Adidas miCoach Pacer and Heart Rate Monitor Review
Run Yourself better: Interactive Coaching for all Runners
The newest entrant into the increasingly competitive world of interactive fitness and running monitors is the adidas miCoach. Personal training gadgets have been around for years in one shape or form, but over the last few years they have become better defined, focusing on specific areas of measurement, sports and people.
At one end of the market you will find simple calorie-counters and at the other the all sing all dancing devices such as the GPS-enabled Garmin Forerunner.
In the middle is where devices like the adidas miCoach and Nike+.
The £119 adidas miCoach is a fully featured package, featuring a Heart Rate Monitor, Stride Sensor and a Pacer which communicates with the adidas Heart Rate Monitor and adidas Stride Sensor to record elapsed time, calories burned, heart rate, distance travelled, pace and stride rate. It also easily connects with your iPod or other mp3/audio player.
In addition similar to Nike, Adidas provide online connectivity so you can synchronise the device, keep track of your workouts, and get virtual coaching help and programmes which can vary from for those beginning running for the first time to those training for long distance.
Adidas miCoach Equipment and Features
As mentioned the adidas miCoach consist of three separate bits of equipment:
The adidas Stride Sensor which collects data as you walk, jog or run and simply attaches to the laces of your running trainers.
Users have found that the stride sensor very accurate when measured against both Google Maps and actually driving the routes just ran, mean the device is more than accurate for good measurement and log recording.
The adidas Heart Rate Monitor, which as it says on the tin, measures your heart rate, but unlike a wrist monitor it actually fits around your chest.
The adidas miCoach Pacer which communicates with the adidas Heart Rate Monitor and adidas Stride Sensor to record elapsed time, calories burned, heart rate, distance travelled, pace and stride rate.
The Pacer can also attach to your iPod or other audio device so you can listen to music and receive audio coaching as it guides you through different workouts. In addition this is the bit of the package that connects to your PC so you can upload the recorded data and analysis your progress.
Three are two modes to choose from when using the Pacer, you can use the free mode where the device will just collect data or the miCoach mode where the virtual coach will give you audio feedback as you run.
There is a fast-forward feature that can be used to select different workouts in the miCoach mode, such as a recovery run or intervals speed training
It’s important to note the virtual coach does not continuously interrupt your run. The virtual coach is there to tell you the time, distance, pace and raise a flag when you're out of the prescribed heart rate zone.
It’s worth mentioning you can choose between male and female voice coaches!
You can also push a button on the front of the Pacer to get an instant update on your current stats as you run.
To measure your heart rate there are four colour zones , green, blue, yellow, and red being the highest. As the pacer measures your stride and heart rate it prescribes an optimal colour zone for you. If your heart rate increase or decreases taking you out of these zones an audio alert is player informing you to slow down or speed up.
Adidas miCoach Website and Online Connectivity
When you buy your adidas miCoach you are walked through the process of registering it with you PC or Mac. This is very simple; you just install a small piece of software and register with the miCoach website.
After each run, you plug your miCoach into your PC or Mac and your data will be uploaded to the miCoach website. The miCoach website is easy to use and navigate, and includes just about everything you need in order to track and improve your running. The dashboard shows your latest workout time, calories burned, distance, pace, heart rate, and stride rate along with a preview of the next workout and overall achievements such as total mileage to date.
For those a little more analytical, within a few clicks you can get your hands on more in-depth details such as your heart rate over the course of a specific workout and more.
You can review and plot new route through Google maps which has been embed for connivance. There is also space for you to make notes against each run, such as how you felt, record the weather, who you ran with and anything else you think might be useful as well as a box to enter the music you listened to during the run.
One of the most excellent features is the miCoach Scheduler. The miCoach software recommends a schedule for you, which is accessible from a simple calendar interface that can be adjusted easily by dragging and dropping the workouts into different days.
Overall the miCoach website is fun, easy and simple to use.
Some advanced runners might complain the adidas miCoach does not include a GPS, but as it has direct access to Google Maps you can clearly see where you have been, and to be honest, how often do you get lost when out running. The adidas miCoach is designed to fill the gap in the middle of the market and compete with the Nike+.
The adidas miCoach Pacer is a fully-featured personal trainer that will prove its worth to both beginners and regular runners.