I really, really like Strava.com. I may even be a little obsessed with it. If you haven’t checked out Strava, please give it a try. It is a great resource for runners and cyclists – it’s a very useful and easy to use tool for breaking down and improving your runs and it keeps you focused and motivated. I encourage all my running friends, from novice to seasoned athletes, to get on this site.
When you upload your run, you see your route mapped out, you get your elevation, pace, calories burned as well as “awards” for any personal bests or course records you may have set. When you analyze your run, you see it broken down into 1km splits and you can see your elevation loss and gain per km as well as your grade adjusted pace. Being able to see your improvement over the short and long terms helps prevent discouragement.
The social aspect of this site is very encouraging too. It’s like Facebook for runners. I have 9 friends plus a few other local runners that I follow. You have the option of keeping any or all of your runs private if you want. However, I recommend that you have your runs visible to your friends. Followers can give you “kudos” on each run and you have the option of commenting on your run and discussing how it went.
This site also enables me to “virtually” train with a few of my out of town friends. Even though we live an hour away from each other, we’ve managed to train for a half and full marathon together. When I come in from running and post my run, I often find that they were running at the same time as me and we can chat about our run. It’s also encouraging for me when I don’t have the motivation to get myself out the door. I’ll log into my Strava account and find that my friends have been out running and I feel compelled to get my butt out and run.
Strava is compatible with a number of GPS watches and phone programs and has its own program you can download to your smart phone making it available to almost everyone.
There are a number of other features that help you mix it up a bit. You can set “segments” up – I usually set up my hills as segments – and it keeps track of your best times as well as the best times of any other Strava runners that happen to run through your segment. I find it helps me to push that extra bit on hills that I might either normally avoid or take it easy on, to see if I can get that new personal best.
Strava also offers a number of monthly challenges that you can join. There is usually one challenging you to see how many kilometers you can log in one month, and there are usually other challenges like running a 10k, half or full marathon, or seeing how much elevation you can log. You then can see where you rank against runners all over the world. We just completed a 10 day elevation challenge this past month that I will write about in the near future.
These challenges have helped me to log more distance than I ever thought I could in a month – they also make me go a little nuts sometimes – but that’s another blog…
If you are looking for a free, easy to use, social place to analyze, share and improve your running and cycling activities, definitely check this site out.