There was a time, not too long ago, when athletes spent meticulous hours methodically journaling every detail of their training sessions into their beloved spiral notebook. Now, with the power of the smartphone and a singular app, it’s all in the palm of your hand.
Run Baby Run…
At it’s core, Strava is an app that logs your activities’ routes that have been recorded via a GPS device. So when your Sunday evening run (or bike ride) takes you from Point A to Point B, Strava saves and translates your route into a friendly map as an entry for that day. From there, you can explore an array of data associated with your activity.
The ability to keep track of endless hours of training in a singular app is plenty of reason to appreciate Strava. But it’s when you add in all the other features associated with this app that things get really interesting. So here are the top five reasons we’ve fallen in love with the app.
1. Who Said Nothing Good is Free?
With the ability to track pace, distance, and more, GPS enabled devices can collect all your training data and then help make sense of all the numbers, providing a complete picture of how you’re doing–while you’re doing it. Unfortunately, that technology often comes encased in a pricey wrist watch styled unit. The beauty of Strava is that it offers all the benefits of a GPS enabled device right there on your r Android or iPhone for absolutely free.
2. Fuel the Competitive Fire
For those of us with a slight ‘competitiveness issue’ Strava helps satiate the craving for competition by turning an ordinary run or ride into a competitive affair. Strava keeps track of your personal achievements for various distances and appropriately rewards your efforts with a trophy icon after your training session. The service however goes one step further through the creation and use of ‘segments’ providing an effective tool to challenge and motivate yourself, your friends, and other Strava athletes.
The site also runs regular challenges that last from a single day up to a month. The challenges span the gamut from racking up the miles, to racking up the elevation. When a quick trip to the grocery store turns into a competition, you’ll find yourself logging less ‘junk miles’ and start making better use of increasingly precious training time.
3. Stay Connected
In case you haven’t noticed, the new millenia is all about being connected. Strava not only gets it, but exudes social interaction allowing you to follow other members, give them ‘kudos’ for their activities and exchange comments on activities. And since challenges are more fun with friends, Strava also lets you to share their monthly challenges via Facebook, Twitter, email and SMS and compare your results with friends.
With the recently updated 4.0 version, Strava has instituted an array of significant changes aimed at improving the brand’s clout as a social network. Stava’s new activity feed shows Instagram photos taken during your excursions and also has one-touch buttons for sharing activities to Facebook, Path and Twitter. When working out with others, activities are automatically grouped for all involved. Of course, it’s up to you to decide whether you’ll use these social powers as a positive motivator or a tool to mercilessly taunt and challenge friends and colleagues.
4. Gear Tracker
One of the painful (and costly) rules of the road is that training gear has a limited lifespan. As a general rule, most running shoes last between 300 and 500 miles. How and where you use your shoes can also dramatically alter that number. Strava lets you associate runs and rides with a specific running shoe or piece of gear so you know exactly where, when, how long, and how many miles you’ve put on each product. That’s not only a great feature to track the use of your gear, but can help you prevent training on equipment no longer offers the support your body needs.
Let’s be honest, in today’s world privacy seems like a fleeting virtue. Yet Strava offers several different features that help you manage your privacy and manage followers. Most importantly is the ability to enter a location to keep it hidden on your activity maps. That means other users can’t (rather intentionally or unintentionally) find the location your activity starts or ends, aka your home or work.
What are you waiting for? Load up the app, head out on the open road and find your own reasons to love Strava.