Thursday, December 5, 2013

Taking Glass for a Run

            As a tech neophyte - I didn't even own a smart phone until I decided to purchase Glass - the world of apps is still new to me. A couple years ago, when my students asked for app recommendations, I naively mentioned that my dumb phone had a calculator. We all giggled and smiled as I held up my phone. I thought we were laughing at how students are so reliant on calculators to do math; they honestly thought I was telling a joke.
            Of course, I have since learned to think differently about apps and phones. Most importantly, apps are a way to personalize the technology experience: games, sports, shopping, e-readers, and more. However, Glass's nascent existence means fewer Glass-compatible apps at present. Combined with my general lack of familiarity with apps, personalizing my technology experience could be a challenge.
            Cue my resident Glass expert, who recommended a running app that works with Glass. In hindsight, this recommendation was brilliant, as it gave me a reason to wear Glass on a daily basis. However, upon hearing about the Strava running app, I blithely dismissed it as an over-glorified timer, perhaps a pedometer with an appealing UI to compensate for lack of content. However, I am fully vested in this adventure and want to try everything on for size, so I loaded the app and went for a run.
            Needless to say that when the Glass lady's crisp voice suddenly chirped my distance, time, split, and pace, I skipped a step and nearly tripped myself. Even with my music blaring full volume in my ear buds, that voice cut through the music and startled me. Bemused, I kept running and pushed myself just a little faster. When her voice rang out again at the one mile mark, I was prepared for the update.
            I usually reserve running outdoors for distance or relaxing runs, while treadmill runs are used for interval and speed training. However, the simple act of providing split times and pacing activated my self-competitiveness, and I found myself pushing harder than usual.
            At one point, I tried nodding to trigger Glass in order to find out my elapsed time between half miles, but as soon as the clock flickered to life, it went dark again. I tried again, only to meet with the same result. It took me a few tries to connect the dots and realize that the jostling of my head simulated nodding, which activates and deactivates Glass. I have since learned that I can turn off this function, but, whether it's sheer laziness on my part or a genuine lack of needing to know my exact, current time, I have opted to keep on the head tilt function.
            If I had a heart rate monitor, I could sync it with Strava and create a more complete fitness profile. However, even without tracking heart rate, I think Strava meets my needs. Ironically, I didn't even know I had a need for a running app, but I've used it for every outdoor run since that first time. I am still under the impression that I don't need technology, but I certainly can benefit from using it in my daily life. I think this is going to be the great thing about my grand, technology adventure: finding ways for technology to complement and enhance my lifestyle. 


  1. Do you find that the battery side of Glass bops up and down on your ear when running? Mine did the first time I went for a run with it and I found it very annoying and slightly painful. I don't think I would run long distances with Glass because of that.

  2. I am easily annoyed while running, and for some reason, at least with the sun shades on, it didn't bother me. I'm running a half marathon in February and plan to wear Glass. That is, unless I find that it begins to bother me over longer distances.