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Jan 5, 2007

Nike+ fine-tune your run

Too much Turkey, dessert and chocolate has been eaten. Too much alcohol has been drunk. The festivities weigh heavy on your body, life is back to the old routine and you can no longer postpone that New Year's resolution to get fit and healthy. Or can you?

After all, you have none of the modern equipment required to simply jog around the park these days. The shirt, the shoes and the iPod - days can be wasted trawling the shops, or the internet, for the apparel that will transform you from a couch potato into an athlete. But do we really need it?

Luckily, here at ESPNSoccernet, we, or I, have already undergone a rigorous regime of over indulgence during the festive period in order to test drive the new Nike+ running shoes and Nike Pro Vent vest - designed to ensure athletes are physically and mentally match fit.

As already discussed, and despite Nike's claims to the contrary, the mental approach is all still down to you, but the products do help physically - or so the results of my experiment suggest.

In the interests of science and detailed comparison I did my initial run, the first for about 10 years, in my normal trainers and attire. Test result 'A' ended with blisters, sweat soaked t-shirt and the need for medical attention.

Despite slightly dreading embarking on 'Test B', the second outing, in my fancy new gear my feet were instant relieved to have their pounding on the pavement cushioned by the Zoom Air heel and forefoot system of Nike+ Air Zoom Moire. Later investigation informed me that the comfy ride was due to improvements on the acclaimed Nike 5.0 range - including a grooved outsole that allows the foot to flex naturally and a flared heel that enabled me to plant my foot firmly. Can't say I disagree.

After 20 minutes jogging I realised I was actually enjoying myself and I hadn't even test driven the iPod Sport Kit that puts the plus in Nike+ and their 'Tune Your Run' campaign. Basically, the revolutionary system requires a tiny sensor in the shoe and a receiver that connects to an iPod Nano that records time, distance, pace and calories burned as you listen to your tunes. Afterwards, all that can be uploaded to a PC and customized into a workout to fit your progress via www.nikeplus.com.

That's all a bit too much for my good self, but I love the fact that if you're flagging during a jog you can press the panic button and a pre-determined PowerSong of your own choice gives you a motivational boost. That's the kind of innovation the world needs.

As for the Nike Pro Vent Tight top, it's hard to describe the sensation of working out in it, and it should be described as a sensation. It's bit like being smothered in some kind of menthol lotion that gives that cold burning sensation. This is apparently due to the Dri-FIT material and its 'wick' sensation that draws the sweat away from the body - so whilst you feel you should be hot, the cold winter air circulates like a cooling system.

World Player of the Year Fabio Cannavaro says 'Nike Pro makes me feel more confident' and rugby legend Lawrence Dallaglio says it 'gives you an advantage', while I would say that 'it flew me to moon' for a lucrative Nike Sponsorship. That's obviously not true but it will definitely be making its debut on the five-a-side pitch and the running tracks of London with me this year.

But as only an amatuer runner, and with everything coming up smelling of roses, I became concerned that I might be suffering from 'boy with a new toy' syndrome and simply have been dazzled by technology.

So to continue the objective analysis I handed the equipment over to a friend who runs marathons. The items returned, eventually (as I had to prise them from her jealous grasp) with a big thumbs up.

Verified by marathon runners and reforming couch potatoes - what more do you ask?

  • If you have any thoughts you can email Dominic Raynor.