We all love Strava. Or hate it. Or spend hours obsessing over it while simultaneously pretending that we don’t care at all. As has been pointed out exhaustively—it’s a pretty polarizing piece of the social media puzzle.
I personally spend anywhere between five minutes and two hours a day on the site, a time usually determined by how impressive I deem my current activity levels. If I went on a run that boasts impressive stats, I’ll repeatedly open the page throughout the day at work just to look at the run—check my splits again, memorize my segment goals or simply just stare at mileage totals.
If I haven’t been doing anything impressive—or anything at all—I am far less likely to open the app throughout the day. I’m just going to see that Dylan Bowman ran 22 miles in a little over 40 minutes and summited Mt. Tam for the #108 time that week. Or that Anton Krupicka rode his bike 150 miles to the base of Longs Peak before skipping up the keyhole route and tagging the summit. Just a bunch of depressing shit mainly. But you can’t say that it isn’t motivating.
Strava at it’s best is a statistical catalog that allows you to track and share your endurance activities while giving you a transparent look at the training programs of your friends and some of your favorite athletes.
Like all social media, however, it can be horribly misused. Just like you have friends who suck at Facebook or Instagram whose name you dread seeing pop-up in your feed, we all have those people on Strava that we feel obligated to follow even though they suck at using it and perpetually flood your feed with garbage.
If you’re already one of those people who suck at Strava, just keep doing what you’re doing. If you are using it properly, please stop immediately and follow these six steps:
1. Break your run into as many parts as you possibly can. You would never want to have a single activity as your run on Strava. Then you’re just lumping your warm-up, cool-down and actual run into one thing. This is going to bring your average pace way down. Not cool.
If you can, try to break every run into 4 separate activities: pre-warm up, warm-up, run, cool-down, and post-cool down cool down. That way, we can all see your “real” pace during your workout but you can also flood all of your follower’s feeds with multiple activities. And— perhaps most importantly— you are effectively quadrupling your Kudo potential. Just think about all of those extra Kudos. They are going to make you feel sooo good.
2. Put EVERYTHING you do on Strava. Did you walk to the mailbox? Strava that shit. Did you walk around Whole Foods for 15 minutes? Strava the hell out of that shit. That’s mileage you gotta keep track of. When you’re looking back at your training log trying to figure out why you performed so well last year, the answer might be in all those walks down to the corner store for beers. You never know.
3. Log your indoor resistance training workouts (with details). I love it when I’m looking through my feed and I see “Lats and Core Work Today” or “4 x 10 reps of Bicep Curls”. This is really why I started using Strava. Oh, the motivation! I think I’m going to drop to floor right now and do 25 pushups so I can log it. I should probably take a photo too…
4. Sign up for every possible challenge that you can, every month, over and over again. Sign up for the 10k challenge every month, even though you run a 10k every other day. And definitely sign up for the open-ended challenges that track your mileage monthly, that way it pops up into feeds each time you run 25 or 50k. That’s better. I love when I can’t even see a single activity in my feed because all I can see are someone’s list of 14 current challenges. It’s awesome.
5. Create a bunch of segments-within-segments so you can find the perfect section where your time cracks the top ten. I know Strava says they don’t want you doing this but simply ignore all those warnings about your segments being to similar to existing segments. And definitely do NOT make it private. We all need to see these results and how amazing you are.
6. If you go running on the treadmill, please take a picture of the treadmill screen after you’re finished. Otherwise, you could totally be lying. Plus, when Strava updated their app to give photographs a much bigger role in the interface, this is exactly what they had in mind: treadmill photos. Just like treadmill runners are their target demographic for Strava Premium Memberships.