adidas micoach Pacer: My evening with technology, by Larry Eder

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adidas micoach video

The above video was pulled off You Tube by RBR as part of the demo videos shown at the recent adidas Micoach media day. I spent the end of last week learning about the adidas micoach at the adidas media days.

The adidas micoach is part of adidas's theme of making your running better. It is real time coaching, with the ability to personalize and can be used by newbie fitness enthusiasts, fitness walkers and runners and core runners. And adidas has made it available to runners whether they use adidas or not-the only requirement for your running shoes is that they have shoe strings-a pretty minimalist requirement.

On Sunday night, I actually followed the directions on setting up the micoach Pacer. As someone who could be described as a "timex watch
in a digital age" (I was watching Live Free or Die Hard), my thought process was this--if I could set up my adidas micoach Pacer on the first night, use it and set up a training program, then most of our readers could probably reach the same level of achievement!

Please note that this is not a review.( We suggest that you read the complete review of this product in the March/April issues of Running Network publications). This is one man's experience with the product.

I like the idea behind the adidas micoach program: to give the runner, walker or fitness enthusiast real time coaching. But the challenge for all technology is this: is it easy to use? and does, it achieve its set goals? I give the adidas micoach Pacer a strong yes on both counts.

Here is a chronicle of my journey:

Technology and I are worthy adversaries. This comes from a man who could not follow IKEA directions on putting together a chest of drawers. While the drawers worked adequately for a decade (they are still sitting in my garage, holding early Mac disks), the resulting piece of furniture had a oblong shape, not exactly planned by IKEA, but, in my parallel universe, a worthy interpretation of the original IKEA plan.

So, here is how I do a real human test:

a. TV must be on-Live Free or Die Hard was on FX (love Bruce Willis). Need to be a little irritated. I was, just back from three weeks on road (two weeks vacation), into snow and cold.

b. I actually read all of the directions before I start. This is a good thing. I also double checked to make sure that the sensor was there, as was the battery, the heart monitor and strap, the Pacer version of the micoach.

c. adidas, in their presentation, proclaimed the adidas micoach as real time coaching, a first in this type of technology. There is a sensor for your left running shoe, that can either be tied into one's shoe strings (which means, yes, dear reader, it can be worn in all brands of shoes), or the sensor, like the Nike product, placed in the cavity created underneath adidas performance running insoles. All worked, and fit.

d. There is a heart rate monitor with a strap, that goes midchest. It is easy to fit for large and small runners. One must dampen the inside patches on both the right and left hand sides of the heart rate monitor strap.

e. The adidas micoach Pacer module either clips onto ones shirt, on a strap, or, as I did, can be held in ones hand. Before that, though, the Pacer must be plugged into your computer via USB port and charged. The Pacer is said to hold charges for ten hours (we will update you on that). For this exercise, it should be noted that I charged the Pacer for several hours before this noble experiment.

f. It took me about thirty minutes to sign up on adidas micoach and do the early settings for the Pacer. Simple questions, and then I went to workout information and coaching information.

g. I also looked at the workouts on the adidas.com/micoach site, and was quite impressed. I decided to do a freestyle workout tonight, as I was not sure what the footing was, and knowing it was about five degrees out, I was not sure I would last my planned seventy minutes.

h. So, I laced up my adidas training shoes, placing the foot sensor underneath my shoe strings. I placed my heart rate monitor strap on, remembering to moisten the inner strap. I then plugged the Pacer micoach into my Sennheiser ear phones.

i. It should be noted here that USATF and the RRCA do not recommend ear phones in races. Neither does RBR. My personal thoughts are that ear phones should never be so loud as to exclude one from noting his or her actual surroundings. Runners need to be pro active about their safety.

I used the adidas micoach this first time on well lit city streets, then some not so well lit streets, then a nice paved trail. In all cases, I still consider my surroundings. I forgot the Sennheiser earphones were on, and the English voice (you can choose from several languages and voices for your coaching info) was clear. In the format that I used, I clicked the large button on the top of the Pacer sensor to hear how far I have run, how many calories I had burnt and how much time I had run.

I did jog a little bit on some ice free sections of trail, but kept it as a test. When I got back to the house, my walk was 66 minutes, and I covered just over 3 miles. When you turn the mi coach Pacer off, it tells you that the workout is over, and what the results were.

I then plugged the Pacer sensor into my computer, downloaded the first workout info and signed up for a month long, learn to run program, which has three workouts planned per week for nine weeks. What I liked about the workouts so far were their attention to detail and their realism.

I will keep RBR readers updated on my use of mi coach programs. My feelings on the adidas mi coach is that adidas is delivering what it promised-real time coaching for the fitness enthusiast, walker, runner and core runner.

adidas told us that Greg McMillan and Terrance Mahon, two of our countries top coaches, will be working on future improvements on the workouts. I was pleased with the breadth of the workouts, the ease of using the equipment and the digital support.

I also wanted to thank adidas for making the adidas micoach available to RBR, and the adidas media day was an excellent way to learn about adidas mi coach.

For more information on adidas mi coach, click on www.adidas.com/micoach.

For more on the sport, please click on http://www.runningnetwork.com

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