You already know that an iPod can be a great workout partner. And if you're a runner, you may have even discovered the Nike + iPod Sports Kit, a tiny chip that plugs in to your Nano and (along with a tracking device worn in your shoe) records your distance, time, and calories burned, allowing you to upload and analyze them online. (It was one of Health magazine's Best Fitness Buys of 2007.) Now you can use this great pair of gadgets for even more: On August 31, registered users can join the world's largest one-day running event and help raise money for charity—just by logging on, stepping outside, and hitting the pavement.
The 10K Nike + Human Race, which hopes to bring one million runners together, will take place primarily in 25 cities worldwide, including New York, Chicago, and Austin. Registration to take part in any of the official races will run you about $35, of which $5 is donated to one of three charities: the Lance Armstrong Foundation, the World Wildlife Fund, or NineMillion.org, a U.N. Refuge Agency campaign.
But here's the cool part: If you're not near these cities—or just don't feel like running with 10,000 others—you can register online and run anywhere you want, logging your 10K with either the iPod kit ($29) or the new Nike + Sportsband, a digital wristband that displays your stats and plugs in to your computer after your workouts ($59).
For those not running in an official race city, registration is free—and with it you get an online training program, plus a place to track your practice runs and make connections with other runners around the world. True, you do have to shell out some cash for a Nike product in order to participate, but at least it's something you can use, long-term, to improve your running goals.
I've used the Nike + system in the past, and though I never took advantage of the online training programs or the global community, I did enjoy having a built-in distance and calorie tracker right on my iPod—not to mention that voice coming through my headphones, counting down the minutes and the miles as I ran.
If that little voice isn't enough to motivate you, however, maybe the prospect of running for a worthy cause will. Starting today, anyone who signs up for the race can pledge their training miles and raise money for one of the three charities involved.
I'll be running in New York on August 31 for the World Wildlife Fund—and testing out the Nike Sportsband while I train. And starting this week, I'll be logging my miles online; maybe I'll see you there.