Getting Started with Strava
There’s loads of information on the internet to help you get the most out of your Strava but read on for a bit of an overview and a very basic guide to getting started.
We’ve all heard runners talking about Strava: “If it’s not on Strava it didn’t happen” or “I saw your run on Strava, well done”.
But what is Strava?
In its simplest form it is a digital running community as well as an app so you can:
• Record your activities, whether that’s running, cycling, swimming, skiing etc.
• See detailed statistics about your pace and effort.
• Share your experiences with other runners.
• Follow inspirational and elite athletes and see how their training is going.
• Have an overview of all your activities over your whole Strava life.
You can keep your information private if you like, but it’s nice to share your activities with others. You can comment on your contacts’ activities, give them kudos and be inspired by their runs and routes.
There are lots more features to help your training and motivate you
How to open a Strava account
There are two types of Strava accounts: Strava free or Strava Summit. To open either of these go to strava.com.
With a free account you can:
• Record your runs, and compare your running times on regular routes
• Go segment bashing – segments are sections of routes that others have nominated as good sections for you to try to improve your times on.
• Record your gear, so you know how many miles you’ve run in your shoes.
• Earn ‘local legend’ status for the most runs on a particular segment.
• You can post photos from your runs and you can see your friends’ runs.
• You can join virtual challenges.
Once you open a Strava account, you either carry your phone on your runs or use your smartwatch to record your activity.
If you don’t have a Smartwatch, such as a Garmin or Polar, then you open your Strava app on your phone, press record, then set off. Stop the run on your phone when you finish which then automatically uploads your data to your Strava account.
If you are using a Smartwatch, you don’t need to carry your phone. Instead record your activity on your watch, at the end of your run it will be uploaded to your Garmin Connect account or Polar Flow account. You can set these to send your data direct to your Strava app without you having to do anything else.
For most people the free account is more than sufficient
To get some really detailed statistics though, you can opt for a Summit account which costs around £4 per month. There are many more features to take advantage of, such as advanced heart rate analysis, personalised fitness trends and custom leaderboards. One particularly useful feature of the premium account is the safety beacon.
To use the safety beacon you need to carry your phone, regardless of whether or not you are recording your run through your Smartwatch. Start an activity to record and Strava will ask you if you want to send a ‘beacon message’. You nominate your safety contact from anyone in your phone book and Strava messages your contact with a link to your run in real time.
Have fun using your Strava app, and look out for the Up & Running Strava club, join up and you can contribute to Up & Running’s weekly mileage!