Spring is here and Ottawa's running culture is out in full force, either training for the Ottawa Race Weekend on May 28th/29th, or just for the joy of being able to run along the Rideau Canal again.
I'm slowly (excruciatingly slow) building myself back up to running 10k again and while I was rummaging through some of my old run stuff, I found this little treasure (see below). I'd forgotten how totally in love I am with the iPod/Nike's running tool. And no, this is not a paid product placement lol. I started using this last year when I first got into running and am putting it to use once again.
What it is is a two-part device. Part 1 is a sensor that attaches to your shoe laces and registers every step you take. Part 2 is a receiver that plugs into your iPod, which interprets the data, then displays your run information on your iPod screen.
You can program it to track your run by distance, time, or calories burned depending on your goal. When I was race training, I used the distance setting so I could first map out a route (it'll let you know when you've reached your desired distance), then track my progress accordingly. It also calculates your total time as well as average MPH, so I would aim to run faster and faster for each given 10k run. Now, my goals have shifted to burning calories. I've been doing 45 minutes of cardio 5x per week, so I use the time setting to track the time elapsed. I can then increase my intensity by trying to increase the distance covered in those 45 minutes.
I love that it monitors milestones like "5 minutes" or "1 km" elapsed, or "half-way point". And if you've had an especially good run, a recording of Lance Armstrong or another famous athlete will come on and tell you "Good job!". At any point, you can check your average pace, time, and distance elapsed. And if you happen to stop running for more than a minute (say you're stuck at a red light), it'll automatically pause the workout for you until it senses you've started running again.
Drawbacks: I've found that the distance measurer can be a little bit off, but I'm sure it was built for an "average" sized person with an "average" stride (I have short little legs). I also found the calorie counter to be a bit off, but I never really trust machines to tell me how many calories I've burned anyways. If anything, I use it to compare one workout to the next, but never as an accurate measure of my caloric expenditure. It's also inconvenient to flip through music (which I do constantly!) while it's in action, so build yourself a good playlist and just let it go.