Monday, July 31, 2006

Nike + iPod Sport Kit

Apple and Nike came up with a new joint initiative lately: Nike + iPod Sport Kit.
You are getting a kit of a little chip that goes under insole of your Nike+ shoe, a wireless receiver for your iPod nano and software.

Insert the wireless sensor inside the custom, built-in pocket beneath the insole of your Nike+ shoe, then plug the receiver into the Dock connector on your iPod nano.

After you work out you will be able to synch it up with your PC:

- Definitely the price! It is just $29 compared to $90 for a GPS-enabled stop watch.
- You do not need an additional gadget and you run with your iPod anyways.
- Synergy of two great brands: Nike’s “just do it” and Apple’s “think different”.
- It will probably work in NYC where my Garmin 201 never caught a satellite signal.

- It will not appeal to the most passionate audience as they would rather go with a GPS-enabled unit than a less reliable substitute
- It requires Nike+ shoes. A lot of people will never buy Nike. I am totally devoted to ASICS and never had a good experience with any other brand. And I doubt this sensor will work with ordinary shoes although the chances are it will.
- It is not evident how this product works and whether it is much better than a $3-worth old-school pace-meter.

Anyways, we will see how it goes and whether this product gets any traction or not.

Thursday, July 27, 2006


I was under impression that the world beyond 26.2 marathon miles is limited to Iron Man triathlon competitions and very few enthusiasts like Dean Karnazes.

I was wrong. Although there are fewer people that got bored with marathon than the number of people still working towards their first marathon ever, I nevertheless was quite impressed by the number of ultra-running competitions.

The best resource I found on this topic is the ‘ultraRUNNING’ magazine:

Here are a couple of distinguishing features of ultra-running races:

-- Longer than marathon, 50km, 50 miles, 100km and 100 miles being the most common distances.

-- Usually off-road trail races, more often than not in some mountain areas – add crazy course elevations to crazy course length in other words.

Running 100km smells like some people are in urgent need for some professional psychological help. On the other hand it is just two and a half times marathon race – which sounds a bit better and less insane.

In any case it is quite challenging, or even ultraCHALLENGING, but at the same time not as out-of-reach as the Badwater 136-mile race through the red-hot Death Valley in July :-)

If anyone got interested, ultraRUNNING Online provides a list of upcoming ultra-race events in your area:

New horizons for just $160

`Nike launched a new ad campaign to promote their AIRMAX series of running shoes.

What is cool about it – they managed to reflect their passion and excitement of running. It is not about fitness, or weight loss, or new super cushioning features. It is all about adventure and new horizons, AIRMAX running shoes will open to you.

Nike rented some premium real estate on and some other web sites for enthusiasts. If you click one of their banners, you will get to the campaign page:

They split it into two parts – basketball and running. You can browse the shoes collection, check out interactive ads or watch TV commercials.

The commercials are particularly excellent.

One shows a young couple that got to a desert wearing Nike AIRMAX shoes.
“What is this place?” – he asks.
“I do not know. We’ve never been this far before!” – she answers.

Another guy saw a police chase, and wants to share this with his wife.
“Wait, you ran all the way to the river?!” – asks she with amazement and admiration, not even interested about the police accident.
He is not answering. He just casts a glance at his AIRMAX running shoes as if he did not even realize it, and is amazed himself he did run all the way to the river.

Although I ran into some issues with Nike running shoes in the past, and always go for ASICS, I nevertheless felt like giving AIRMAX sneakers a try…

I am used to buying premium running shoes, but $160 for AIRMAX.360 still seems a little bit steep. However once you realize you pay top dollar not for the shoes, but the new horizons promise, you attitude to it is very likely to change. People are ready to pay for emotionally charged products much more than what they pay for usability and product features. And this Nike campaign is another example of it.