Nike+I know the Nike+iPod microchip isn’t a new thing, but it’s new to me so I’ve decided to write about it. And hey, it may be something new to you too. Perhaps you’ve been considering buying one, but haven’t been sure if it’s worth the cost (it can get expensive if you don’t already own an iPod.).

I got my Nike chip ($29) about three weeks ago, just before I started my training. Prior to that I’d been mapping out my routes using Google Earth or just guessing my mileage based on the amount of time it took me to run (this is where knowing your pace is really helpful). But now that I have the Nike chip I can spend more time concentrating on my breathing and running form, and less time worrying about how far I’ve gone because it’s all being calculated for me. The Nike chip calculates your pace, calories burned, distance and time. AND you can track your progress using the Nike Web site, which I love. I love looking at my runs to see where I’m at and what I need to work on. Each run is graphed so you can see where you ran your fastest and where you slowed down. Nike Sportband

Also, for those of you who don’t feel safe running with a headset on, there is now a Nike wristband you can buy that does all the same calculations for you without the necessity of an iPod. The wristband is $59, which is a huge savings if you don’t own an iPod, which are something like $250. My biggest issue with the Nike+ system has been finding an armband to fit it, which you won’t have to worry about if you buy the Sportband instead. Why am I having a problem finding an armband? you ask. Well, unfortunately, Apple LOVES planned obsolescence and has asked every store in the nation to pull the 2G Nike armbands from the shelves. Trust me, I’ve looked and I’ve asked. Nobody is allowed to sell anything but the 3G armbands. Fortunately, Apple can’t really control the Internet and I’ll be able to buy an armband online somewhere, but if I didn’t already own an iPod I wouldn’t give Apple my business. Just to spite them and their planned obsolescence I’d go and buy the wristband instead.

Shoe PouchOne last thing: If you’re like me you’ve gone and got yourself fitted for running shoes at a Running Store (mine is Fleet Feet). They’ve looked at the curve of your foot, the way you run and talked to you about any injuries or issues you’ve had with past shoes. And voila you’ve got your perfect shoes! Only, the shoes aren’t Nikes, which means there’s no little cutout in the sole for your microchip. Not to worry, some super cool people over at Grantwood Technology have made a little pouch to fit the microchip and it fits right onto your laces, which is fab because you won’t have to trash your $90 running shoes by cutting a hole in the sole. And the best part? It’s only $6.99. You can’t beat that.

P.S. On my run today I discovered a new song on my iPod by Kellie Pickler. It’s about to become my new favorite warm-up song. I guess it was a bonus song on her first CD because I can’t find it on her Web site, but you can hear it on YouTube.

Update: If you’re looking for information on whether you should calibrate your Nike+ chip, click here.