When Motorola officially launched its MOTOACTV back at the end of November we were excited. The MOTOACTV is a sports watch which helps you use music to bolster fitness training and it looks to combine the two features very well.

Former GB athlete Iwan Thomas will use the MOTOACTV during his Sport Relief Challenge from the 10th to 17th March next year.

Pending our own full review of the MOTOACTV, we thought you might like to peruse a question and answer session we had with Iwan about the MOTOACTV and his Sport Relief Challenge.

Sandra: Can you briefly describe the challenge you are undertaking to row, run and cycle round the UK? Who’s it for? And, why did you decide to do it?

Iwan: This March I will be competing in The First Nation Home for Sport Relief. I decided to take part because I’m an animal and love physical challenges, and obviously it’s for a fantastic cause.  

The First nation Home is a competition between England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales.   Four teams made up of sports people and celebrities representing England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales will race over 1,000 miles around the UK and Ireland, I’m representing Wales obviously! The teams start simultaneously in their home cities of Cardiff, Dublin, Edinburgh and London and have to run, row, cycle and sail their way clockwise around the UK and Ireland from the 10th to the 17th of March 2012. 

 I’ll be starting in Cardiff, for the first leg, cycling to Liverpool, then rowing to Dublin and then then sailing over to Scotland. It’s the biggest challenge ever for Sport Relief, it’s going to be really tough and I can’t wait to do it.

The MOTOACTV is really going to help, not just during the challenge but in my training too. My pace judgement is absolutely useless for long distance. If I go for a ten mile run I’ll normally tear off for the first mile, thinking I’m still eighteen and my legs end up giving way towards the end. The best thing about the device is not only does it play music that will keep me entertained but it has training programmes and helps me set pace. And it finds out how fast or slow I’m running and will play the music accordingly – it works out which tracks I train best to.

Sandra: I hear there’s an option where you can put a ‘power song’ on the MOTOACTV device. What’s your favourite song and how come?

Iwan: Yes, when you’re starting to get tired there’s a ‘power track’ button you can press and it plays your chosen song that you know pushes you on, be it Prodigy, Eye of the Tiger, Rocky, whatever, whatever music you like that will help you get upbeat. For me, any upbeat dance music is motivating, if had to pick a favourite song for the ‘power track’ it would be Prodigy, Firestarter!

Sandra: When you were a professional athlete, did you use music a lot for training?

Iwan: When I was a professional athlete I’d use music to warm up half an hour before a race to psyche myself up. Now I’ve retired and I’m doing longer distances and marathons music is even more important to my training because there’s more of a boredom factor. I find long distance running can be a bit tedious and having the MOTOACTV is almost like always having a training partner with you.

A device that plays music and tells you how quick or far you’ve run is definitely cool. The fact that you can also download different training programmes, challenge friends and other people around the country to do the same training as you and effectively compete with each other is awesome.

Sandra: Do you think that music generally motivates people who are training?

Iwan: Definitely, if you’re sitting in the car and your favourite song comes on the radio, music puts you in a good mood. Likewise, if you’re out on your bike or you’re running, it can be pretty lonely and hard work; if you’ve gone on a long run and you’ve got another two or three miles left to get home and feeling a bit fatigued, then hearing a song that’s full of happy memories, it can really make you feel upbeat and help power you home.

Sandra: Just going back to the Sport Relief Challenge, when does it start and how can people sponsor you?

Iwan: The Sport Relief Challenge is from the 10th to 17th March 2012.  Team Wales are aiming to raise £350,000 for Sport Relief, please go online and sponsor us at www.firstnationhome.com/donate

The public also have the chance to take part and raise money for charity in the Ran Slam.  On 25th March people can join the teams to run with us for the six miles of the races in Edinburgh, Cardiff, London and Dublin.  To register go to www.firstnationhome.com

MOTOACTV offers:

–    Ongoing tracking of fitness performance stats, including pace, distance, calories burned, and map of route covered, with automatic wireless syncing of workout data to MOTOACTV.com
–    8GB of storage for endless playlists
–    Sports a 1.6” full-colour touch-screen display that auto-adjusts for indoor or outdoor lighting and is sweat-proof, rain-resistant and featuring scratch-resistant Corning Gorilla Glass
–    Option to sync with the latest Android-powered smartphone to receive incoming calls and texts
–    FM radio capabilities for more song variety
–    Up to five hours of battery life for outdoor workouts, 10 hours indoors, and nearly two weeks on standby
–    Supports both Bluetooth® 4.0 and ANT+ wireless connectivity for your existing fitness sensors and your future ones
–    Size: 46mm x 46mm x 9.6 mm
–    Weight: 35 g

For more information on MOTOACTV go to www.Motorola.co.uk