Instabeat: Master Your Swim!

 Posted by on May 17, 2013  No Responses »
May 172013

It’s been a couple of years now since I’ve hopped in a pool to swim laps, and even longer since I swam competitively, but after spending 8 years on swim teams, including all through high school, the sport of swimming will always be near and dear to my heart. Swimming is an excellent all-around form of exercise, and I always feel at home when I’m in the water (maybe I’m part mermaid!), whereas running has never been an activity I feel naturally suited for (but I love it anyway). As it turns out, swimming is also an excellent form of cross-training for runners, made even better by the fact that it is virtually zero-impact, so it is great for recovering from/preventing injuries. Because of this, I’ve been meaning to get back in the pool since about the time we started doing races (over a year and a half ago already!), but have had trouble motivating myself to make it there during open swim hours (which are usually very early in the morning). However, I think I’ve finally found the perfect reason to get out my suit, cap, and goggles and hit the water again–the Instabeat! Continue reading »

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Mio Alpha Review

 Posted by on April 26, 2013  No Responses »
Apr 262013

Shorts? Check! Shirt? Check! Socks? Check! Shoes? Check!  Water-bottle? Check!  Watch? Check!  You open the door, go outside, stretch, take a deep breath, and hit start on your watch.  No heart rate….  Has this happened to you before?

It’s funny to me that the most common complaint about wearing a chest strap is the lack of comfort, but, honestly, that is the least of my issues with it.  The only problem I have with it is after a 10 hour day at the office, all I want to do is come home throw on my running clothes and shoes, put on my watch and hit the pavement.  Unfortunately, for those of us interested in heart rate monitoring, we are immediately delayed by the extra three, four, or even five steps (depending on your device) involved with getting the heart rate strap diodes wet, strapping it on, getting the sensor snapped on, and the then connecting the sensor/monitor to the watch itself .  I know what you’re thinking, “Wow, that’s a first world problem…”, but we all know that sometimes you’ll take any reason to avoid your evening run.  The Mio Alpha Heart Rate Monitor aims to solve this problem. Continue reading »

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Garmin Forerunner 110 Review

 Posted by on March 15, 2013  2 Responses »
Mar 152013

The Garmin Forerunner 110 (henceforth known as the FR110) has been around since early 2010. It is the least expensive model in the Forerunner series ($179.99 w/o a HRM strap, $229.99 w/ a HRM strap) that offers both GPS and heart rate tracking (the FR70 and Forerunner 10 are $50 cheaper, but the former is HR-only and the latter is GPS-only). I have been running with the FR110 since August of last year, which is about the time I realized that my iPhone’s battery wasn’t going to be able to make it through longer and longer training runs for our half marathon with the GPS feature running. Overall, I have found the FR110 to be a good investment in my running career. The quality of both the data and the device itself live up to the high standards I have for a product from Garmin, one of the leading GPS companies in the world, and, perhaps more importantly, being able to review how my heart rate changes throughout my run and getting accurate measurements of my pace and distance have helped me to better evaluate my fitness goals and progress.  Continue reading »

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Feb 132013

I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, how could this be possible?  Why would Garmin allow this?  Better yet, why would Nike allow this?  Well, for all of you Nike+ users who have hundreds of miles logged on your account, but have now purchased a Garmin GPS (which has its own website, Garmin Connect, for uploading running data files), boy do I have a surprise for you!  You don’t have to give up on your Nike+ account!  In this hack I will show you how to easily connect your Garmin GPS/Heart-rate Monitor to Nike+.

Supplies Needed:

Level of DifficultyLOW – I considered making the level of difficulty “monkey”, but decided that was too insulting to monkeys. Seriously, if you have a Garmin and a Nike+ account, you should have no trouble figuring this one out. 

Continue reading »

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CES 2013 – Activity Tracker Bonanza

 Posted by on January 15, 2013  No Responses »
Jan 152013

If you are unfamiliar with CES (Consumer Electronics Show), I’ll start by saying that it is the world’s largest consumer technology trade-show featuring over 3000 exhibitors (and if any reader out there wants to hook us up with an invite for 2014, we would be very interested in going)(and yes, this is basically the same opening paragraph as last year’s CES article, so sue me!).  The 2013 event wrapped up on January 12th and this year’s hot topic was, apparently, activity trackers!  While there were 15+ total trackers featured at CES, I picked out a few of my favorites to share with you and/or ones that I feel will make the biggest impact. So, without further ado, let’s get to the activity tracker parade! Continue reading »

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Nike Plus SportWatch GPS Review

 Posted by on October 1, 2012  6 Responses »
Oct 012012
Nike SportWatch02

Before I begin to bury everyone in stories and specifications of the Nike Plus SportWatch, I want to explain my decision to try out a Nike HRM/GPS watch rather than a more popular Garmin Forerunner or Polar.  Anyone who knows me would be able to explain my passion for electronics and my obsession with reading product reviews, along with doing tons of research on a product before making a purchase. With that said, you can understand the trouble I had when choosing a product that meshes two of my favorite things, technology and running.  This decision can be explained by one important word: ecosystem.  Apple has it, Google has it, Amazon has it, and Nike has it.  Other watch/fitness competitors are trying to build similar communities for the fitness world but, unfortunately, no one has it quite like Nike.  The recent Nike Plus website rebuild is one of the best examples of a company realizing a major flaw in a major market and turning it into something that could ultimately become Nike’s biggest selling point.  From what I have seen, no competitor has a similar community to Nike Plus and with as many miles as I have logged on their website, I wouldn’t dare leaving it without something amazing on the other end.

Continue reading »

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Jul 122012

Manufacturer4iiii Innovations

Model: Sportiiiis Heads Up Display

Base Price: $149.99

As much as I love my Garmin, I am constantly bothered that I can’t read off my pace and heart rate at the same time.  Obviously, the two are intricately connected.  The Sportiiiis easily solves this problem with a nifty LED indicator that sits below your eye and lets you know if your heart rate is in the correct zone, or if you’re pumping too hard.  Furthermore, it will actually tell you exactly what your heart rate is, requiring no switching between screens on my Forerunner.  The Sportiiiis is a great little device, but requires a bit of setup, equipment, and knowledge to use.  In this review, I will be breaking down the positives and negatives of the Sportiiiis and letting you know how it works. Continue reading »

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