Do you need extra motivation to do up the laces on your trainers and head out to pound the pavement? This tie-up between Samsung and Adidas may provide just the kick start you need.
The miCoach F100 is a phone like no other. Inside it lurks your very own personal trainer -- or the voice of one, at least -- ready to dish out advice on when to pick up your pace or back off before you give yourself a heart attack. The handset is available for free on most contracts, but is it good enough to take on the role of Mr Motivator?
There have been plenty of previous attempts at creating an electronic coaching assistant. Perhaps the most high profile is the Nike+ partnership between Apple and Nike. Whereas that system simply uses a pedometer to track your pace, Samsung has gone much further with the F110.
In the box you get the phone, pedometer -- or Stride Sensor in Samsung speak, heart rate monitor and a USB lead for hooking the handset up to your PC or laptop. To set up your training regime you register on the miCoach Web site and select a training goal, ranging from the Learning to Run option for beginners to the Improve Performance for marathon-level runners. Cleverly, the Web site then creates a full programme of workouts that you synchronise over USB with your phone and that are designed to gradually improve your fitness over time.
When you're ready to start training, you simply hook the pedometer onto your trainer's laces and strap the heart rate monitor around your ribcage. The pedometer and heart rate monitor connect to the phone via Bluetooth so there aren't any awkward wires to set up. Hit the dedicated miCoach button on the handset and the phone starts up your first workout.
As you run, the handset monitors both your pace via the pedometer and your heart rate via the chest sensor. It gives you voice instructions through the supplied headphones on your running pace during different stages of the workout. For example, you usually start off slowly before being told to pick up your pace to move into a different power zone. You might then be told to slow down again for a few minutes before being asked to move up to a slightly faster clip for a set period of time.
While you're running you can tap the phone twice to hear an instant voice update on the workout. The phone's display also shows real-time data such as time, heart rate, distance, speed and calories burned. When you've finished your workout, you sync it with the miCoach Web site to view the stats for your run.