Whenever you dock your iPod, it sends your run stats to Nike, where you can review all of your runs onscreen.

Also on the Nike site, you can set goals for future runs, like “I want to run 30 miles over the course of 4 weeks” or “I want to burn 3200 calories in 6 weeks,” etc. It’s strangely fun. You can even compare your runs to friends’, if they join the site, too. (That goes to any readers out there — if you get this little gadget, let me know, and we’ll link accounts. Think of the fun!)

An added weird bonus — but one that’s extra-cool — is the voice feedback. When you finish your run, a voice tells you how far you ran, for how long, and your mile pace. Why? Because chances are, you have your Nano in an armband where the screen is covered. Supposedly, if you set a workout goal for an individual run (like, “run until 500 calories are burned”), the voice chimes into your headphones with updates as you progress.

The shoes were $100, but they make some at the $85 price point, too. (The line is called “Nike+.”) Seriously — if you already have a Nano (it only works with the Nano — no other iPod models), and you run, you need this.

Now they just need to make a model for bikes.


Newman says

I was gonna say, if they come up with a way for that to work with a bike, I'd be buying Nikes AND a Nano.

This running thing, Maestro -- it's very L.A. I dunno. Might be time to break out the road bike -- kick it back old school...

Lissajeen says

Dear God, Newman, don't start that again!!

Kevin Howlett says

I own a 512MB shuffle, and a 60GB iPod with video, but not a nano. What's more, Nike shoes are not meant for fatties like me. I second Newman's idea. Got Steve Jobs' number, Newm?

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