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Nike+iPod: Exercising the trends

It’s 6 a.m. and the alarm buzzes. Other more determined people arise to greet the morning with a brisk run. I, however, lay there until my wife gets out of bed and turns it off. The best-laid plans of exercise – getting up early and setting aside fatty foods – often meet their demise when convenience rears its ugly head.

To waylay this convenient laziness, we turn to the popular trends and commodities such as the iPod Nano and its adjoining accessory, the Nike+iPod Sports Kit.

There are few things in this world that I really detest – reading and running. Of course, both are necessary evils for being well-rounded – or in the case of running, being less well-rounded. Simply put, there is nothing to do while I go running. My mind is free to wander, and yet all I can focus on is how much I cannot stand running, and the physical discomforts are magnified by my mind.

Perhaps if I had a way to give the mind-numbing experience of running a little more meaning and pleasure, I might get up and actually do it.

Civil and environmental engineering grad student Nathan Collier is my antithesis. He loves running because he says it makes him feel good and healthy. He lauds the iPod and its Nike kit because they help him to chart his progress. It allows him to check his speed while running and upload it to a Web site where the options multiply.

The Nike Web site allows you to set goals for running distance, pace and even pit your skills and accomplishments against other users from around the world. You can even make challenges to other runners, and receive medals and awards for goals achieved.

Collier has been prodded to improve by this intriguing product. So far, he has cut one minute off his mile.

“For me, it acts like a trainer,” he said. “You still have to step up and do the work, but it gives you the objective information you need.”

Running and carrying the iPod Nano can be cumbersome to some. Nike makes an armband to hold it, and it is just as expensive as the chips in the Nike kit and covers the screen of the iPod nano. For those like Nathan, who prefer to view their information on the iPod Nano screen, they must seek other options. When asked if he had thought about getting a bro – a man bra – to hold it in, he said, “No, I hadn’t, and you can quote me.”

The Nike+iPod Sports Kit received a score of 93, and four out of five stars, from consumer reviews on the Apple Web site. While many of the reviewers lack of proper punctuation and grammar, their connoisseurship of consumerism reveals very few noteworthy concerns with the quality of the product. Apparently, Nike was not ready to live up to the massive influx of Internet traffic in January, and its Web site was slow and/or non-responsive at times.

Other than that, most of the concerns come from not using the proper shoes with the product. I realized that if this were about a life-sustaining I.V. that faltered or failed, this could be a serious issue. However, at some point we have to stop and have some patience with the fact that often times, the best-laid plans still have kinks.

All in all, the product received good ratings and appears to be a nifty little gadget for getting people active. One consumer review, G.N. from Caulfield North, writes, “Couldn’t be better for a beginner like me.”

Not beginning is the only way to fail for certain. Nike+iPod Kit or not, I don’t want to become well-rounded in that way, so I better get started.