I notice that I speak in hyperbole quite a bit, but I don’t think I would over-exaggerate if I said that the Nike+iPod running system quite literally changed my life.
I had run on and off with my buddy Chris for a year or so. Or rather, I’d stumble along behind Chris as he ran. I never enjoyed it and most times when Christ would call to invite me on a run, I’d find an excuse not to go.
I needed some motivation and I needed it quickly. My weight had climbed up to 244 pounds and my Mii on WiiFit was obese! I had to do something. We had an old iPod Nano lying around so I decided to invest $30 and buy the Nike+iPod Sports Kit. With the sensor in my shoe, and the dongle plugged into the iPod Nano, the Sport Kit would track my distance and calories and automatically upload the data to Nikeplus.com. I could track my progress and literally watch the fat melt off my chubby frame.
Fast forward 6 months and 330 miles and I’m down almost 20 pounds! Nike+ has been awesome, to say the least! So why the “break up” headline in the title of this post? It all started with my other buddy Jack and a little website called livestrong.com.
Jack is a runner and I talked him into getting the Nike+iPod Sports Kit to track his runs. He swore up and down that it wasn’t accurate. I told him he was crazy. Mine was spot on. But he persisted and planted a seed of doubt in my mind.
Livestrong.com has been around for a while, and I actually joined it in 2008. I just never utilized it much.
As I had lost a little bit of weight running every day, I thought I could lose even more if I actually ate healthier (I’m addicted to Wendy’s and Carl’s Jr!). So I logged back into livestrong.com to start tracking my calorie intake.
I need to do another blog post just on the livestrong.com interface and how awesome it is. As I got used to using livestrong, I noticed that there was something new on the website that wasn’t there in 2008. It was simply entitled “Loops“. Wait a sec, this looks familiar! Kind of like the “map it” feature on Nike+!
I start clicking around and lo and behold! I can create loops (aka routes or maps) that will calculate calories burnt, distance, and all that good stuff too. It integrates directly into my caloric intake and is subtracted from my daily calories! Very nice.
The biggest drawback to this new system is that I have to recreate all my running routes with the Livestrong map tool. Good thing it only takes about 4 minutes per loop! After a few minutes of work, I have the following loops built:
As you can tell, Livestrong is very web 2.0, with big buttons and overall prettiness. I recreated the second loop, “6 miles around Bear Creek”, and actually ran the route the first chance I got. I get home and what does my Nike+ tell me? I only ran 5.5 miles? What the what? A half a mile is a pretty big discrepancy! I talk to my wife the math genius, and she does assure me that distance, when calculated correctly, is the constant in the equation of distance and time. Nike+ HAD to be incorrect.
If I wasn’t going to use Nike+ anymore, or at least count it as accurate, that meant I was going to have to track all my stats myself. That didn’t phase me as I have done some spreadsheets before. I quickly found a Running Log template that someone had created for Excel and set it up for my personal use. At the same time I visited Runningworld.com to find some help on nursing my strained calf back to health and found out by accident that they offer a free online Running Log as well. All the work was done for me!
Runningworld.com is a great website with lots of tools for runners. The one thing their Log doesn’t track is calories.
So now I’m in double redundancy using Livestrong and Runningworld, but it seems to be the only way I can get an accurate count of how much I’ve ran. At first accuracy didn’t seem so important, but the longer I run, the more accuracy is important. Nike+ says I’ve run 330 miles, but what if it is 350? That’s a big difference!