If you take your running seriously (or not so seriously) a new integrated sneaker + iPod sports kit from Nike and Apple will certainly provide some motivation.

“Currently, 75 percent of runners run with music. This kit will take the experience one step further,” said Nike’s Stefan Olander.

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The Nike+iPod sports kit is the first of many innovations from the partnership. It is basically a wireless system that allows Nike+ sneakers to talk with your iPod nano to give you information on time, distance, calories burned and pace on your nano display screen. And if you’ve got your nano strapped on to your arm, and thus can’t see the display, if you hit the centre button of the nano, a voice will tell you exactly you many kilometers you’ve traveled and what your average pace is.

The kit consists of an in-shoe sensor, which fits in under the sole of the Nike+ shoe and a wireless receiver which you plug into the iPod, to sync your shoes and player. Once you’ve connected the receiver into the iPod, a Nike+iPod option appears in the menu of the display screen. If you click on it, you can select a workout – there are several preset options (e.g. 10km, marathon etc) or you can manually select the distance. After this, you can select your desired playlists for your run. You also choose a ‘power song’ which is one to get you motivated in the last leg of the journey – you select this on your run by hitting the centre button on the iPod.

According to Olander, out-of-the-box, the in-shoe sensor algorithm has 92 percent accuracy. It calculates distances according to the amount of time your foot hits the ground. However, you do have the option of calibrating it – if you don’t have normal strides and pace – this increases the accuracy to 97 percent, says Olander.

Once you’re home from your run, you dock the iPod and set up a (free) account at nikeplus.com. Your stats will automatically upload to the

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website, where you can see your progress. You can set personal goals, such as ‘run 300km in one month’ – the website will track your progress as you upload your stats after each run. You can also compare your running times with other Nike+iPod runner worldwide, and invite friends to compete in challenges or ‘races’.

The product was launched today by Australian track and field champion Craig Mottram. “I think that anything that inspires the everyday runner to get out there and go the extra distance or burn a few more calories will be incorporated as an important part of their workout,” he said.

The kit is compliment by a Nike Sport Music section on the iTunes Music Store (where you can buy specific workout-targeted music setup by professional runners, such as Mottram) and of course, a range of Nike+iPod clothing.

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