training runningLast year, I was obsessed with the original Nike+, but somewhere along the line it started boring me and ended up out of my shoe and into a drawer. Now, Nike+ has introduced a newer version of the device and I’m not sure what to do about it.

Personal fitness monitors are great at collecting data, but most users have no idea how to analyze the information. How can you translate speed, distance and calories into metrics that will help guide you to improve over time? The answer, according to Nike, is the Nike+ Training system. It is the only monitor that records data, processes it, and delivers real-time coaching. Sounds pretty awesome, right? I wonder if they come in a black/pink combo…

How they work:

The sneakers contain Bluetooth-enabled sensors and an iPhone app with preprogrammed workouts. During a training session, the app issues motivating cues (“Move faster!” “Jump higher!”) to the user. After the session, the app breaks down the user’s stats to help him/her spot weak points.

Pressure Sensors: A printed circuit with four pressure sensors sits on the midsole and underneath the removable sock liner. The sensors correspond to the user’s big toe, ball, outstep and heel – gathering data on every step.

Sports Sensor: The Sports Sensor adds distance and speed data from its onboard accelerometer to data from the pressure sensors and sends it over Bluetooth 4.0 to the Nike+ app. Users can remove the Sensor to charge the system via USB.

Nike+ App: To analyze workout results, the app uses algorithms that recognize movements. For instance, it could combine readings from the toe and accelerometer to calculate the height of a jump. At the end of a workout, the user can look over stats drill by drill and compare them with past results. If he took few steps in a shuffle drill, for example, he might focus on exercises to boost speed next time.

I think I prefer minimalist shoes to hi-tech ones, but I can still appreciate this invention.