I, for one, feel that Facebook has really deteriorated over the last couple of years. My news feed is now overrun by people reposting “memories” of them taking drunk selfies at some party when they were younger and more attractive, sharing articles like “7 habits of successful people” or new moms posting 400 pictures of their child, that to be honest, all look identical.
I will no doubt regret saying this when I have a child and my wife, who is a notorious Facebook photographer, does the exact same thing.
I have moved over to Twitter for most of my news and information and for all social media related content and interaction I now use Strava.
If you are an athlete and have not heard of Strava then you have probably been living in North Korea for the last couple of years. Strava is a website and mobile app used to track athletic activity. In addition to this basic function, it allows you to follow friends and other Strava user’s activity and interact with them. The activities are posted on a news feed that provides data relating to that individual’s activity such as distance, speed, heart rate etc. Strava pulls the data from any sports device such as a Garmin, Sunto, Tom Tom etc but also allows a person to track basic information using the GPS function on their mobile phone through the App
Similar to the Facebook “LIKE” function, you can receive “KUDOS” from other users for your activities and it even allows people to leave comments. Some of my favorites comments include “why so slow?” or “looks like you hit the wall”. This function allows for peer recognition and approval that we humans so deeply yearn for.
There are a few terms that you will need to become accustomed to as a Strava user:
Strava Segment - is a section on a course where you are timed against your previous attempts and, more importantly, the times of other friends and users.
Strava hunting – this is the art of identifying a segment on a course and then attempting to beat other Strava users or your friends at all costs. Although Strava hunting often leads to exhaustion and failure to complete a full session, there is little more satisfying than beating your friends.
Strava Pressure - Strava can cause great anxiety. If I am going through a period where I am training very little then I try to stay off Strava. The anxiety that it causes me knowing that my friends and peers are training hard while I am sitting on the couch is too much for me to handle. Strava pressure can also cause you to completely overdo it, with the knowledge that people are always watching and judging.
There are a few people that I would strongly suggest you follow:
Lance Armstrong: Although Lance has been stripped of his Tour de France titles he is still claiming it with pride on Strava. I find it very interesting to see what he is getting up to in his retirement.
Adrian Ballinger: Adrian is a climber and adventurer. He posts his expeditions on Strava for the world to see. The most notable being an attempt to summit Everest in May this year.
Ben Hoffman: Winner of Ironman south Africa 2016, Ben logs sessions that prove how incredible these pro triathletes really are. In his build up to Kona (Ironman World Champs) this month there was a day where he biked 252km and then ran 10km at 3.56min/km off the bike.
Taylor Swift once wrote, “This is a new year. A new beginning. And things will change.” . Although it may not be a new year, this could be a new beginning and a change from Facebook to Strava can only be a positive one.
So If you still haven’t joined the Strava community then I suggest you sign up ASAP and join the social media world of the athlete.