Nike+ GPS

A while back you probably noticed me tweeting and raving about Adidas’ miCoach app, which I’d started using for running (replacing Runkeeper). I was recently brought in to consult with the team behind rival program Nike+ about all things technology and Tokyo (and gaming too), and one of the things I promised before leaving was that I would try their Nike+ GPS app — hey, this coming from a guy who walked in wearing a pair of Adidas sneakers, and professed how much he loved the miCoach app.

Nike+ GPS is the follow-up to Nike’s previous running program, which required an extra tracking unit that you placed in your sneakers. The new app works more like miCoach in that it sticks to using the GPS capabilities of your iPhone (although you can buy an extra tracking unit to use with miCoach, to get better readings). Also, unlike the free miCoach, Nike+ GPS is $2.

So I bought it last night and went for a run, and so far I’m pretty happy with how it works. One of the things I really liked about miCoach is how it actually coaches you, telling you what “zone” to run in. The Nike app doesn’t do that, which I don’t mind at all. I’d started feeling like following the miCoach program was actually slowing my progression down. With Nike, it’s more about giving yourself goals, and also following group goals. As I said, I’ve only gone for one run so far, but I’m finding the website pretty slick, and prefer how it displays your runs on Google Maps.

I think I’m going to at least try it for a couple of weeks, to give it a good shake and see how I feel about it, and then decide if I want to stick with it, or go back to miCoach, or even Runkeeper.

Dripping

Is it hot enough for you? In what is turning out to be the most uncomfortable summer yet since my arrival in Japan over ten years ago — and yes, that’s even compared to me lying on my back with a broken spine last summer — I’m just trying to make it until the end.

To be honest, I’ve never much liked summer. I don’t particularly like winter either. Me, I just don’t like extremes, autumn (my preference) and spring are my seasons, and so September can’t come quickly enough.

In the meantime, me and my wife both work in our sun room — which is the only room in our house with A/C — desk-to-desk, with usually at least one fan gently doing its thing. My dog Confiture pretty much sticks with us too, although he’ll occasionally go into his cage in the kitchen as the hard plastic bottom seems to be cool for him.

What does this mean in terms of productivity? Well, shit gets done, as it needs to be, but I’ve noticed that even just a short trek outside for a few errands drains me. Yes, I am the living embodiment of my family name.

Despite all this, I’m very happy to report that I’m back on the running kick, something I hadn’t seriously gotten back to since my back injury last year. Evenings are thankfully relatively cool, and so I tend to go out for a run around 22:00. Previously I always used the Runkeeper iPhone app to keep track of my runs, but this time I’ve been trying out Adidas’ new miCoach app, and I’m loving it. What I mostly like about it is that not only does it keep track of your performance, but it actually coaches you along the way, telling you what pace you should be following based on the running program you’ve picked, prompting you when you go too fast or too slow. So far so good, I did my four runs this past week, and I’m running better and longer than I ever have.

So here’s to getting through another two weeks or so of hardcore summer weather, and making the best out of it (i.e. doing my best to avoid it).