Use Your iPod Nano & Nike+ to Track Mileage

February 25, 2008 – 8:52 am by Gabe Anderson | 4 Comments

You’ve probably seen the commercial. You may even know someone who runs. But you probably wonder: Does that whole iPod and Nike+ thing really work?

Oh yes. And it’s even better than you might think.

Nike+ running overview

I started running in late December 2007 when a group of friends decided to run the Nashville half-marathon. Since then, I’ve gotten really into this running thing and have since committed to run my first marathon in San Diego this year (and to raise money for a good cause in the process).

The Technology of Running

My first 7 weeks of training I didn’t bother timing myself too accurately — I just rounded my times to the nearest minute. After all, I had never been a distance runner before, so my times weren’t too impressive anyway. But then a few weeks ago I decided it was time to get more accurate. I was debating between just a basic, el cheapo watch, a more sophisticated watch like the Timex Ironman Triathlon® 50-Lap Sleek, or going all out and getting an iPod Nano with the Nike+ sports kit.

I’m really glad I went for the most techie of the options: The iPod Nano with the Nike+ sports kit.

Gabe’s iPod Nano

I have an old-school 40 GB iPod from 2004 that I was bringing with me on runs, but it was bulky for running and doesn’t even have a stopwatch. I was also worried about justifying the cost of new Nike shoes along with the new iPod and sports kit. As it turns out, you don’t even need Nike shoes, so my new Asics work great. All you need is an adapter like the SwitchEasy RunAway (which is what I got) or the Marware Sportsuit Sensor+.

Your Personalized Trainer

The iPod Nano is pretty awesome in its own right — the built-in stopwatch is perfect for running even without the Nike+ integration and includes the ability to get split times and store your run history by date. But throw in the Nike+ kit and you take running and your stats to a whole new level.

Gabe’s Personal Records

With the Nike+ kit on your iPod, it communicates directly with the adapter in your shoe and uploads your data to your personalized Nike+ site, so it knows how far, how long, and how fast you go. It’s super-easy to use: Just connect it to your computer via USB and it automatically loads your run data into iTunes, which then sends it to your account on the Nike+ site.

With the Nano and Nike+, you can do all of this cool stuff:

  • Track mileage by run, along with weekly, monthly, and overall totals
  • Specify whether your workout should have a distance or time goal
  • Get occasional voice feedback throughout your run
  • Press the center button during your run for a check of mileage, distance, pace
  • See complete run data on your Nike+ site, including a dot to represent each time you checked status
  • Share run data with anyone via a link (here’s my 10-mile run yesterday) or embed in your Web site or blog (more below)
  • Create route maps and link them to your runs
  • Hear shuffled music or create playlists specific to each of your run distances
  • Challenge your friends in private challenges, or enter public challenges (like Democrats vs. Republicans or Obama vs. Clinton)

Community Challenges

The community aspect of the Nike+ is really cool. My coworker Dave and I are engaged in an Articulate most miles challenge, and you can track the real-time progress of the contest through March 13 right here:

I’ve been running with my iPod and Nike+ since February 11 and have only clocked in 8 runs, but I can’t imagine going back. I rock out to the music, am continuously motivated to improve my per-mile pace as I run, and, as a tech guy, love the ability to track detailed statistics about my running.

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  1. 4 Responses to “Use Your iPod Nano & Nike+ to Track Mileage”

  2. But what if you sometimes run without music? My playcount is VERY special to me and i would never leave it playing without listening to it. Could you use your nike without listening to your nano?

    By maurice on Aug 12, 2008

  3. Nano 4 is too light thin for me, I will easily lose or break this. Anyone agree ?

    By Chris Hutcherson on Oct 2, 2008

  1. 2 Trackback(s)

  2. Mar 2, 2008: gabeanderson.com 6.0: technology edition » Blog Archive » How to Hack Your Nano / Nike+ Run Data When iPod Freezes
  3. Jul 10, 2008: » Garmin Forerunner 305 | gabeanderson.com 6.0

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