I think that I'm motivated by numbers and statistics because they tell a story. They are an objective evaluation of performance, not tainted by personal bias. Now, I will tell you that I will always be one to argue for the intangible and non-measurable, however I still enjoy the view that statistics give you.
Stats is one of the big reasons why I love Nike+.
Most are familiar with Nike+. If you're not, check out the Nike+ website. It will give you a much better idea than I will. Nike+ is turning 5, and I think that it is an amazing case study in the effect that technology and the social aspect of media can have on fitness.
A quick rundown for those of you not familiar with Nike+. Using sensors that you place in your shoe, and/or GPS capability of your phone, Nike+ keeps track of your runs. You are able to upload them to your Nike+ profile, where you can see a snapshot of your activity, compete with friends, set goals and much more.
I used Nike+ for a while with the Nike+ wristband. It unfortunately got crushed while moving some things one day (even as an adult, I still haven't learned to put away my toys), and I went without for a while. A few months ago, my wife bought me the iPhone4, and I've been using Nike+ on it since.
I love the ability to keep track of my "running stats", even if they aren't very impressive. I am able to see best times, keep track of total miles run, see trends in distance and time, etc. It's not nearly as fun as watching my volleyball games over and over again (said with a tad bit of self-gloating-sarcasm), however, it gives me the same objective visibility into an aspect of my personal fitness.
Here are some of the things that I love about Nike+.
|desktop interface for Nike+|
Let's be honest, nearly everything that Nike+ designs looks awesome. What I love about Nike+, is that it is also a fun interface to use. You can see from the screenshot to the right as well as the one above, that it's pretty slick. Everything from the color scheme, to the statistics, and the videos help you understand your progress.
On the interface you are able to connect with and challenge other runners, join challenges, get running tips, set goals and view progress.
I spoke in my review on loseit.com that mobile usability is important to me. I think no matter what the device, my iPhone, the iPod Nano, or the wristband, the interface is simple and useful. Depending on which device you're on, the usability changes, however for "mobile" purposes, here are some screenshots of the iPhone app. It keeps track of the following (among other things):
1. Records - best time, best mile, best 10K, etc.
2. Past runs
3. Lifetime (lifetime of the device) totals
It also allows you to control your music, connect to various social networks to share results and...it looks pretty.
Toys and Gimmicks:
When Nike+ started, you could only use it on the Nano. Now, there are multiple ways that you can use it. I think that they are all pretty awesome.
1. The Nano.
2. The iPod Touch
3. The iPhone4
4. The Wristband
There may be a couple I'm not aware of. If there are, please forgive my ignorance. Point being however depending on your preference, what hardware you may already have and what you're willing to pay, that there are multiple ways to use the tool. See below for more information about pricing and additional information for some of what is available (for the record, most probably won't buy iPods from Amazon, but it's an easy link to get more information).
There are many other tools out there that help you track your running activity. This is just one of them. Whatever you decide to use, I think that it's a good idea to track results. Similar to my statistics crazed senior year of volleyball, now I'm able to look back and identify progress, trends, strengths and even weaknesses. I think that having the ability to evaluate how you're doing is important in reaching fitness and health goals. Nike+ provides some visibility to do just that. I personally love Nike+ and hope to be able to log many more miles on it in the future.