I been using a Adidas miCoach Pacer bundle since I first got into running in September 2010 as part of an attempt to broaden out my exercise profile. I have since clocked up 49 hours and 366 kilometres using my Adidas miCoach Pacer, well two in fact. Now I am not a runner by any means; I am more a cyclist that dabbles in running and so for me the Pacer has been used to how motivate my interest in running and because I like technology as part of my exercising.
I purchased my Adidas miCoach Pacer from Wiggle in the United Kingdom, in fact I have purchased two as my partner is now using one. The last one cost approximately AU$153. I have had one fail however, but an email to Wiggle soon had that issue resolved and it was quickly replaced. Despite this failed unit, I am very happy with the Pacer and will continue using it. Okay it does not have the visual functionality of the iPhone or Android miCoach app but its simplicity is a bonus in my view. All up a pretty good tool for a “runner” such as myself.
Adidas miCoach Pacer Bundle Specifications
Adidas provide detailed specifications for the Adidas miCoach Pacer on their website. Briefly the key aspects for the non-technical are:
- The Pacer size is 56 mm x 41 mm x 16.75mm. This refers to the Pacer itself, not the stride sensor;
- The reported weight of the Pacer is 23 grams;
- The audio interface is 1/8″ stereo headphone jack;
- It is powered by a rechargeable 125 mAh lithium polymer battery which is not user serviceable from what I can see;
- The battery has a stated life of 10 hours and this matches the workout time for the Pacer of 10 hours;
- The battery takes approximately three hours to charge via a USB connection from dead flat;
- The Heart Rate Monitor and Stride Sensor utilise the ANT+ protocol;
- The sensor has a transmission range of up to 2.5 metres.
What Comes in the Adidas miCoach Pacer Bundle Box?
The Adidas miCoach Pacer Bundle comes with the components shown in the photo above. These are:
- The Adidas miCoach Pacer unit itself;
- The Adidas miCoach Heart Rate Monitor and textile strap;
- The Adidas miCoach Stride Sensor and lace clip;
- Cables to connect the Pacer to the computer for synchronisation (USB cable) and to connect a mp3 player such as an Apple iPod (mp3 connector cable);
- Ear piece which I haven’t bothered to use;
- Coin battery for the Stride Sensor.
Performance of the Adidas miCoach Pacer Bundle
With my setup, I have a pair of Adidas running shoes that are designed to take the Adidas miCoach Pacer and I have a pair of running shoes of another brand which is not designed to take a sensor such as the Stride Sensor. So with the Adidas Supernova Sequence 3 running shoes the Stride Sensor fits into the sole of the shoe; built in so to speak. With the other pair of shoes I use the lace mount to fit the Stride Sensor to my shoes. Both methods work well but I do prefer to the fitting of the Stride Sensor into the shoe simply because it is a nice neat setup.
The heart rate monitor strap goes around my chest of course if I choose to use it. I actually don’t bother using the heart rate monitor with the Adidas miCoach Pacer as when I do the feedback provided at the Adidas miCoach website is displayed based on my heart rate data whereas my preference is for the feedback graphs to display zone data (pace data). As I haven’t worked out anyway to switch the display on the website I simply don’t use the heart rate monitor with the miCoach Pacer and hence I am able to get my data displayed in zone format. Whilst I have a preference for the pace data Adidas miCoach in a posting on their blog do suggest that the heart rate method is the better choice. Maybe I should change my approach.
That all said I do use the Adidas miCoach Pacer heart rate strap with my Garmin Edge 800 cycle computer heart rate monitor as the strap is far more reliable than the Garmin offerings! So a win for me there anyway. Interesting however is that Adidas state that the Adidas miCoach Pacer utilises the ANT+ protocol which is owned by Garmin yet I am not able to pair the Pacer heart rate monitor with my Garmin Edge 800. By all reports as it is ANT+ this should happen. Anyway the strap will take the Garmin heart rate monitor so it is not a big issue for me.
I pair my Adidas miCoach Pacer with my Apple iPod Shuffle and simply click both units on to my shorts when I go running. I find this works well with the Pacer unit overriding the Shuffle when coaching feedback is given.
Using the Adidas miCoach Pacer Bundle
If you use all parts of the Adidas miCoach Pacer Bundle it will measure your stride (providing distance and speed data), elapsed time, heart rate and calories burned (treat with contempt). The best way to get the data is to sync the Pacer to theÂ Adidas miCoach website where you create your own account, track your running history, get detailed analysis of your workouts, setup up training programs and even track the mileage of your shoes. The Fitness & Nutrition Community Blog takes a look at the miCoach website. Worth a look if you want more on the website side of things.
