This is why you should use Strava
What is Strava?
It is going to sound obvious for the persons already using it, but Strava is still unknown for a lot of runners. Not for long though, at the moment Strava is registering almost 1 million new users every 45 days. So, here, let's discuss what is Strava and why it is something that you should use to enjoy running even more, and also make progress as a runner. Knowing that no app is going to run the miles for you, you will find out that the difference between happy runners and unhappy ones quite often lies in all the surroundings and all the habits of the runners. You can decide to put yourself into a virtuous circle and gain motivation organically every day, boosting your mood, progressing on your pace or your sensations and most of all improving your day to day life. Of course, Strava isn't going to give you all of that, but it can help so, why not getting all the possible help?
First of all, Strava can be used as your monitoring device when you run, like many competitors, Strava has a GPS monitoring app that you can start on your phone when you start your run. And it will give you the distance, pace, time, route, etc… All the information you need when you run. It obviously doesn't give you your heartbeat but unless you are a pro, you don't really need this information to start running. Even if you are a total beginner and you might think that you don't need to know how fast you are going, for how long and how far, you will pretty soon realize that this is the best way of evaluating performances and then keep improving toward your goals. Of course, if you already have a running watch, I think that the results you will get with it are almost always better than the results you will get with Strava monitoring, so I would keep the watch. But don't forget to connect it to Strava to download your activity there, and it will allow you to benefit from all the other points below.
Secondly, Strava is a social media for runners and cyclists. You could summarize it as the Facebook of runners if you wish. You "post" your running activities, and the people who are your "friends" will see them in their "Dashboard - Activities Feed" and can comment them or give you "likes" which are called "kudos" on Strava. This is the extraordinary power of Strava, it makes you part of a community. It gives you all the social boost you need. Don't hesitate to follow as many people as you can, look at their runs, give them kudos, give them encouraging comments, ask them questions. You will be part of the community and therefore you have a lot more to get if you just give a little. You can even follow me here. By the way, I looove kudos! Just saying in case you don't know what to give me for Christmas.
Furthermore, Strava will become a gigantic database of all your performances, it will allow you to look back and see how much you have run this month, this year, etc… It will keep track of your Personal Best or Personal Record (PB or PR) for 5K, 10K half and full marathons, to name a few. It is a wonderful way of assessing yourself and try to progress. One of my biggest "Eureka" moments came from looking at my 2 first weeks of my marathons training for Paris Marathon 2020 when I realized that during these 2 weeks I had run a total of 9h35 and I wasn't using this time at all. I realized that if I started to listen to audiobooks instead of stupid podcast about football, I could read 15 books more at least this year (I will publish soon an article about this). And all of this came from the capability of Strava to show me the bigger picture of my training! I don't think you need to do fancy analysis about each individual training that you do, at least not at the beginning, not before you trying to get a Boston Qualifying for instance. But knowing that you have run 37 miles in February and 56 miles in March should make you realized all the progress you have made!
I realized that it might look like I am selling you a product or a cult… I must say that I don't earn any money by writing this article, and my only personal benefit would be to see more people achieving their running goals! I also think that if you can find another platform that offers as much as I describe then go for it, I use Strava because I like it but if you have other references go ahead and register! I like Strava but I also know it isn't perfect, there are some bugs in the app, there are some features that are reserved for paying customers which I am not part of. At the moment I don't see enough benefits in paying for the functionalities offered. Maybe because I am not such a good performer yet, so I don't need a fancy training analysis of my heartbeat or segment yet. Maybe it will come, who knows?
One thing that Strava is amazing for, is for all these little challenges. It looks like nothing when you are not into it, but believe me, once you start you are going to get addicted pretty fast! Let me explain. You can subscribe to challenges that are based on your activities, a typical challenge would be "February 10K Run", which is basically a challenge that will need you to perform a full 10K in 1 activity registered on Strava, of at least 10K run in February. Quite simple, very motivating and incredibly addicting! Some other challenges are even more addicting, like the "February Running Distance Challenge" where you need to accumulate as much km as possible, and if you manage to run 200km during the month you get a badge and the incredible feeling of having accomplished something huge during this month! You can not imagine how often I ran longer runs on the last few days of the month just to complete a challenge. I know it sounds stupid, I know it seems vain, but try it and put your feedback in the comments! My philosophy is that anything which will help you run should be encouraged. Literally everything! If you run because you want to spend time with someone who loves running, it's good for you. If accomplishing virtual challenges that have value only to your own eyes (and all the Strava runners too) makes you wake up this morning for a run, then it is a good thing! I explain here why I think you have to define your running goals if you want to progress so check this article and let me know what you think.
Now, I am going to write the next line for the person you will be in 1 month, 3 months, 1 year. Please go to your Strava account and open your profile, and open the Trophee Case page, scroll up and down to look at everything you have accomplished. Look and contemplate all the hard work you have put together to gain all of these trophies. All of that because some time ago you decided that you wanted to enter a virtuous circle by registering to Strava and make you seen and helped by others. All this because you have had the guts to show to the world that you are capable of moving mountains when you put your mind to it!
I hope I convinced you that using tools like Strava will help you to improve as a runner but as a person too. I hope that the next thing you will do to progress in your running transformation is to subscribe to it. If you have decided to subscribe, you can click here. If you want to follow me on Strava by all mean go ahead and click here. I am giving as much kudos as possible and as much encouragement as I can to pull everyone up! That is how we all go up together!