Good news for runners who use non-Nike shoes: The Nike+iPod Sport Kit has given me accurate milage results when used as described in the Podophile shoe mod. I’ve done several simple tests, and have been quite happy with the results.
Yesterday, I ran until I had reached 2 miles on the iPod counter. Then I stopped that session and started a new one, running back to my starting point. The reading: 2.03 miles. So the reading of my pace and stride were consistent over two separate runs.
Next, I jumped into my car and drove the same course. The odometer hit 2 miles just a few yards before I reached the stopping point of my run. My odometer only measures tenths of miles, so I’m not sure how many hundredths it was off, but my guess is less than five.
Today I mapped out a three mile course on Gmaps Pedometer and went walking. When I reached the end of the course, the iPod read 2.84 miles. Again, I took out the car and drove the course and my odometer read 2.9 miles. Good enough for me.
The results are absolutely within the range of what I had expected from the Nike+iPod Kit (if not better). It should be noted that these were done with the default calibration. If you’re a stickler for pin-point accuracy, or your results aren’t as good as mine, you can manually calibrate the unit (requires that you know the exact distance of a course, like a quarter-mile track). I suspect that the default calibration will be acceptable for most runners.
The question I can’t answer is whether the accelerometer would be any more (or less) accurate in a Nike+ shoe than under the laces of my regular running shoe. That would require me actually getting the Nike shoes to test, and unless the good people at Nike send me a pair for evaluation (size 13, please), I probably won’t be doing that.
Overall, I’m extremely happy with the results I’m getting from this product, and very thankful that Nike and Apple made it possible to use it with alternative running shoes. As for Nike, they don’t need to worry about me….they’re still getting my money. I just bought a Nike iPod armband for my wife, and I really like some of the new running clothes they’ve just introduced. Ca-ching!