Running is a solitary enough sport without the help of a robotic coach
Adidas have released a really cool new product called the Adidas miCoach, which is effectively your own personal running coach, adapted through a sensor on your shoe and a heart rate monitor. It is the first device of its kind that interacts with your heart rate, telling where to go, when to slow down and when to speed up. The ear piece gives you real time audible coaching as you run including pace, distance run, distance to go, time, heart rate and calories burned.
The miCoach system consists of the three main components which are slickly designed and easy to use - the pacer, heart-rate monitor and stride sensor. Simply attach the pacer to a computer with the USB cable and a single click syncs your data with micoach.com where you access thousands of personalised workouts. The pacer can be used on its own, or you can attach it to literally any MP3 player on the market where as rivals like the Nike+ only work with certain MP3 players and specific running shoes. In either case a voice will tell you when you need to speed up or slow down and best of all, you really feel in control of your session, with constant feedback on your heart-rate and easy syncing which tracks your data, even over multiple sessions.
There is however a multitude of straps and cables, which can make the miCoach feel a little overwhelming at first - though it’s actually more user friendly than it seems. For example, the Pacer battery life is pretty decent, but the unit can be plugged into a USB port for recharging, or plugged into the wall with all cables are supplied. One thing we feel could have been done is perhaps combine the heart rate monitor and the Pacer unit into one piece, but some people might prefer the separation for individual placement.
Running is a solitary enough sport without the help of a robotic coach, but we feel Adidas may have missed out on having the functionality to combine your data with friend’s data. Given the popularity of social networks today, it's surprising that some form of it never made it into the software at all. The high price may be an issue to some people and others might not like being told to run by the dulcet tones of some computerised voice, but in our opinion the Adidas miCoach is simple to use and, more importantly, effective - giving reluctant runners real and achievable. While the Adidas miCoach Pacer is the most full-featured and enjoyable personal training device on the market it might be overkill for someone who is just starting to get their running legs.
Available from Lifestyle Sports stores nationwide for €170.