The Nike + Sportbands came to Running Free on Tuesday. I hadn’t really planned on buying one, but the prospect of having somewhat accurate pace feedback without wearing a bulky watch or footpod was quite attactive. Sure, it wouldn’t be nearly as accurate as my dad’s Garmin. But I never use the Garmin, anyway, because the darn thing doesn’t fit on my wrist. Even the new 405 is huge. I’ve tried it on. Right where the strap connects to the watch, the plastic strap is very stiff. So even if I have the watch as tight as it goes, there is still a huge gap on both sides of the watch face.
So I bought one of the sportbands, along with a little shoe pocket to carry the little chip for your shoe (since I’m currently wearing New Balance). I took it out for a run today. It’s a great little system. The sportband is comfortable and very simple to use (it only has two buttons). I never tried the Nike iPod system, since I don’t have a nano, and I don’t usually run with music (I’ve never had the need for some “powersong” just to get through my run).
The accuracy isn’t too bad. I was immediately skeptical when the pace flashing at me was sub-7 minutes (per mile, of course). Well under seven, in fact. I knew I wasn’t running 6:45 miles, so I took the pace calculations with a grain of salt. Once I finished my “12 mile route” (I call it 12 miles since it takes 90 minutes and I estimate that I’m running 7:30 pace), I reset the watch and did a route that I know to be a mile for calibration purposes. The watch called my “12 mile” route 13.2 miles, which I didn’t believe. While the measurement of my mile loop wasn’t completely accurate, it actually wasn’t too far off. The loop was one mile, and the watch said 1.05 miles as I finished. Plus, I ran it in 6:53.
After today’s run, I’ve concluded two things:
1) The Nike+ system is pretty awesome. It gave me 1.05 miles as a measurement for a 1 mile loop — that’s an accuracy rating of 95%, straight out of the box, without calibration, and in a shoe pouch rather than under the foot in a Nike shoe (it’s supposed to be more accurate that way). I’ll have to calibrate the thing, but it’s great for my purposes at the moment. I’m mostly doing easy runs these days, so I will probably get some pretty accurate readings once the sensor is calibrated. Obviously I wouldn’t use this for faster stuff, but it’s great for easy-paced runs.
2) I’m running faster than I thought I was. Even when I adjusted the distance (I went by how much it was off on the mile loop, so I subtracted 0.05 for every mile from the total distance), I discovered that my pace was still faster than 7:30. Today it worked out to about a 7:09 average, and I did the loop in the same time that I’ve been running for the past week and a half. So I’m not as terribly out of shape as I previously thought.
I’m still trying to figure out how to post some run data to the blog. It’s supposed to be pretty simple, but wordpress doesn’t seem to like the code.