I’ve been running for eight months on a (mostly) regular basis now. In my ‘running career’ I’ve installed various running apps for my iPhone but I can Strava is best running app for beginners.

Why do I like it?

1. It’s Free

Let’s be honest, we don’t like paying for apps regardless of how little they cost. It’s one of our weird human tendencies and while I have paid for apps (Trail Wallet is awesome), when I told a friend I was going to do Couch 2 5k, I gave up right away when I couldn’t figure out how to get my credit card to work.

You can download on iTunes here, and Google Play here.

2. Three Clicks To Start Recording A Run

screen shots of strava

The three clicks: 1. Open App | 2. Press Record | 3. Press Start

The app is easy to use. Within three clicks you can get started recording your run. While they’ve added lots of functionality, the primary function is put first.

3. The Social Aspect (If You Want To Be Social)

I have a few friends who I follow closely on Strava (you can add your contacts from your phone and Facebook and by using the search function). Opening the app and seeing their activities is always a good motivator. You are able to comment and tag people in comments in addition to giving people kudos (equivalent to the Facebook Like button). After your run you can share it on social media (above).

There are rumours Strava is going to improve on the social aspects of the app in 2018 and beyond. But you don’t have to be social on the platform at all if you don’t want to be.

In saying that, ADD ME! I want Strava friends, you can follow me here. Leave a comment on one of my runs and I’ll add you back.

4. The Gamification

It wouldn’t be a modern app without a little bit of gamification, they use trophies. They are for personal records like your fastest mile, fastest 400m, longest run, etc. But there are also trophies for beating your fastest times in a segment. Segments are uploaded to the app by uses and are automiatcially tracked if you start and finish a segment. One such segment might be the San Francisco Bridge for example.

5. The Challenges & Clubs

may strava challenge

The May Strava Challenge For Runners (don’t judge me)

You can access these features using the explore icon at the bottom of the app, then search for different challenges and/or clubs you want to join.

Not all clubs are active, but the Vegan Velocity club I’m in has a good number of active users posting their activities. The screenshot above is from the May Running Challenge that all Strava users can join if they like.

6. There’s More To The App Than Uploading Your Running Activities

If you are into cycling, you can use Strava to track your rides too. I’m not a cyclist so haven’t used this feature yet but see a couple friends posting from both their rides and runs regularly. If you like to do both, the ability to use the one app is ideal.

But wait, there’s more than running and cycling. You can add anything from swimming, rock climbing, ice skating, windsurfing…you get the idea.

Fun Fact: Strava is Swedesih for “strive”.

7. The App Has History (Not Likely To Go Away Soon)

Hundreds of running apps are released every year. Some get zero traction, some get a little bit of momentum before they die away and bugs never get fixed, and a tony few stand the test of time. Strava was launched in 2009 and has while they don’t release numbers of users, they have mentioned there are ‘tens of millions of users’ there was 1.3 billion thumbs ups on the app in 2016 (source).

8. It Doesn’t Delete Your Run If Your Phone Dies

This one is crucial. Charging your phone is like an endless process and sometimes you need to run the risk of your battery dying before you finish. It has happened to me a couple times, and if you do end up in that situation, you can open the app back and upload the data it did manage to record before dying. You won’t see me running with a battery pack anytime soon…

9. You Can See All Your Data On Desktop

I almost forgot this one. All you data is synced to a cloud account so you can upload your activities from multiple devices and see it all on one account, including from a desktop.

What Are The Alternatives To Strava?

There are dozens of running apps out there with the main competitors including MapMyRun, Nike+, and MyFitnessPal. You might prefer these apps for running, but I’m a Strava main all the way.

Is Strava Premium Worth It?

I tried out the one-month free trial and didn’t use any of the extra functions you get. So for me, it isn’t. But try it out for yourself, we all like free things.

If you want to ask me any questions about Strava, feel free to do so in the comments below or email me: jub@tikitouringkiwi dot com