The Goods: Trying Out…The adidas miCoach Pacer

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Vibe / January 28, 2010

Every Thursday, VIBE.com is going to start taking one of the items we’d normally feature in The Goods out for a spin. Sometimes it’ll literally be a spin (as in, a car) while other times it’ll be a new pair of headphones, the latest cocktail, a video game we’ve been dying to get our hands on or some other new gadget that we’d rather test out than just tell you about. After we do that, we’ll also tell you whether it makes the cut or not and tell you where to get the item, too. Let’s get it started…

The Tryout: This week, I tried out the adidas miCoach Pacer, the latest piece of technology designed to help you maximize your workouts. I started with this gadget, because it’s something that hits close to home. I don’t do New Year’s resolutions (so, if you’re expecting me to talk about how this has made me want to work out more since Jan. 1, look elsewhere…). But last April, I started running. And running. And running some more. All told, I’ve logged about 500 miles since then, lost 30 pounds and gotten back into shape after spending college (and post-college) working too much, eating cheeseburgers and tossing back 30-packs. I’ve done it by keeping a freakishly strict routine. I run the same three to four days of the week, I take off as few days as possible, and I run in rain, sleet, snow, hail and blistering heat. In other words, I run and run and run and run and run…and I try to do it the same way every time I do it to stay consistent. Taking just one day off can literally throw me off course.

That said, I tried the adidas miCoach Pacer earlier this week—and, if you have any desire to lose weight, get in shape or work out regularly (now, or in two months when you realize that summer is just around the corner), the miCoach is a good place to start. At first, it seems a little extra. There’s a pacer, a heart rate monitor and a stride sensor you’ve gotta put on before you run. You also need to set up a work out account on the miCoach site before you start. But it takes about 15 minutes to figure out how to do that and less than that to actually set up the sensors on your body before you run. None are intrusive and they won’t take away from your workout, either.

From there, you run like you normally would. If you don’t run already, you can also customize a workout on the miCoach site to get started. You can run for distance, train for a race or just get your body back into shape to start running more sometime in the future. Though I’m not a huge fan of the actual coaching feature (part of running is, after all, pushing yourself through a run), you can also plug a provided headphone into the pacer to get verbal commands throughout a run that tell you when you need to speed up, slow down or push yourself a little harder. It even comes with an adapter that allows you to connect your pacer to your iPod so you can listen to music and get coached during your run.

Once you complete a run, you plug the Pacer into your computer through the USB port and immediately find out how long you ran, how many calories you burned, your pace and your heart rate. As someone who’s been running consistently for about 10 months now, I found out that I’m actually running a slightly shorter distance than I originally thought but also burning more calories. After a couple runs, I also noticed some areas I can work on to improve my run. I’m thinking about using the provided workouts (and maybe even the coaching system) to try and get more out of my runs as we get closer to the springtime.

The Verdict: If you hate running, the adidas miCoach Pacer probably won’t motivate you to run more. But if you’re someone who’s already using a running routine to stay in shape, it will revolutionize the way you hit the pavement. Run out and get one now. ($140; available now)—Chris Yuscavage

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