The Runners Complete Guide To Strava

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Cross Training For Runners
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Written by :

David Dack

Looking to get the most out of Strava? Then you have come to the right place.

Since its launch in 2009, Strava has become the go-to “social network for athletes”—runners are no exception.

This app has become a phenomenon in the endurance world as countless athletes upload their workouts and activities to their profiles and share them with friends.

So what is Strava? How to use it? And most importantly, how to get the most out of it? That’s where today’s post comes in handy.

Whether you’ve never used Strava before or it has been a part of your training plan for a while, you’ll get something out of this post.

Note – Since Runners Blueprint is primarily catered to runners, I’ll be focusing mainly on the running aspect of the app in my review.

What is Strava?

Strava is a “free” activity monitoring platform that can be used through an app on your phone or the via the web. It helps you become a better runner by tracking your training, setting benchmarks, and joining challenges.

Thanks to the app, you’ll be able to monitor your training, upload your workouts, follow other athletes, create your routes, join challenges and clubs, and so much more.

You can keep track of your workouts, including your runs, strength sessions, cycling, yoga, etc., all in one place, thus, providing a wealth of data and an accurate record of your training efforts.

The app can also monitor your shoe mileage which lets you know when it’s time to look for a new pair—without having succumbed to injury.

What’s more?

Using the app, you don’t need a fancy fitness tracker or heart rate monitor.

In addition to tracking your training,

Forget about Facebook or Instagram—Strava is the perfect social media network for active folks.

Strava has a big community where you can upload your post updates, share workout, connects with other runes, make friends, join challenges, join running clubs, and so much more.

Is Strava Free?

Just like most fitness apps, Strava is available as both a free and subscription-based app. The free version includes route tracking and long-term data collection.

It also grants you access to the community aspect of the app. And yes, you can do plenty of things on the app’s free version.

The paid version, or what’s known as Strava Summit, grants you full access to all the extra features. To be a Summit subscriber, you’ll have to pay around $5 per month or $59.99 per year.

Strava Summit is divided into three packs:

  • Training
  • Safety, and
  • Analysis

You can purchase these individually or all together—depending on your needs.

How To Start Using Strava?

First of all, you’ll need to set up your Strava account. You can use your Google or Facebook info, but if you care about your privacy (you should), then feel free to kick off the account creation process with your email.

The moment you launch the app, Strava will quickly ask you to fill out a few basic information, such as confirming your name, providing gender and birthday, uploading a photo—you know, the essentials.

Next, you have to follow the instructions, and you’re in.

For more profile customization, check all the setting options.

Additional Resource – Virtual Races Guide

How to Record An Activity

When recording your activities with Strava, you have three choices.

  • You can enter the information manually
  • Record your run with the Strava app while keeping your phone with you while running
  • Sync the date from a fitness tracker or a GPS watch.

Let me explain each


All you have to do is choose the PLUS sign (located upper right on the desktop) and then choose the manual entry option. Next, feel free to add as many details as you know.

Strava App

This is an easier method. You just tap the Record tab on the app, and there you can go. You can change any settings as needed.

Fitness Tracker

As long as you’re using one of the many popular brands Strava recognizes, you can link your Strava profile with the fitness tracker or GPS watch of your choice, so that activated logged on, it’ll instantly sync and upload to Strava.

Additional Resource  – Here’s your guide to advanced running metrics

Monitoring Your Progress

Whether you’re using the free or paid version, Strava provides you data in different ways that make it easier to keep tabs on what you’ve done, how the month of training compares to another as well as your yearly averages.

Thanks to Strava, you’ll be able to see your weekly training load laid out on your profile, highlighting the days you trained.

The app can also create a graph showing how your performance compares when running a route you’ve done before. Again, this is super helpful if performance boosting is your goal.

What’s more?

Signing up for the Analysis option on Strava lets you see a chart indicating your “relative effort.” This examines how your last workout compares against your usual level.

Additional Resource – Your Guide To Running Heart Rate Zones

How to Use Strava

So how do you get started using Strava?


First, download and install the app, which is compatible with most Android and iOS devices. I don’t need to show you how to download an app, right?

Once the app is ready and running on your phone, you’ll be swiftly prompted to fill in your data.

To add more details to the app, freely free change to privacy settings, and uncover more about the community features, you’ll need to go and get it for yourself.

Additional Resource  – Running for time Vs. distance

How To Join The Strava Community

Now that you know a thing or two about the inner workings of the app, let’s get to the fun part o the app, which is the social element.

I suggest you take the time to explore the app features on the mobile app, as they’re designed much more intuitively.

To make the most out of the community aspect of Strava, start by joining Strava clubs near you (simply tap on Clubs, and you’ll see suggestions for Strava clubs in your region). Choose any that seem interesting, then join.

You can also join a challenge, pitying yourself virtually against thousands of others users to complete running challenges of a certain number of miles a month, etc.

You can also look up your runner friends’ profiles by searching them out to see their updates and posts. Yes, it works exactly just like Twitter or Instagram.

And remember to give them “kudos” on their workouts, which is the Strava equivalent of a like.

Additional resource – Your guide to heart rate variability

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