As much as I praise the Nike + system, my praise only ever extends to the hardware. The tech for the iPods and the sportsband is great stuff, and I’m sure the expensive GPS watch is equally as exciting. It’s been a real motivator.

What isn’t so good is the online depository for all of your valuable data – the website. I had an email from the Vice President of Nike + last month, apologising for just how rubbish it has been recently, and promised it would be “bigger, better, faster, stronger” etc etc. After which, the website became even more unavailable, and hasn’t really improved.

The website itself is pretty good. It has all the functionality I want as a beginner. It isn’t too data-intensive, and just shows you the graphics and the charts to keep you in the frame on where you are, and lets you set up goals to keep yourself motivated. The trouble with it is the accessibility. Every page takes an age to load. Logging in is hit and miss. It’s just unpleasant.

I was further annoyed today when I decided to use the (albeit very nice) mapping section of the website. I decided to plot out the walk I did in Malham last week, just to see what it equated to. It turns out it was just over 6km, which wasn’t bad, considering the undulations, and that nightmarish climb up the limestone steps.

What annoyed me was, at the bottom of the map page, just sitting there like it found itself completely logically placed, was a page full of the most in-depth stats that the entire Nike + website has to offer:

The rest of the website shows you a basic bar chart of your distances, with no mention of further data being available. Why the hell hide this some place that you may never even look?

For example, I now know that my pace has improved 18% since I started and I clearly prefer and perform better in the evening. This sort of information, to a data hungry freak like myself, is really important.

I like Nike at lot. Perhaps a bit too much. If it weren’t for my shoes, I’d look like an advert for Nike most of the time. And that’s why this sort of thing really annoys me.

Sigh. Get things fixed fast, Nike.


First 10K

So today was the day I finally racked up a full 10km distance run. 63 minutes. Nowhere near my goal of course, but at least – at last – I have my first benchmark to work against.

So I need to knock 18 minutes off my time. Er…okay.

Today’s run came courtesy of Woman’s Week 7 Day 1 interval training. This week, she had me running for 4 minutes and walking for 2, and knowing fully well how much I’ve struggled over the past few weeks due to my pace, I decided to tone it down.

As I’ve mentioned, I’ve been running on the roads and on the treadmill anywhere between 11-12kph, which isn’t far behind my ultimate race pace of around 13-14kph. However of course, I’m nowhere near race condition, and I really shouldn’t be trying to push myself to those speeds until I get the stamina worked out. I can run at 12kph, but just not for long enough. 15 minutes constant running is nowhere near 45. So, swallowing my pride again today, I realised that I needed to refocus my short term goals on actually running for a longer period of time.

I ended up arbitrarily deciding to run at 9.5kph on the treadmill, and then toned down my usual 6kph walking pace to 5.7, which felt more natural and allowed me to catch my breath, as Woman wanted.

I have to say, it worked really well. Normally, after about 30 minutes, I’m mentally ruined (as my recent post mentioned). Today, even running the extended 4 minute bursts, with less time to recuperate in between, I was still feeling fresh around 45 minutes.

It was then that I realised that I was heading for around a 9km finishing distance, based on the 60 minute programme. I was feeling a little bit sick of constantly missing the mark and not racking up that elusive 10km, so I decided to run for as long as took to get me to 10.

And then my brain ran a quick body check again, and agreed that I could actually run a bit faster at the end*. And so, with 1.6km left, I dialled the treadmill up to 11kph and got the job done. 63 minutes. Very happy Gaz.

I think I’m happier still as today I got off the treadmill knowing that I can get better, and go faster and for longer. Last week, running so fast and burning myself out quick was really demoralising. But, now I feel like there’s more to come, and not that dreaded “wall” everyone seems to refer to.

*This was, in no small part, due to the fact that my iPod running playlist decided to fire some tracks from the Rocky soundtrack at me. You really have no idea how great those scores sound until you feel like you’re hitting the mental wall like Rocky always does. For reference, my favourite track is ‘Going the Distance”, which I think is from Rocky II’s soundtrack, but is no doubt on most of them, like “Gonna Fly Now” is.