Ode to Strava

Written by abbynormally
February 10th, 2014

DISCLAIMER: I’m having a really hard time formatting this post, so I apologize in advance for the huge gaps around the screen shots and other annoying paragraph formatting. Sorry.

I’ve tried the DailyMile thing. I’ve tried Garmin Connect… neither of them were all that interesting and great. I’ve tried RunKeeper and MapMyRun. Blah. In fact, when I first got into married, I kept track of my mileage on some website that tracked your progress across the United States. That was more interesting than anything else, until David introduced me to Strava.

I love it! It’s both a training log and a social media platform. You can join challenges, race your friends on course segments and get a detailed analysis of each run and bike ride.

I’ve taken some screen shots to walk you through a few of the basics (there’s so much more to Strava than I am able to explain).

When you log in, this is what you see:

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On the left, you see the activities of those you follow, and on the right you will see your weekly progress, any goals or challenges you have entered, and a few other odds and ends.

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So each week I set my weekly running goal based on my running schedule (I believe that a weekly goal is only possible with a Premium account but it will show your weekly mileage with free accounts too). You can see that I set a goal for the Pittsburgh marathon and I have joined a Half Marathon challenge (which I haven’t completed yet).

To upload your activity you just click the “Upload Activity” link on the upper right hand corner, and you have a lot of options. You can upload activity from your Garmin or other GPS watches, files, and mobile apps.

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There are Cycling and Running Apps for iPhone and Android phones, so if you don’t have a Garmin, you can use the mobile app to track your run. Here’s a screen shot of a run viewed from my phone:

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First though, I’ll show you what my profile looks like. I get to my profile by clicking the arrow to the right of my name at the top right of the home screen and clicking on “My Profile”.

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The top of the profile shows a bar chart of my weekly mileage. You can change it to show time or elevation gain and weekly or monthly. Also, you’ll see that you can connect your Strava and Instagram accounts. On the right side, it shows you a lot of numbers. First it shows you running stats from the past four weeks. And then it shows you your best efforts, and finally it keeps a year-to-date tally of your running or cycling totals.

You can also compare your stats to that of other runners and cyclists. For example, when I go into David’s profile, the right hand side of the screen shows me this:

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I took these screen shots on different days, which is why my stats look different from each other… in case you were wondering.

And you can view each run in detail.

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This page gives you the run basics (distance, time, pace), plus things like elevation. It shows if you have any achievements on any segments–which I’ll explain in a bit. Then it breaks down all of your mile splits. And you can hover over any split and it shows your where that mile falls on the map. The “GAP” column shows “grade adjusted pace,” which basically means if you run mostly downhill, you run faster than usual, and uphill makes you run slower.

Scroll down and you’ll see this an elevation/pace chart. Like so:

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And it shows that the GAP of the run is 9:20 vs 9:23. The GAP is nothing significant. It’s just fun.

Ok. A couple more basics. First of all, if you run with someone else who also uses Strava, your runs will automatically sync when you upload them.

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Couple things quickly, because I’m getting bored.

1) You give “Kudos” to people (it’s like “liking” a Facebook status)
2) Strava members can create segments that they run and ride and compete for course records on those segments. When you run on a segment, Strava will automatically put you somewhere on the Leader Board and keep track of your personal bests and efforts on those segments. So on this run, there were two segments. I ran the fastest time of all women (thus the course record) and Dave ran 6th and 3rd fastest time of all men who have run those segments. If you click the little trophy to the right of the run, it shows all of your achievements from the run.

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The crowns indicate a time that lands you near the top of the leader board, and a medal indicates your own personal achievements.

In your profile, you can see a tab that keeps track of your Course Records and “King/Queen of the Mountains” (it’s a cycling thing, I’m told). You’ll see it shows if you are running or cycling, which segment you’re on, the distance, elevation, time and date. I only have four… I’m not that fast.

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On last thing that I’ll mention is about challenges. Like I joined a Half Marathon challenge, each month Strava offers challenges for running or riding as far as you can. Obviously I’ll  never be one of the top contenders in a challenge, but it’s a great way to keep myself motivated. This is February’s challenge:

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So there are some Strava basics for you. I love that it challenges me to be a better runner…but at the same time it makes it really hard to take it easy. I have to be so intentional about taking my slow runs slow, because I know that people can both view my runs AND dissect them. It’s a pride thing, but I’m working on it.










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One Response to “Ode to Strava”

  1. Dave says:

    thanks for the pathetic side by side comparison.

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