I am being facetious of course. But Strava has got a bit of a reputation for being the “Facebook of exercise”. It is essentially a social fitness network that you can use to track running, cycling and swimming using GPS by connecting to your smartphone or other fitness device. You can also manually enter data to keep a record of all your training in a single place.
It has become incredibly popular, boasting around 8 million activity uploads a day. The popularity of this app even proved problematic for the US military, giving away locations of US army camps in areas like Afghanistan, Djibouti and Syria by suddenly showing a hotspot of Strava activity. One can even go so far as to get an idea of the internal layout of the camp by tracking regular running routes of the military personal!
In matters entirely unrelated to national security, I enjoy making use of Strava as well. I was first introduced to the app when a friend of ours coached us from a distance as we trained for a half ironman. Sharing the training we did on Strava was a way for him to track our progress and make recommendations.
I have continued to use Strava for a few reasons:
It’s my exercise diary. It helps me keep a log of my runs and record comments such as how I felt, what niggles I noticed, what aspect of my running needs work, etc.
If you regularly run the same routes Strava will automatically match these runs so you can track improvement.
If you are away from your usual running spots you can see where popular routes are in that area.
Watching the exercise my friends are doing is a form of positive peer pressure that gets me into my takkies on days where I might have been keen to give it a skip. Especially if I notice that one of my fellow Fatties Anonymous members have got a run in (more on that soon)!
Strava Summit (a paid upgrade) gives you the option of live tracking an athlete during their activity. My husband and I use this feature to send a beacon that the other can track, allowing you to see where they are, how much distance they have covered and even what their phone battery is sitting at. It gives us peace of mind training in an area where we are quite remote.
The app is free to download so check it out if you are keen to start tracking your own training. And if you do, don’t forget to follow…
Mama on the Run