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Going running – send your mobile first

I think I’ve mentioned it before, I’m currently trialling several pieces of kit, including the Samsung Adidas phone and Nokia N82 for a feature in Triathlon 220. The basic premise is ‘do you need technology to make you run faster’.

So it was with intrigue that I opened a release today to see that Esendex and the guys behind the Great North Run will jointly offer SMS training packages for runners.

The release states that it is “the first service of its kind in the UK safely prepares people for running events by giving them access to personalised training plans via SMS, email and the web.”

The two companies have compiled a 16-week training programme which can work purely on communication directly to and from a mobile phone.

I particularly like this as it is a concept I’ve seen before. In 2004, when I was working on the Qualcomm account Burson Marsteller’s Jonathan Jordan came up with the very same idea. Sadly it never made the light of day that time.

More from the release:

Budding runners register for the service in the training room on the Great Run website and, after completing a training session, the runner texts ‘felt’, along with ‘great’, ‘bad’ or ‘ok’ to the short code number 60066. On receiving the runner’s feedback, Nova then sends a confirmation text detailing the next stage of their programme. Each week the computer system analyses every plan and session to offer a new training schedule for the week ahead depending on the feedback received.

Great Run worked with Olympic coaches to gain professional advice for the programme, which is available for 5k, 10k, 10 miles, half marathon, marathon distances and general fitness. Each programme is targeted at beginners and can train someone from a non-runner into a race finisher.

“We’ve targeted this training site at people who are experimenting with fitness and need entry-level tools for competing in running events,” explains [Nova’s Chris] Kewin. “For those who feel they would like more of a challenge, there are tougher plans available. It’s all about showing people how easy fitness can be and showing them how to enter a competition safely.”

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