I started using Strava at the request of my running Coach (Peter Fain, Run on Dirt) – it is one of our primary communication tools. I was instantly hooked by the ease of viewing my activities and overall statistics.
Here’s how it works: you use your existing GPS watch or the free Strava app to record your runs. The tools work with most GPS watches after you get it all set up. Follow the instructions on the Strava website for your watch. Give your run a name after it’s uploaded and you’re good to go.
Those are the simple basics. From there, Strava will tabulate your miles per week as well total vertical climbed. You can go back to any activity to see the GPS route, hill profile, mile splits and pace.
Here are a few tips to get you started with your Strava training log:
1.) Privacy. If you want to keep your activities completely private, you can “Make my activities private by default” in the Privacy section of your account Settings. You will miss out on many of the fun social features of Strava, but can still harness the power of the training log.
2.) Activity type. Be sure to indicate the correct “Activity Type” for each workout. Your stats will be meaningless if your mountain bike ride looks like a really fast run. You can set your default activity type to “Running” or “Cycling” in the Display Preferences section of your account Settings. You can always change the Activity Type on individual workouts.
3.) More workout info. You edit individual activities using the pencil icon. In addition to Activity Type, you can also set a Run Type, including: Run, Race, Long Run and Workout. If you indicate which shoes you used, then you have a built-in log of your mileage per shoe. Here is also where you can turn on or off privacy for a specific activity.
4.) Titles, description & comments. Make your titles meaningful to remember the run, location and/or how it went that day. The Description field in the activity is less visible (and impossible to find on the mobile app), so I don’t use this often. Instead, I may add a comment to my own activity as a way to communicate with my Coach.
5.) Manual entry. Forgot your watch? No problem. If you have your phone with you, use the Strava app to record your run. If all else fails, you can use “Add manual entry” to create a record of your run. This is also your method for adding other types of workouts (Yoga, Swim, Crossfit, etc…). Note that manual entry doesn’t give you a way to enter elevation gain/loss, so if that is an essential part of the workout, be sure to make a note.
For now, have fun with your training log and next time I’ll write about the heart of Strava: leaderboards and some friendly social competition.