We took the SportWatch through the ultimate road test, along 26.2 miles of the Paris Marathon – see the full route here – and the ShoePod really came into its own in the runs through the underpasses along the Seine.
Whenever the satellite signal dropped out, the SportWatch kept on tracking the mileage via the shoe pod, unlike the Garmin Forerunner 410, which had nothing to fall back on. The SportWatch said we ran 26.52 miles, whereas the Forerunner 410 said we ran 26.41. While it is normal for marathoners to run further than the statutory distance because of taking wide bends along the route, the extra distance on the SportWatch could be down to greater accuracy afforded by the ShoePod.
Over the course of a marathon, a runner can expect to burn anything between 2,500 to 3,500 calories, so we were disappointed that the SportWatch said we burned up 990 calories along the 4:29:37 run, whereas the Garmin said we lost 3,046 calories. This was because we had not put our weight in the Profile section of the SportWatch PC interface – ideally, like setting the time, we would have liked to be able to input user profile on the watch itself instead of via a PC with the Nike software installed on it.
Unlike other sport watches like the Garmin Forerunner 410, you aren’t able to store routes or train against a virtual partner or view your per mile splits on the watch itself, but the best thing about the SportWatch is its simplicity.
If you want to turn on the backlight, you simply tap the face of the watch. This does away with the awkward multitouch bezel seen on the Garmin Forerunner 410 and eliminates the need for an extra button that serves as nothing more than light switch.
To scroll through the control menu you don’t have to select a button that says “Menu”, you simply use the top or bottom button and the menu just appears.
To record a run, you don’t have to go to a training menu, you just scroll to Run and the watch quickly finds a satellite signal, a ShoePod, or both and once these are locked on and you start running, you can view your distance, pace, time lapsed, current time or calories burnt.
No wires or dongles are needed to sync up to the nikeplus.com running service or charge the watch as the USB connector is neatly encased in the strap itself. This saves having to carry leads around when you’re on the move and you want to add your workout to the database of more than 150 million runs logged since 2006.