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Vi Trainer + Vi Sense Headphones Review 2019: The Future of Run Coaching?

I don’t know about you but my ‘running mojo’ tends to come in waves, that usually coincide with work or other aspects of life distracting me from my fitness goals. Due to this, I’m always open to exploring new motivational tools that can help me run more often and stick to my ultimate goal of being the strongest version of myself. Well, I think I’ve found the answer to both. Read this Vi Trainer review to find out why the Vi Trainer, when used with Vi Sense headphones, is my answer to staying motivated to run while remaining on course to hit my speed and distance running goals.

If you’re just looking for my summary and rating CLICK HERE.

Vi Trainer Virtual Running Coach

vi trainer review - and vi sense headphones review - trail and kale - running with Vi Sense + Vi Trainer

Vi Trainer Review: First, what is Vi Trainer?

Vi Trainer is your own personal virtual running coach, that uses artificial intelligence to make you a stronger runner by motivating you to run more often with a focused and fully customized training plan that helps you reach your goals. What makes Vi even better than a physical trainer is that she can coach you in realtime by constantly checking in on your heart-rate, speed and distance. When she notices you slacking off, she’ll push you harder. This is how you get stronger. Her training technique and plans will train you in a way that’s fun while making sure you don’t burn yourself out. If you burn yourself out too early in any routine, you’ll get left feeling like you want to give up before you ever get the chance to see any gains. This is often an issue for me, as I get so excited at the beginning of my runs that I tend to start out too quickly!

How does Vi Trainer Work?

Vi Trainer is an app, which means you’ll need a smartphone to be able to start using it as well as some headphones (Vi talks to you whilst you run). Grab a 14-day free trial of the app HERE to get started.

Once Vi Trainer is installed, Vi will ask some questions about you including things like your current fitness level, gender, age, and what your main goal is, run faster, further, etc.

When you start using the app, Vi will then begin coaching you towards your goals in real-time. Based on your performance and goals, she creates dynamic and fun workout experiences tailored to you. These workouts can be either be done outdoors or indoors on the treadmill.

VIDEOS: See our Vi Trainer Instagram Stories to get an idea of how the app works.

vi trainer review - and vi sense headphones review - trail and kale

Vi Sense Wireless Headphones (with HR Sensor)

Do I need Vi Sense Headphones for the Vi Trainer App to work?

vi trainer review - and vi sense headphones review - trail and kale - Heart rate sensorNo, you don’t but the whole experience will be much better if you do use them. Vi Sense headphones are wireless and come with a built-in Heart Rate sensor on the left earbud. The sound quality from them is superb too because they are powered by Harman/Kardon.

Training via heart-rate is one of the best ways to train because your heart never lies and its an excellent indicator for fitness level. Vi uses heart-rate data to further personalize your training sessions.

You can also tap the right bud while running and ask Vi questions like “What’s my heart rate?” or “How am I doing Vi?” and she’ll respond with real-time insights on your heart rate, calories, distance, pace, and more.

Running with Vi Sense Headphones

I wasn’t sure how Vi Sense’s neckband would feel around my neck while running, but the flexible rubbery design is actually really comfortable. The reason for having this part of the headphones is because it contains all the activity tracking sensors and a battery to power it all. A few benefits that I have noticed from having a wrap-around design like this include:

  1. The headphones stay in place while running.
  2. The volume and function buttons are always to hand.
  3. If an earbud falls out of your ear then it won’t fall to the ground as it’s attached to the neckband.

You can use the headphones for other purposes (like just listen to music/podcasts), and Vi also plays carefully selected running music, if you choose to have it, during your workouts using the app.

Plexus Co. (dba Chirp)
Plexus Co. (dba Chirp)
Plexus Co. (dba Chirp)
Plexus Co. (dba Chirp)

RELATED: 5 Best Wireless Headphones for Running in 2019


Earbud sizing

Vi Sense comes with a set of in-ear fins that stabilize and hold your earbuds in place too, even during vigorous workout activity. Also, included is a range of ear gel sizes to ensure a custom fit that’s comfortable for extended wear. I’m going to go as far as saying that Vi Sense headphones are the most comfortable headphones I have worn for running simply because of their unique design, sound quality and the earbuds never feel like they’re about to fall out.

