Thursday, April 1, 2010

miCoach vs Nike+

miCoach is new gadget for training from Adidas, it's a late comer if you know what Nike+ does for running.

I used Nike+ for running for just over a year. Unless you just walk casually I guess most people will need to monitor heart rate by a Heart Rate monitor such as this. When I first started I didn't want to invest in professional gear like Polar.

The Nike+ and iPod kit has been around for a while I think they didn't want to compete with Polar (the watch doesn't play music I believe) in the same segment therefore the missing part from Nike+ is integration of heart rate monitor with iPod. This is where Adidas has come in.

To put it simple miCoach offers you
  • heart rate monitoring

  • records your pace, heart rate, distance, stride rate, calories, time, date of workout and analyze them on their website

  • provides coaching advices using voice over your music

  • plays music from your own music player, any MP3/phone/iPod ... etc

  • use your customized training plan by setting training zone for heart rate such that you don't overwork yourself

The miCoach can completely replace my Nike+ iPhone combination, also the stride sensor can be attached to my running shoes lace therefore saving the investment on a new pair of Adidas running shoes.



The first screenshot above is the 'assessment run' (12 minutes) recommended, I had to run 10 little sections with verbal instruction telling me to walk, run a little harder .... etc.

I then tried a 'free run' which is without coaching instruction. I can hear running information such as heart rate, pace, distance ... etc (configurable at website), by a push of a button while I run. During this run I also turned on the Nike+ with my iPhone, great news is that they don't interfere each other, both gadgets use 2.4GHz.

Initial impression only, what I like about miCoach

  • positive voice feedback that senors are connected

  • special shoes not required, you could walk/hike with it

  • comprehensive website to log/plan your training

  • nice looking charting capability, e.g. overlaying information of your run

  • your customized training plans, such that you don't over-train yourself

  • battery is customer replaceable

What I don't like
  • no graphical display, the gadget is too small for that

  • fairly complicated setup, 29 pages of user instruction and very comprehensive website

  • too many little pieces (7 of them) to worry about

  • doesn't work with iPhone, will never I bet

The miCoach instruction says calibration isn't really necessary as accuracy would be 95% or 97% if calibrated. A first check is that distance recorded by miCoach and Nike+ was 1.56k and 1.57k respectively. This is pretty good as I only recently calibrated my Nike+ new stride sensor. The pace was 6.48 and 6.4 min/k respectively for miCoach and Nike+.

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