How Runners Can Get The Best Out of Strava


, by Nick Bester

From finding inspiring athletes to follow, to planning your routes, there are a number of ways that Strava users can get the most out of the platform, as run coach Nick Bester explains.

Strava has changed the game in the running world. Pre-Strava we had to use logbooks to document our weekly training. Ah, those were the days. But Strava is now saving us so much time - and giving us easy access to data, meaning we can easily reference certain training runs.

Here are some of the things that help me get the most out of Strava:

Follow runners who motivate and inspire you

It’s highly motivating to see the work that other athletes are putting in. Often, I find that following runners who are stronger than you can be really inspiring. Seeing them show up, day in and day out, and the work that goes into it, often makes your training seem more achievable.

RELATED: Runners You Should Follow on Strava

We live in a day and age where elite runners are sharing more and more of their training sessions. In previous years this was often kept as a secret, with elite runners not disclosing very much. These days, you’ll find lots of professional runners on Strava showcasing all their training. After seeing the work they put into it and how hard they train, it then makes sense when you see them smashing a race performance. What’s more, you often get new and improved session ideas that can be incorporated into your own training.

Following elite runners is not only great for motivation, but can give you training ideas as well. Photography by: Terria Clay

If you’re following an athlete who is running at the level you’d like to get to, then you can see the training that goes into it. This doesn’t mean you’ll necessarily run the same time but it just gives you a good indicator of what sort of training it takes to get there.

Follow accounts that give you good running tips

In running, there is always more to learn - no matter what level of athlete you are. The more you learn in the sport, the smarter you can train and the more productive you can become.

RELATED: 7 Easy Tips for Improving Your Run Training

As a coach, I try to give as many training tips and pieces of advice to fellow athletes as I can on my Strava. I often get asked a lot of questions and get back to as many as possible. It's a perfect platform where you can showcase training and then talk through why you did things in a certain way.

Keeping a Training Log

As mentioned previously, before Strava we had to keep a training book which we wrote daily. Strava now syncs with pretty much every smartwatch or fitness tracker, or you can even track your run directly through the Strava app. This gives you clear, concise access to your data, such as your weekly, monthly, or annual mileage. This is super useful when you want to gauge how many miles you’re currently doing, compared to when you were at your best. I also love the fact that it’s simple and quick to go back to times when you were at your fittest and see what sessions you were doing.

Making use of Strava Routes

Strava Routes is a useful tool if you’re traveling on holiday or to a location where you haven’t run before. Strava will show you the most commonly run routes and also makes it easy to create your routes according to the distance you’re looking to run. Strava summarizes it all quite nicely by giving you the elevation and an overview of your route map before your run. It’s then quite simple to sync this to your fitness tracker or smartwatch if you have that feature. You then have a much better-planned route than if you were to just run out the door clueless. Wow - what did people do back in the day?

Strava segments and local legends

As runners, we all have a competitive side. I don’t know if you’ve ever had the crown for a segment (fastest in that specific segment), but if another runner is faster in that segment, you get a notification saying someone has stolen your crown - one of the worst emails for me to receive. I once switched segment leads with another runner about 10 times. The final time, I put on my racing shoes and took that segment even more seriously than a race, giving it an absolute full send at 5 AM. I probably went quicker during that segment than I had in the race before. It was worth it as that was the last time that segment ever switched hands.

RELATED: How to Use Strava to Optimize Your Training

Segments bring out the competitive side in all of us. You can also become the local legend if you’ve run a specific segment the most number of times. Once again, if another runner does the segment more than you, then you get notified and I am no longer the local legend. Best you put your shoes on and reclaim the title back the next day.

Seeing the details of races you’ve done in the past or those you have coming up

Strava allows you to prepare for a race much better than before. Looking at the route gives you an accurate overview of what the course map looks like and where the hills are, allowing you to plan for your race better than before and to come up with a strategy you feel would be best for that specific race.

There are heaps more benefits I could go into it but, in summary, Strava has definitely allowed me and others to level up training, remain motivated, and hold each other more accountable.

You know how the saying goes: ‘If it’s not on Strava, it doesn’t count.’

I hope you’re getting those Kudos!

Onwards and upwards,

Coach Nick

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