A blog by runners. For runners.

Hacking the iPod Nike Sport Kit

This morning when Melissa and I walked up the steps to the running path along the drive I hit the Nike+ Sport Kit button to begin my workout to see the ominous message along the lines of “You must first attach the receiver before commencing your workout”. That's what happens to me when I am tired. I had come down 9 floors in an elevator and walked 100 yards to the start only to discover that I had forgotten to plug the darn receiver into my Nano. Looks like I'll be back on my watch to keep time instead today.
We ran the 5 mile course in just over 48 minutes and then walked back to the apartment. In the shower I mulled over how I might add my workout to the Nike+ site since, if you're like me, I would never remember a week or two from now that my list of runs were missing 5 miles from today. I'm a bit of a stickler and a total nerd so I figured that there was something I could find on the Nano to be able to recreate my run.
I wasn't so much looking for accuracy, just to be able to capture the fact that I ran 5.15 miles. I have my iPod setup to act as a hard disk so I have access to the files on it. I also have my windows explorer setup to show hidden files, which the iPod files are listed as. A quick dig around the files on my Nano while it was connected shows that there are two key folders for tracking your runs. There is a directory for your historical runs:
{ipoddrive}:\iPod_Control\Device\Trainer\Workouts\Empeds\{personal pedometer id}\synched\
and another for your latest runs which haven't been synched yet:
{ipoddrive}:\iPod_Control\Device\Trainer\Workouts\Empeds\{personal pedometer id}\latest\
My synched directory contained a run from September 3rd over the same distance and roughly the same time. I copied the file from my iPod to my desktop and then opened it using WordPad to see the contents. It seems that the iPod tracks key events:

  • power song
  • pace check
  • mile split
  • km split
  • pause workout
  • resume workout
  • stop workout

and it also keeps a list of distances taken every 10 seconds. Not wanting to fudz anything up, I found two parts of the file which refered to the date and time of the run so I updated it to show today at 6.29am in both places and saved the file. I noticed that the naming convention for the files was consistent so I followed the convention, renaming my new file “2006-09-06 07;39;54.xml”. I copied it onto my iPod under the “latest” folder and ejected my iPod. When I looked at my workout history once disconnected from my computer, sure enough, I now have a 9/6/06 workout in place. The next and scariest step was to connect my Nano again while connected to the internet and visit the site to see what happened to my running history. Sure enough, my run was correctly added to my running history and happiness rained all around.
Use this information for good and not for any evil you may be considering but I am delighted this little hack worked! Of course, in an ideal world, this kind of hack wouldn't be necessary and the Nike+ site would allow you to add workouts you didn't do with your sport kit connected with some limitations like 1 per week or something to avoid people cheating themselves.

Alternative approach

If you want to track how far you went or how many calories you burned the alternative is of course to use WalkJogRun.net where you can plot your route on a Google Map of your neighborhood, save it to a free account or as a guest and share it with your friends on facebook or twitter for bragging rights!