The list of running apps is endless but we champion the use of Strava. With its talk of leaderboards and course records, it may seem too competitive to some but it’s great for motivation and being part of a virtual community
Strava is super easy to use, open the app, tap the big record button, and off you go. When you finish, stop, press save and hey presto, you get a little outline of your route and it has recorded your data. So far, so like every other app but it is in the way that the data is presented which is the real key to Strava’s appeal.
I don’t know about you, but I can NEVER remember how fast or slow I ran a certain distance from one month to the next, let alone from last year (I even struggle to remember the ‘big’ races like marathons). Strava does it all for you, on every single run. So, if you’ve just started running and sticking to the same route, day by day, you’ll be able to see whether you’re getting faster. Just tap into the saved run and scroll down, where you’ll be able to see little medals, with 3, 2 or PR (personal record) depending on your run.
One of the best things about Strava is it helps you to connect, share, and be motivated by other runners. You can follow others (if they accept your request) and see their routes, speed, distance they run and give them kudos by clicking the thumb button. Alternatively, click the speech bubble and write a message. It’s so supportive when you get a comment from someone else, so don’t be afraid to do it.
This also means that, you can find others to run with in your area. It might sound strange contacting a total stranger, but you can soon build up a picture of someone from following their running and seeing the comments they post, to figure out whether you’d want to run with them and vice versa. I’ve increased the number of people I run with (I ALWAYS have days when I don’t want to run, so having a big pool of other women to go and run with is invaluable) means I’m never without a running buddy.
‘Segments’ are small sections (anything from 100metres upwards – see the first image) of popular routes, like parkrun, hilly sections or well known parts of races that have been created by other Strava users. When you run it, Strava automatically places you on a ‘leaderboard.’ If you place high on the leaderboard, you might even get a little golden cup with a number, to show your place. And, if you’re really fast, you could even get a course record, denoted by a crown. (Girls Run the World will soon be creating our segments for our runners around the UK – to find them, login on your computer, go to explore, find segments and search).
‘Huh, who cares, I’d never place on a leaderboard?’ I hear you say. But, even if you’re a beginner, seeing if you can move up the boards can help motivate you to run faster. Or, if you’re part of a Strava club (such as Girls Run The World) you will be able to see where you place amongst runners in your area from the club on certain sections.
Of course, sometimes, you just want to go out and run chat. But if you are running on your own and need some motivation, choosing one with a segment on it which you can try and run faster is a way of refreshing your running training.
That’s just a very brief background to why we love Strava at Girls Run the World and how it could help you. To set it up, we’ve created a brief video which highlights some of the other benefits and added extra that Strava provides.
And don’t forget, if you don’t want Strava to record your stopping time, turn Auto Pause on. Do this by pressing record, and then tapping the top left hand corner (1). Then choose Auto Pause (2) and toggle this on (3).