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F is for Fitness: Nike+ SportBand

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Yup, it's Friday, "F is for..." day (or at least it was when I posted this -- my bad for being so late). And today F is for fitness, and for freaks. Freaks would be the folks who can go for a run without tunes. They puzzle me.

The new Nike+ SportBand is for freaks -- I mean, for runners who run because they love running. Runners who enjoy marathons (no music allowed for those) and... just running.

Not that the SportBand isn't totally cool. The SportBand ($80 at Nike stores) comes with a sensor that pops into your Nike runner beneath the insole and talks to the receiver on the band. It displays pace, distance and calories burned on the band screen as you run. Here's the nifty part: The screen is a USB (photo kinda stole my thunder, huh?). Remove it from the band, plug it into your computer and upload your info to Because you're a running freak, you'll be all excited to set goals, check out training programs and get chummy and challengey with other runners around the globe. As for me, I'd wear it as a watch (it works that way, too).

If your runs have a soundtrack, you want the Nike+ iPod hook-up ($39; iPod Nano sold separately). I thanked the universe over and over when I received one. It got me started and kept me motivated. In fact, when I slacked off on my weight training, I still went for regular runs because I loved my Nike+ ipod. I need music to get me through just a ralk (that's one part run, three parts walk). Dragonette,Metric and, yes, Kanye sound so much better than my own voice screeching "AAAAARRRRGGH!" in my head for 19 to 26 minutes.

The Nike+ iPod kit consists of a shoe sensor and a receiver attachment for the Nano. As I tune out for my little 3K or 4K, the sensor tracks my info and an encouraging voiceover pipes into my earphones at regular intervals to tell me how far I've gone and how much further I have to go in my selected program. Click here for more features for more serious runners.

Damn. Now that I've gushed about the darn thing, guess I'd better take it out for a spin. Winter smushed my running enthusiasm. New tunes and my Nike+ should get me back on track. I'll keep you posted.

On the other hand, Harley Pasternak's not so supportive of running as an exercise. Says it's hard on the joints and, for us girls, on the boobs. Hmmm.