For the last few weeks, I’ve been testing a Nike+ SportsBand and I have really been enjoying it. The SportBand gives you feedback on pace, distance, time and calories burnt, hence helping you monitor your progress and train better.

I found this very easy to set up. All you have to do is download a piece of software from the Nike+ site, plug the SportsBand in and you’re good to go. A very cool feature in Nike watches is that there is no need for a separate USB key like my Garmin has (and the USB key is always missing). The watch face part comes off and includes a USB key!

The band comes with a little sensor which you can put in your Nike+ shoe – I used the Lunaglide 2’s with this, a nice and light shoe that comes in lots of funky colours. Or you can buy a little pouch for it and use it with any runners. The sensor is very small, which I really like. I used to have a footpod the size of a golf ball (well, almost) which was rather inconvenient and ugly.

The problem with any running watch that uses a footpod sensor is that it needs to be calibrated. However, mine was pretty accurate from the first step so I only needed to adjust it slightly. I did this on a treadmill at my gym but if you don’t have access to a treadmill, an easy way to do this is using an iphone app such a MapMyRun. Or you could check it at the next measured fun run. With any watch that relies on a footpod, it’s good to check and re-calibrate it every now and then.

One thing I really love about this watch is that there’s only two buttons, which makes it very easy to operate and I found viewing my data while running very easy – I didn’t push the wrong button once, which is quite unusual of me.

Downloading the data to your computer and to the Nike+ site is very simple. The site is straight forward and  analysing your data is easy. There’s all sorts of cool features on the website too, such as different training programme’s you can sign up for (eg. your first 5k, 10k or marathon), you can connect with friends and you can easily add more info about your run, such as rate how you felt, what the weather was like and what surface you ran on.

You can also hook the Sportsband up with your iPod or iPhone and there’s a Nike+ GPS app which I have just downloaded and am looking forward to trying.

The only minor thing I’d like to see improve, is I’d like it if there was a proper back light so it would be easier to see in the dark. Other than that, I’m really enjoying this watch and I think I’ll continue using this a lot over my expensive running watch for few simple reasons: this one is easier to use, looks nicer, the footpod is nice and light and I won’t have to spend ages looking for the USB key. Above all, this watch is really great value for money compared to most good quality running watches on the market.

My favourite online running shop ProDirectRunning.com has this on sale for £34.99 (that’s €39.50). Luna Glide 2 runners are £69.99 (€79) on ProDirect. This is a nice and light shoe that’s meant to adapt specifically to women’s stride. I like these on short runs and would recommend these to anyone who’s got a neutral stride.