Tech on Me: Living with the Adidas miCoach Smart Run

Fitness blogger and personal trainer meets her electronic counterpart. Stuff cover girl Fay Hokulani tries the Adidas miCoach Smart Run

With the Adidas miCoach Smart Run, you can leave your phone at home, because this all-in-one standalone fitness tracker is everything you’ll need to get in training mode. It might not let you access your phone like other smartwatches, but it’s great if you don’t want the distractions that brings.

First impressions

The comfortably-fitting watch comes stuffed with several features such as a built-in heart rate monitor, GPS tracking, voice coaching, 3GB memory for music, Bluetooth 4.0 so you can wirelessly connect your headphones, and Wi-Fi to automatically capture your workout performance for analysis later.

I have pretty small wrists, but I could still adjust the silicone strap to fit snugly. At first I thought the watch was a little heavy, and it definitely is a bit heavier than your average digital watch, but I soon got used to it and liked how durable it felt with its stainless steel frame.

Setting up

Getting started doesn’t take much effort; I connected the watch to my Wi-Fi network at home and created a miCoach account on my computer. It was a bit of a hassle to key in my email address on the watch, as I had to swipe left and right going through one letter at a time, but the rest of the touchscreen controls were intuitive which made it easy. Good thing you’ll only have to complete this process once. 

The watch can be charged by plugging it into a small docking station that clips around the back. When plugged in to my computer, I could simply drag and drop music files into the USB folder to set up my workout playlist.

Setting up the watch and downloading music into the device didn’t take too long. However, to use the voice coaching, you’ll need to connect a Bluetooth headset to the Smart Run. This is a great feature, since I hate having a tangled mess of wires in the way. If you’re using this in a small gym, you can even connect it to a Bluetooth speaker. I did this with the Boombot Rex and the music was loud and clear.

More after the break...

Using it

I started with the Smart Run’s fitness assessment to personalise my training zones. This helps miCoach to analyse your data and gives you colour-coded heart rate zones to show your perceived effort. The virtual coach even reminds you to speed up or slow down during training to reach your ideal heart rate.

The 12-minute assessment workout was coached by audio instructions, which feels as if you have your own personal trainer guiding you through. It’s quite a unique feature, especially with voice personalities Derrick Rose from the NBA and Reggie Bush from the NFL giving you motivation and feedback at key times during training, which is a nice touch. 

You can also create your own workouts, or customize any training plans by miCoach to suit yourself better. The training plans can be quite specific to sports such as soccer, hockey and basketball, while the fitness plans are more specifically gender-based, and include options to target different goals such as cardio, strength and flexibility.

There’s even a graphic animation display to show the movement of apparently over 400 exercises, which made it really easy to follow, and I thought it was one of the more impressive and useful features of this little device. This way you can check your form without having to dig through an exercise app.

Living with it

Not everything was perfect despite the miCoach really growing on me after a few workouts. The GPS takes awhile to acquire, but if you’re working out in the gym, you don’t necessarily need that function so it’s better to turn it off.

Tech on Me: Living with the adidas miCoach Smart Run

This is not a smartphone; the processor could use a boost as some animations can occasionally take some time to load. The good news is there are software updates to improve performance, which should fix some of the current minor issues. The battery life isn’t anything special; I had to charge it everyday or after each use. 

The Adidas miCoach does the job of multiple devices in one relatively small convenient package, and the heart rate monitor and performance tracking were accurate. I like that I don’t need to bring my phone and fiddle around with an app while working out. It’s so much easier and lighter to wear a watch, and after wearing it a while it became second nature to use.

Using this fitness tracker while working out gave me two big benefits that I could take advantage of regularly. The personally-tailored workout history on the miCoach website gives me so much insight into how hard I’m pushing myself at different times and how I’m progressing, and my runs are also made more interesting while training solo. Time goes by quickly because you’re focusing on the coaching feedback and pushing towards your goals, so much so that your workout is over before you know it.

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