Adidas miCoach Pacer preview (english version)

These days I’m testing the new Adidas miCoach. Fortune to try this geek gadget is unique. Adidas wants to increase its target market share in the running with an object that can compete with the very popular Nike +.
Before Christmas, Adidas Italy invited a few runners and geek bloggers to present the new 2010 running sportwear and miCoach over the developments and functions of this small but promising personal digital coach.
Adidas gave me the miCoach Pacer version. In the box there is the pacer, the heart rate, cardio strap, the sensor gait, his clip, battery, USB cable, audio cable, manual.
The gait sensor can be attached to shoes by its clips or can be inserted inside the shoes featuring on new Adidas collection (like Nike does). The heart sensor can attack with snap fasteners to Adidas clothing or by chest strap. The Pacer, and here’s the big news, can be connected between headphones and MP3 player. This allows you to listen the coach voice (on the type of activity and speed that we maintain) while running and training.
I have always coached myself by step/gait over a distance. The Adidas miCoach, however, approach your training on heart rate and time.
The first step is to create a profile on the site /miCoach, you set height and weight, and you decide what type of activities we want to do. The choice is very complete, from a workout to lose weight, to anti-stress runs or to prepare for a marathon. The training tables are very easy to configure and customize (we can change the days of rest, that for long, we change the proposed dates) and the view is excellent and easily understood. I must say that the interface is well done. For the moment I did two runs with the miCoach. For the first one, I did not configured anything. I opened the box, loaded the pacer and start running (set “free” on Pacer module). I wanted to check the factory settings and its accuracy. Compared with the GPS, I must say I was surprised by its precision (I’ve raced on a level road for 10km). back to home, I’ve connected the miCoach Pacer to the site, I checked the data collected and heart rate at the various points of the route. I’m not a big fan of cardio and I find the lack of GPS a major leak, but I am curious to see my progress in preparing the next marathon (Milan 11/April) with the miCoach and working on areas of blue/green/yellow/red of BPM. Yesterday I created my work plan. I missed training evaluation (12 minutes) and passed directly on to the next 31 minutes working on the area with blue, green and yellow. The difficult part for me is to speed up / slow down the pace to be within the rate zone set. The analysis of post-training data collected showed me that I was only 31% in the zones (I will have to adapt and change the way I train … maybe for the better).

I found this approach very good (new to me as I’m not used to run on cardio). The advantage of the Pacer compared to other similar systems is the continuous following during training by voice (I chose the female voice in Italian). She (I’ll have to find a name, right? 🙂 ) announces the cardiac area in which we must run and for how long. If we are out (BPM higher or lower than the zone), she will alert and this is very important for a workout nice and well executed. At the end she summarizes the data collected with a “… training concluded. good job. Cute.
I was skeptical because of the absence of GPS and the approach on heart BPMs. Now I think it is really a useful tool and which will be addicted to my training. When I go out running, I will have with me the iPod, Garmin Forerunner GPS watch, adidas miCoach pacer connected to iPod, chest strap heart rate monitor (hate the band … will get the new Adidas shirts with clip on?), sensor shoes, iphone. I’m basically a geek runner multitechnology, multidevice …. And there is no cure, I know 🙂

(disclaimer: Adidas Italy did not requested me a review on this blog. I have been given miCoach to follow the technical discussion on some forums. This post is free from any contractual relationship between myself, Adidas and third parties involved in launching the miCoach and represents my discretion)

translation from italian helped by Google Translate 🙂