Disclaimer: I will receive Strava merchandise and an annual Strava Summit membership as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!
For me, it started with community
Running can be a very individual activity….especially when you love in a more rural location without a lot of other runners around. And like anything else, picking up a running habit sometimes can greatly benefit from some camaraderie and encouragement.
That was exactly the boat I was in when I first started running…and even up until recently. I either lived in a location with few other runners, or I worked a crazy schedule and couldn’t make it to run groups.
I came across Strava years ago and was instantly intrigued with the idea.
For those who are not familiar, Strava is a way to track and share your runs/walks/bike rides. (Sorry cyclists if that is not the term you prefer! I am a recreational bike rider at best)
You are able to add pictures to your activity records and share them with friends. There are clubs and monthly challenges as well, which was the most valuable part to me.
As I said, I lacked an in person running community, but Strava gave me a way to connect with runners around the world. When you don’t have someone to talk to in real life about your really awesome long run, it feels that much better to get “kudos” on Strava from those who really understand and appreciate the effort and accomplishment.
For the more competitive runners, there are also Strava segments. You can compare your time on a specific running area (like a path at a local park) to others who have tracked a run on the same segment.
For those who are slower (aka me) the segments feature is still useful because you can compare your current run with how you have done on the same segment in the past. I don’t think I will ever be competitive with the people really out there rocking these segments, but I like to see my own personal progress.
Tracking your runs
Strava can be used by itself to track your runs, or you can also sync your Garmin (some other watches are also comparable, see a list here)
I like these options because sometimes I forget to charge my phone or my watch, so having a backup option is nice.
In general, I prefer to track my run on my Garmin watch then sync it to Strava because my watch also records my heart rate which is a nice additional data point to have.
That said, I actually tend to have an allergic reaction (or maybe it’s a heat rash?) when I wear my Garmin in the summer heat, so I frequently track my summer runs directly with Strava.
All in all, Strava has been a huge part of my running life for a long time now and I do not see that changing in the future!
At this point in time I am still using the free version though, as I said in the disclaimer, I will receive an annual Summit Subscription in exchange for this review…so I look forward to sharing the differences and which I prefer with y’all. Full disclosure: that isn’t part of the deal at all, just something I want to share down the road 🙂