The Adidas miCoach Pacer does not wireless sync to your Mac or PC so one needs to use the USB connector cable and to install the Adidas miCoach application on the computer. The application can be installed on a Mac or a PC (I use a Mac) and it handles updating the software on the Pacer and syncing the data between the computer and the Pacer. Settings can be changed on the computer and then synced to the Pacer.
My approach is set up my Adidas miCoach Pacer based on one of the training programs at Adidas miCoach. For example I started out with their learn to run program and I am now working my way through their Run a Race – 5k Race training program. The program consists of series of workouts which require me to do a combination of walking and running at a specified pace, referred to as zones (blue zone, green zone, yellow zone, red zone). I quickly learnt approximately what pace fits with each zone and the Pacer provides audio feedback if I go to slow or to fast at any point in the workout. The Pacer also gives feedback based on my settings as to how far I have run, point in the workout (1/4, 1/2 way, 3/4 done) plus other information depending on my settings. Alternatively I can do a free run and the Pacer will capture my stride, heart rate, speed and distance data for review later on.
With the syncing of the Adidas miCoach Pacer after each run or couple of runs it automatically goes to the next work out in the program, or I can manually select a workout. The Pacer will retain up to 15 workouts in sequence so less frequent synchronisation is possible.
On a run, I tend to leave theÂ Adidas miCoach Pacer alone other than to maybe click on the centre button to get some data feedback. As to changing settings etc that is all done post run on the computer. Basically all that can be easily done on the Pacer is selecting the volume and workout choice at the start of the run.
Initial Setup of the Adidas miCoach Pacer
Out of the box the Adidas miCoach Pacer comes partially charged so the first thing to do is to charge it up. Charging is via USB and took approximately two hours to get the Pacer fully charged using a Macbook Pro. There are indicator lights on the Pacer to indicate when the unit is fully charged.
The next step that is required is calibration of the Adidas miCoach Pacer. I made the mistake of just heading out the door for a run with the pacer and quickly found out that calibration is a must. My first run with the unit was about three kilometres and the Pacer recorded it as 900 metres. Not quite the same!
Calibration involved using my phone’s GPSr to measure 500 metres of walking, whilst walking with the Adidas miCoach Pacer. Once I got back home, I uploaded the walk and did the calibration in Adidas miCoach on the web. All this entailed was editing the distance in miCoach and then syncing the Pacer again. Once that was done the Pacer has worked fine.
Durability of the Adidas miCoach Pacer
Physically the units have worked fine when out running. Most of my running has been in the dry but I have been caught out at times and the Adidas miCoach Pacer has coped with the rain. That said as I understand it the Pacer is not waterproof so care needs to be taken if running in the rain. If that is on the agenda for me I would put the Pacer and my shuffle in a zip-lock bag and then carry the Pacer in my shorts pocket.
As I said physically I have had no problems with the Adidas miCoach Pacer but I have had one lock up on me. This occurred after doing a firmware upgrade and I believe this was the problem. As it was within the warranty period I contacted Wiggle the retailer I purchased the Pacer from and arranged a replacement. All I had to do was return the unit to Wiggle in the UK. Wiggle paid for the return postage and they sent me out a replacement unit at no cost. Of course it would be nice if this didn’t happen but at least the return process was smooth with minimal hassle.
The Good, The Bad, The Ugly of the
- Light and small so easy to clip on to my shorts or put in my shorts pockets. I don’t find it too heavy and hence it is not annoying to run with it;
- Simple connection to the iPod Shuffle and it works well with the Shuffle;
- I have found it more accurate than using the iPhone and Android miCoach apps as there is no reliance on the phone locating on to satellites;
- The lack of reliance on satellites makes suitable for use in doors on a treadmill.
- No visual indication of pace (zones) as you get with the iPhone or Android miCoach apps;
- Not specifically a Adidas miCoach Pacer fault but if I use the Heart Rate Monitor I can only get the data shown in the graphs at Adidas miCoach based on heart rate, not speed zones;
- I have a pair of Adidas Sennheiser PMX 680i Sports headphones which have features which allow for remote control of my Apple iPod Shuffle. As the Shuffle is connected to the Adidas miCoach Pacer and then the headphones are connected to the Pacer I loose the headphones functionality;
- Having the Adidas miCoach Pacer lock-up post the firmware upgrade.
Resources and Other Websites Related to the Adidas miCoach Pacer Bundle
- Men‘s Health Singapore Review have a good video reviewing the Adidas miCoach Pacer;
- Heart Rate versus Pace: How to Choose;
- The Fitness & Nutrition Community Blog takes at a look at the miCoach website.