One downside to Vi is that you have to run with your smartphone for it to work as it uses its GPS and of course the Vi Trainer app. This is not such a problem for me nowadays as I like to run with my phone in case of emergency or If there’s a photo opportunity. The phone can be in your pocket and the wireless connection is still strong between the two devices. On the plus side, this does mean that you don’t need to wear a GPS Running watch, although I still do because I like to be able to quickly glance over to my stats. I also prefer to log my runs on Garmin Connect as well as Strava. Vi connects with Strava to automatically upload your run to the platform once you’re finished.

Vi Sense Wireless Headphones FAQ

Q1. How do I connect my Vi Sense Headphones to my phone?

Turn your Vi Sense Headphones on, you should hear Vi say “Searching for Devices”. Open your phone’s Bluetooth settings and click on “Vi Earphones” to connect them. Once it says connected in your Bluetooth settings, you’re all set!

Q2. How long does it take to charge Vi?

It takes roughly 90 minutes for Vi to reach a full charge! When you plug Vi into your micro USB charger, the Vi logo on your neckband will flash green until it’s fully charged. When fully charged this logo will change to a solid green light.

Q3. How long does the battery last?

Vi’s average battery life is 8 hours. This number varies depending on how you are using Vi (i.e. training with Vi, listening to music, making phone calls, etc.).

You can check Vi’s battery level, at any time, by pressing both the plus (+) and minus (-) buttons on Vi’s neckband.

vi trainer review - and vi sense headphones review - trail and kale - neck strap
Vi Sense Wireless headphones charging port

Q4. What do the buttons on the side do?

Plus (+) Button

  • A short press will increase the volume.
  • A long press will skip to the next track.
  • Press this button to answer YES when Vi asks a yes/no question.

Minus (-) Button

  • A short press will decrease the volume.
  • A long press will skip back a track.
  • Press this button to answer NO when Vi asks a yes/no question.

Middle (Multifunction Button)

  • A short press will play/pause music or answer/end calls.
  • A long press on the middle button will turn the device on/off.

Q5. How does the heart rate sensor work?

Vi measures heart rate using an optical heart rate sensor in the left earbud. The sensor emits a green light in a specific wavelength to the tissue of the tragus in the ear. The reflective light is captured by the receiver of the sensor — this is then processed by a proprietary algorithm to capture the heart rate.

Fun Fact: this sensor was originally designed for the air force and astronauts so it is incredibly accurate!

Vi Sense Helen
vi trainer review – and vi sense headphones review – trail and kale – Helen after her run

What are the Benefits of Using a Virtual Running Coach?

Motivation

It’s hard to do anything consistently without a little motivation giving you a nudge. Vi Trainer provides motivation through its many workouts from ‘speedplay’ to ‘long runs’, and ‘intervals’ to ‘tempo runs’.

vi trainer review - and vi sense headphones review - trail and kale - filtersIt’s great that you can choose any one of these workouts by how long it is expected to take, simply by applying a duration filter, as you may only have 30 mins available for your run. you can further filter those results to find a workout based distance or difficulty level.

Accountability

Showing up for a run is half the battle. Having a trainer of any kind, physical or virtual holds a certain degree of accountability. If you don’t show up, you’re in trouble! Ok, so Vi won’t actually punish you but you’ll want to keep showing up just to hear the nuggets of advice she provides on your next run. Vi also rewards you for your efforts by giving you a shout out to the whole community if you do amazing things, like show up really regularly. It’s so cool when Vi mentions someone from a completely different country and shares their hard work with you. In fact, it motivates you to want to do the same.

Training Plans

Vi comes with built-in training plans also, designed to fit into your busy lifestyle and how often you feel you can run each week. At the time of writing this Vi Trainer has 4 goals for you to choose from:

  1. Train for the latest Vi Virtual 5K Race
  2. Burn off fat
  3. Train for a 5k
  4. Train for a 10k

Extra Training plans to come

More training plans will be added as time passes including ‘Train for a Half-marathon’ and hopefully a marathon training plan too. I would love to see training plans for longer races as I tend to run races of half-marathon distance or more. I don’t use the Vi training plan feature right now, but instead, follow the individual running workouts based on whether or not I have to put in a long run or a speed session. This works well for me but I really can’t wait for that coveted marathon training plan!


“the more you train, the stronger you become, but if you don’t have the motivation to train, then nothing will change. That’s where Vi Trainer really stands out for me.”

vi trainer review - and vi sense headphones review - trail and kale - Vi sense unboxing
Vi sense unboxing

Virtual Races are Included!

