Archive for the ‘mp3 players’ Category

Headphones For Runners:

CommiserationsSo the London Marathon ballot places are out and, yes, you guessed it, no such luck for yours truly. I don’t think my friends would be my friends if I asked them for any more sponsorship. So it looks as though I won’t be running in 2011 (insert sad face emoticon here).

But for those of you who got your places, those months of training will soon be kicking off (if they haven’t already) and I don’t think I’d have survived my four months on the road if I hadn’t had my trusty headphones and an mp3 player. So for the last few months I’ve been scouring my PR phone book to try and find a decent set that are well-priced, comfortable, suitable for runners and (most importantly) sound good.

I’ve checked out eight sets of headphones in total. Eight because there’s only so much a lone-blogger can do. Eight because it looks nice in the grid below. But mainly, eight because that’s all I could get my hands on.

Enjoy reading, and if any of you can recommend any decent sets then please leave a comment. Click on the links below to get going.

Peace out.

SJAL

Headphone reviews - Sir Jog A Lot

Etymotic hf5 review (£65) V-MODA Remix Remote review (£89.95) Bose In-Ear review (£79) Diddy Beats review (£119.99) Audeo PFE 022 + Mic review (£99) Nokia BH-214 (£39.99) i303 iLuv review (£24.82) Sony MDR-AS50G review (£34.99)
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REVIEW: My Fitness Instructor

BMF My Fitness InstructorLast year the kind people at BMF (British Military Fitness) got in touch and offered me a free session with one of their military instructors. My conclusion was that it was a fantastic workout, a great atmosphere and very fairly priced. But if the weather was half as bad as it has been lately, I might as well have thrown that money away. My 3-year tenure in the South has turned me into a soft-as-sh*te, cold hater.

A chap called Jon, who also runs a blog called My Big Fat Geek Running, emailed me just before the launch of the BMF iPhone app, My Fitness Instructor. His blog is a cross between losing weight and promoting the iPhone app, which launched on Friday 26th March. Jon kindly offered me a chance to review it.

My Fitness Instructor is a premium application that allows you to fit your own little BMF instructor right in your pocket. Instead of paying the price of a gym membership every month, you can splash out £5.99 and choose when and where you do your own workouts.

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REVIEW: Cygnett Action Sport Armband

iPhone ArmbandWhen Mobile Fun got in touch and offered me a Cygnett iPod running armband to review I scooped up my freebie like the heartless sell-out that I am.

I recently won an iPod Touch in a competition and have been wearing out the batteries on my long runs using the Spotify application. It’s awesome. But not being able to change tracks has been a pain. Plus my little mp3 holder now has so many holes in it that it’s not exactly waterproof.

Now, a colleague at work thinks that this will be the shortest review ever. “It holds your iPod while you’re running. Done!” But one thing he underestimates about bloggers is their ability to waffle for endless amounts of time about absolutely nothing. So watch this!
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REVIEW: Lausanne Half Marathon

Lausanne MarathonEvery October since 1992, the city of Lausanne, Switzerland plays host to the Lausanne Marathon. With over 10,000 participants, and a number of different races on the day, the event is set over one of the most stunning backdrops in the world, Lake Geneva and the Swiss Alps.

There are 9 different events to choose from on the day. Obviously the main event is a full marathon, but also available to participate in is a quarter marathon, 10km walk, ‘mini’ races for children and a handcyles half marathon. However, the most popular distance (with over 3000 more entrants than the full marathon) is the half marathon.

The starting point is a 20 minute train journey away from the finish line, in La Tour-de-Peilz, a cool 13.1 miles away. Handily, your running number is your train fare, but the train runs almost side-by-side with the running route, painfully showing you just how far you have to run to reach the finish line back in Lausanne.

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REVIEW: Sony Walkman W Series

Sir Jog A Lot sells out…

James BarnardLast night I went for my first, post-marathon jog. In 4 weeks I’ll be re-running the first race event I competed in, the Bupa London 10K. I’ve set myself a target of getting round in sub-50 minutes. Last year I couldn’t quite break the 55-minute mark but after training for (and completing) a marathon I should be Señor Speedy Jogales.

First things first, I need to keep my level of fitness exactly as it is. I’d had 9 days to recover from the marathon (which I’d spent eating and drinking myself into a stupor) so I went out on a 3-mile jog around Blackheath. As I mentioned in a previous post, it’s important to have another goal or milestone to focus on after the marathon to stop yourself getting the post-marathon blues (sometimes caused from the lack of endorphins produced during regular exercise). Plus, this time Sally is running with me, so I’ll have a bit of extra encouragement.

I also had a new toy to play with. Just before the marathon I was approached by a digital PR chap who had “an opportunity that I think might interest you” and two weeks later this bad boy arrived in the post; an mp3 player designed specifically for running folk.

Herein lies the dilemma. Do I keep my integrity, send the mp3 player back and continue to write the SJAL blog posts for free (or without perks), or do I sell out, review the thing and keep it? From the title of the post you can guess what I did! To be fair, I’ve already plugged a fair few websites and running products and if this PR agency thinks that my audience (you guys) would benefit from whatever they’re trying to get in the press then I’m more than happy to review it.

So here goes… my first review:

I ran the three miles with the Sony Walkman W Series and it was the fastest three miles I’ve ever run (something like 21 minutes). Unfortunately, the reason for my speed wasn’t due to the inspiring music that had been pre-loaded on to the device, but simply because I didn’t want anyone to see me with this thing attached to my head.

Sony_W_SeriesThe mp3 player is built directly into the headphones and the cable that connects the two, wraps round the back of your head. The theory behind it is brilliant. It gets rid of the annoying dangling cables (that you’d normally have to tuck underneath your shirt) and allows quick and easy access to the controls so you can play, pause, change track and adjust volume really easily. In practice, however, the device is clunky, uncomfortable and a little unsightly. I’m quite a self-conscious person (for the longest time I had issues running in a pair of shorts that show any leg above the knee) so I felt uncomfortable wearing a bright white device* that resembles two bluetooth headsets. You can’t even cover it with a hat because your hat won’t fit!

If this doesn’t bother you (and you have the right shaped head) then you’ll love this device and you’d have no reason not to. The sound quality is brilliant. The headphones resemble the MDR inner-ear series (I have a pair of these and the sound quality is unmatched for the price) and once the device is securely in place there’s no moving it. I’m no Paula Radcliffe head-bobber but the W Series stayed in place throughout my run. It charges in 3 minutes (using a slick little docking station that comes with it) and can hold 2GB worth of music (about 500 songs).


The player also features the new ‘Zappin’ function, which will play a snippet of the chorus of each of your songs (much like a TV advert for a Ministry of Sound CD) until you tap the button and ‘Zap In’ the song you want to listen to. Clever. It sounds cheesy but it’s a very cool way of choosing songs without having a screen in front of you to see what you’re listening to and it’s a lot of fun to play around with.

My advice, try before you buy. The cable that connects the two earpieces doesn’t have much give and if your head isn’t quite the right size then it’ll feel odd and you’ll be constantly trying to adjust it, rather than focusing on your run. I was so busy trying to adjust it that I nearly locked myself out of my flat.  It’s a shame because the concept and the functionality works so well.

Sir Jog A Lot rating: 3/5

* The W Series also comes in black, purple, pink and yellow

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