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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Mar 012013

Activity trackers, heart rate monitors, wifi scales, calorie-intake trackers/food diaries, GPS watches, goals, and achievements are just some of the many things we can use to keep track of our fitness.  The trouble is that even though we have all of these great technologies to help us along our path to become better athletes or shed some pounds, it’s difficult to find a single place to store all of that data.  Sure, there are plenty of sites that aggregate a few things into one place, but, unfortunately, nothing seems to be all-inclusive, yet.   That said, Meagan and I have found that the Fitbit interface does the best job at “everything tracking” of the sites/apps we have tried thus far.  So, in this week’s “Hack Your Fitness” I’m going to explain how to use your Fitbit account as a tool to gather data from (most of) your fitness devices into one spot.

Supplies needed:

Fitbit – ranging from $50 to $100 – This is the only device you need to have for this “hack”.  Everything else is up to you.

Level of difficulty: Medium – This one doesn’t take any scripting, but the process of linking everything up can get a little confusing.

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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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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Running Wired or Wireless

 Posted by on February 20, 2012  2 Responses »
Feb 202012

Heart rate monitors, sport watches, iPhones, and Nike+ are just some of the technologies we choose to run with.  Recently, I began to wonder how these tools are affecting our runs and whether or not all of their effects are of a positive nature.

How do tech-based tools help?

In an article from Runner’s World by Bob Parks, he asks four runners to test HRMs (heart rate monitors) and GPS watches to see how their training was affected.  In “Why Monitors Make Us Fitter”, Parks says that various training monitors help to:

1. Stop Overtraining Many runners don’t do easy runs easy enough and this hurts their fitness in the long run. Professional triathlon coach Hank Lange says, “Watching your beats per minute can serve in a terrific governor role to keep you from overdoing it.” 

2. Stop Undertraining Likewise, you can’t get the full benefit of tempo runs if you don’t work hard enough. Barker finds that monitors help hard workouts designed to improve your lactate threshold. 

3. Get Feedback on the Fly Sometimes it’s hard to gauge your effort level on your own. It could be the wind, fatigue, the hills. In any situation, a monitor provides a pretty good picture of how hard your body’s working.

4. Monitor Your Fitness Beyond furnishing the basic pulse rate, many monitors also tally the time you spend at different training intensities. This data can help you assess how your fitness is progressing and adjust your training plan as needed. 

Continue reading »

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