If you’re subscribed to Vi Trainer then you get to run the Virtual 5K races for free! Every so often Vi puts on these events where you have the opportunity to compete with other Vi uses from around the world. I love how Vi pushes you during the race and gives you real-time updates on how well you’re doing compared to the other participants, and even how well you’re doing within your country or state. Running a virtual race something that needs to be experienced at least once in your life! You can sign up to the next Virtual 5k by clicking here which takes place on June 5th. See you there! 🙂

VIDEOS: To learn more about the Vi Virtual 5K, see our VI 5K Instagram Stories.

How much does Vi Trainer & Vi Sense Headphones cost?

Right now you can get a 1yr of Vi Trainer + the Vi Sense Headphones for only $99 for the full year – that’s roughly $8 a month. Vi Trainer on its own costs $99/yr, so with this deal you also get a fantastic pair of headphones for free (Vi Sense RRP is $149). This is great value when you consider the cost of a personal trainer for just one month, let alone a whole year! It also makes for a great gift if you have a friend or family member who wants to get in shape.

Vi Trainer + Vi Sense Headphones – $99 – See Deal

When using Vi Trainer and Sense Headphones together, you’ll get a much more immersive and ultimately rewarding experience during your runs. As mentioned earlier though, you don’t need Vi Sense Headphones for the Vi Trainer app to work, but I recommend getting them.

Vi Trainer Review Summary – Is Vi Trainer worth it?

Vi Trainer with Vi Sense review trail and kale 4
Vi Trainer + Vi Sense Headphones Review Summary
Comfort
9
Design & Function
9
Durability
9
Value For Money
9.5
Pros
Vi Trainer is an excellent motivator
Vi Trainer + Vi Sense is very reasonably priced when compared to a real physical trainer
Vi Trainer gives results - Noticeable fitness improvements within weeks
Vi Sense is very comfortable
Vi Sense has excellent sound quality
Cons
Must run with your phone for it to work
9.1
Overall Score

A resounding yes from me. I now find myself regularly feeling motivated to go out and run, and actually want to push myself hard. It’s one thing getting the motivation to run, but when you have the motivation to want to push harder, you’ll inevitably notice faster performance gains. It’s no secret that the harder you work at something, the better you get, and the same goes for running.

If you train with Vi, and you stick with your training plan then you’re going to notice a huge improvement in your strength, speed, and endurance.

vi trainer review - and vi sense headphones review - trail and kale - Alastair post-run with Vi Trainer
Me after a speedplay session with Vi, totally exhausted but never happier! 🙂

Vi Trainer + Vi Sense Headphones – $99

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5 COMMENTS

  1. Paid over 250$ canadian to help support the startup. Now I have to pay 130$ a year to use the the app properly. So instead or supporting people who originally supported and believed in the start-up, you have to pay WAY more just to use the headphones.
    Heart sensor on my original pair has stopped working as well. This review way over-hypes the Vi training app and headphones.

  2. Really, Derrick!

    Almost no your this review is true anymore! The headphones are now $29 on Amazon and there is no ai to analyze your workout, and they no longer connect to Strava or MyFitnessPal – What’s the world coming to?!

    • I’m really disappointed in the direction of Vi Trainer, now called Torch. It had the making of something super special and unique. Maybe someone else will step in and take its place.

      • Totally agreed. Like Scott, I bought this during startup and was initially hopeful that they would fulfill all their promises. But now, the training is not personalised, Torch doesn’t work on Android as far as I know and no connectivity with Strava. So basically you cannot use it without the Vi app, so I spent a lot of money on a pair of headphones with an ear sensor HR monitor which I can’t get much benefit from. They are good at social media with accounts like this and others which masquerade as blogs / forum users but are clearly employees. There is no actual Vi website / forum, so no accountability. They have let their customers down badly.

  3. I agree with all of the comments above as I too bought in early. Today the headphones took a dump and when I did a google search I was stunned to see what they go for now.

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Alastair
Alastairhttps://www.trailandkale.com
Hey, I'm Alastair. I started Trail & Kale as a way to share the mental & physical benefits that trail running and nature had given me. Trail & Kale has since grown to become a thriving blog and community that inspires people to trail run, hike, adventure more, and live a healthy plant-based lifestyle.
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