Beginner’s Guide to Strava

Photo Julio Barajas

Photo Julio Barajas

Strava, (Swedish for Strive) has exploded on the app market as one of the most popular running and cycling social media apps since first released in 2009.  Strava has grown popular among athletes wanting to improve their performance, track their running or cycling statistics and offers the means to give fellow athletes “Kudos.”  In recent months the San Francisco based company has added additional activities, currently 25 in all, e.g., swimming, hiking, canoeing, ice skating, and Alpine skiing just to name a few, enabling Strava users to track and retrieve metrics.

Photo Julio Barajas

Photo Julio Barajas

Whether using a mobile device, smartwatch, or GPS computer, Strava is a great gateway to track information such as speed, mileage, power output and effort level.

Along your local routes, you will find sections of roads that have been created by other users called Segments.  It’s a great way to compare yourself to previous attempts while going through that segment enabling you to compare yourself with others that have also attempted that same segment.

Among these performance features, you also have the opportunity to purchase Strava safety features such as Personal Heatmaps, a tool that allows you to view your route history.

Photo Julio Barajas

Photo Julio Barajas

Beacon is another safety feature which will allow you to choose a personal contact that can view your location in real time. This feature is great for those who go out on solo rides or activities and provide your loved one’s peace of mind.

Maintenance

I’ve used Strava not only for the reasons mentioned but as my personal odometer.  I like to keep my bike in tip-top shape and Strava helps keep track of the mileage I’ve put on my bike allowing me to gauge how components are wearing in order to replace things like the chain, tires, etc. before they wear out, as well as track the frequency of de-greasing and re-greasing the bike chain at the appropriate time.

Planned Routes

Photo Julio Barajas

Photo Julio Barajas

Using Heatmaps provides a great way to locate routes you would otherwise have been unaware of. This can assist in planning out a safe route for your commute, or discover new roads to that favorite cafe stop.

                                                                                                    Monthly Stats

Photo Julio Barajas

Photo Julio Barajas

Strava sends out an e-mail summary of your monthly stats which helps keep you motivated to either go out more often, give yourself kudos for going further, longer and more often.

Performance

Strava also aids in keeping track of performance. I like to check how many PR’s (Personal Records) are achieved on a recent ride comparing to previous rides over that same area. These stats determine improvement over time and effort for that particular section.

Connecting With Other Athletes

Strava is a great way to connect with nearby athletes, share images of activities, give each other Kudos, comment on each other’s feed, encourage each other and discover local cycling clubs.  Click HERE to create your own Strava account.

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