18th June 2017
Strava came up in conversation today. Over a very well-deserved breakfast. (Which, incidentally, was delicious).
Following my epiphany about training, the one about perfection, I embraced the inner turtle, which meant I trained today! It’s like a miracle.
So, there we were, sitting around in a caff in Nundah, having cycled, swum, cycled, run. In a turtle fashion. (At least in my case)…
And we got onto the topic of Strava.
And as we sat round discussing training over breakfast with Ian, a recent convert to the Garmin cult, I realised there was an obvious appetite for this type of information.
And clearly, with my technical savvy, I realised I could fill a gap by explaining Strava, for the uninitiated.
So here’s the thing. Once you have a Garmin, you have to get on Strava, or your training basically no longer counts for anything. BECAUSE that is what Strava does. It validates your training. There is a saying: if it ain’t on Strava, it never happened. And it’s more than a tag line. It’s fact.
Just don’t ask me about attaching Garmin to Strava. It’s not that it’s hard – even I managed to do it, and now everything recorded on my Garmin is also in Strava – I just can’t quite remember what I did. That’s the tech part of this blog. #yourewelcome
The other thing about Strava is that it was invented in Sweden. And whilst I haven’t consulted Google Translate, I’m 99.5%^ certain that the English translation of Strava is “stalker”.
Because Strava is actually about stalking. In a good way, you understand.
You stalk performance. Of other athletes that you know. Not actually to track them to their house, or anything sinister and creepy.
There’s no camping involved with Strava. It’s for athletes. There’s no time for that kind of weird behaviour because you have to get kudos and work your way up the leaderboard. (We’ll get on to that). So, you can’t waste time hanging around outside someone’s dwelling. Or being static. You have to get that next block of activity on the charts…
On the face of it, Strava is like the Facebook of the athletic world. You “like” activity (a.k.a. giving kudos), “comment” on activity and get inspired by how well those in your social sporting sphere are doing.
There are also leaderboards. Clubs or groups each set up their own, you
grovel request to join, and once you’re in, your weekly activity is totted up to compete for leaderboard domination.
I’m particularly fond of the categories that measure time spent on an activity. This lends itself to those of us partying at the back of the pack. We spend longer going the same distance. Turtles can dominate this category. In theory.
(It is sometimes spoiled by the more gifted long course/ultra athletes that just enjoy the feeling of being awesome, and stay out running, riding and swimming for the sheer joy of it **…)
Over breakfast, we got talking about a certain coach we know, who is a very gifted runner. And some of his Strava entries showed that he’d been running what we’d class as a long run at around 4:30km/h pace for recovery. #WTF
(If I hit that pace for more than 3 seconds, I’m air pumping for the next 10 minutes in absolute glee).
BTW – I don’t know how any of us were aware of this. Because, obviously, we only use Strava for validating our activity. And not for what it’s name implies.
And then we got onto whether elite athletes use Strava to psyche out the competition?
None of us knew.
But that was when I came up with a brilliant business plan.
I am going to acquire a pack of dawgs that like to run and hire them out to elites who are a little weary, but need to get inside the minds of their opposition. The dawgs will have special collars that safely hold the elite’s Garmin, and then I will unleash the running puppy for several kilometres, whilst the elite has a little nap, before handing back their device.
The elite can upload the Garmin data to Strava, write a comment against the awesome speedy trace saying something along the lines of “easy cool down run – 20km @ 2:55km/h” and chuckle evilly knowing the opposition just died a little inside.
My teammates all laughed nervously when I suggested it.
Perhaps this is why I’m not living in the lap of luxury on my earnings as a successful entrepreneur…
Anyhoo, there you have it, the outsider guide to Strava. You probably don’t need to consult any other technical guide ever….
^ This level of certainty might be slightly overstated – I may have had a glass of vino…
**It’s OK – I don’t know what that means either.