*I received a complimentary MilestonePod to test and review, but was not compensated for this post in any other way. All opinions, thoughts, and general nonsensical ramblings are my own, as always.
A few weeks ago, I mentioned that I had received an updated MilestonePod to try out, and that I’d have a full review after using it for a couple of weeks. Well, friends, that time has come!
The MilestonePod is a small device that takes up about one square inch of real estate on your shoe. Don’t let its size fool you, however: this little guy tracks more running data than you can shake a stick at, including:
- Workout time
- Calories burned
- Step count
- Location of foot strike
- Ground contact time
- Rate of impact
- Stride length
- Leg swing
Honestly, if you can think of anything else you’d want to know about your workout, I encourage you to share it with me, because aside from heart rate–which obviously I wouldn’t expect a shoe-based device to track, particularly given the rise in wrist-based heart rate monitoring–I can’t think of a single statistic related to my run that the MilestonePod doesn’t track.
Using the MilestonePod is a pretty straightforward process. The device comes in two pieces: a bottom piece that slips under your laces, and a top piece that you snap into the bottom piece. And that’s it. The pod has a built-in battery that doesn’t require recharging, and it automatically tracks your runs without you needing to press any buttons (once you have a cadence of 100+ steps/minute for six straight minutes, it recognizes that you’re running. It goes back and captures those first six minutes, and will continue tracking until your cadence falls below 100 steps/minute for six straight minutes).
To track your MilestonePod data, you need to download the free MilestonePod app to your phone. Tapping your MilestonePod twice (or until the little green light turns on) wakes it up, at which point you can sync it via Bluetooth to your phone (this was something I didn’t know when I started testing the pod, and couldn’t figure out why it wouldn’t sync!). The app displays all the data from your run with an explanation of the significance of less common tracking points (such as rate of impact, leg swing, etc.).
You don’t have to calibrate the pod before taking it out for its first run, and while its tracking is quite accurate, it may be slightly off. If it is, you can calibrate it after syncing (assuming you know how far you ran, that is) to help increase its accuracy.
Beyond that, the MilestonePod tracks your shoe’s mileage, which is probably its most useful function for me. I love all the data, but I am terrible about tracking mileage on my shoes (my usual method is to realize one day that I’ve had my shoes for a long time, then go onto Polar Flow [or Garmin Connect, before my current watch] and run a report from the day I thought I started wearing my current pair of shoes to the present and, usually, realize that I was about 15 miles away from needing a new pair of shoes). Having this available on my phone without me needing to do even the tiniest bit of math has been enormously helpful for me.
As I’m sure I’ve said on here multiple times in the past, I’m a huge stats nerd when it comes to sports, including my own sports, so something like this is right up my alley. Obviously, my Polar M400 (GPS watch) and FitBit Charge HR (activity tracker) to a fair amount of tracking for me on my runs, so the basic data I get from the MilestonePod isn’t exactly breaking news to me. However, while both of those devices can count my steps, and one (the M400) can count my cadence, nothing even comes close to the deep dive analysis MilestonePod gives me. Nothing tells me what kind of strike I use. Nothing tells me how hard I hit the ground, or how long I stay on the ground. Nothing tells me the status of my leg swing. That’s information I previously would’ve needed a video gait analysis to learn. Now, I get it on my phone. While the MilestonePod certainly doesn’t replace a VGA done by a trained professional, it gives you an idea of how you’re doing in between VGAs and helps you see where you can stand to improve your form. I think this is wildly useful information, and considering that the pod only costs $24.95, is an insanely good deal.
I also think the MilestonePod would be a very useful tool to someone who wants to meticulously track his or her running data, but has trouble with feeling obligated to hit certain paces all the time and is a slave to his or her watch as a result. Honestly, I see my watch as more of a reporting tool than a coach I need to please – it tells me how fast I ran the last mile, and that’s about where my relationship and emotions to the number I see begin and end. I so rarely derive a sense of worth from what those numbers show me that running without a watch has never appealed to me: tracking my data is more important to me than the infinitesimal chance that I might be upset by what I see. However, I know that that is definitely not that case for some people. If you happen to fall into my data-obsessed camp, but also live in the live-and-die-by-my-pace camp (unlike me), I think MilestonePod could be a great tool for you. You still get all your information, but not until after the run, at which point you can’t do anything about it, anyway.
If you’re interested, you can purchase a MilestonePod online at www.milestonepod.com. I find it to be a really cool tool and would certainly recommend it to any runner interested in gaining more insights into their workouts.