I started using Strava again …

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I started using Strava again.

It has been 2 years since I last used it. I didn’t like how it turned every ride into a competition. I subscribe to the polarized training model. Have you heard of it? If not, Road Cycling UK does an excellent job of explaining the method and benefits here. Basically, athletes spend 20% of their training doing intense training, and 80% doing easy, Zone 1 workouts. Many of the top endurance athletes train this way.

You can see the problem I had with Strava. I was working hard every ride, at least on some KOM segments.

Strava automatically allocates your time to any segment that you ride through and upload to its site. It then creates a league table of who is fastest, with the fastest being given a small yellow crown icon and the title of KOM (King of the Mountain) or QOM (Queen of the Mountain).

All of my regular routes include many KOM segments, and I was training hard every day whether I intended to or not. So, I stopped. Instead, I began relying on my heart rate monitor, recording the time spent in each of the training zones each day. This way I knew what route to ride, and how hard to train every day.

So why did I start using the app again, you ask?

Well, I have taken on this 10,000 km challenge – that’s right 10,000 km cycling in 2019 – and need to automatically record my annual distance and elevation gain. My cycle computer doesn’t maintain YTD stats or upload to an on-line site for analysis. Also, it only supports 2 different bikes. I regularly ride 3 different road bikes each with different tire sizes – 35 mm, 32 mm, and 28 mm – and subsequently different tire diameters. With Strava, I don’t have to worry about any of this. I simply have to load the app, press start, and stop when I finish.

I just hope I pay much less attention to the KOM segments his time, and continue with the polarized methods.

Do you use Strava?

Maybe you have other apps you prefer. I’d appreciate your input.

11 thoughts on “I started using Strava again …

  1. I have a Strava account but I haven’t been accepting friend requests on it, for semi-similar reasons. I wasn’t liking the feeling that I was competing with everyone else on my list. I didn’t want to keep comparing myself to others. I keep the account because I like the way it displays my information and will look at my workouts on that app from time to time. It’s tricky, isn’t it? Having others to compete against can help make you push yourself in a good way. But it also can have a negative impact as well. It’s trying to find that balance that’s important. I wasn’t finding it so I just stopped using it to see what others are doing and focused on what I was doing.

    • Hi Nadia! Finding that balance is difficult. I have only been using it again for several days and already I’m looking at the segments and KOMs. I’m hoping I can just record the results and only occasionally have a look at the details.

  2. I use Strava and Endomondo. Endo doesn’t have all of the segment stuff, so it’s better for simply tracking miles. It eats up battery, though. Strava is exceptional in that regard. I’d never heard of the 20/80 method. That’s interesting.

  3. I’ve gotten much better at ignoring segment times (apart from a select few) and just enjoying the ride or focusing on my training plan. I just use Strava to log stats now and check out other people’s rides and photos. Life is much less stressy that way. The days of KOM hunting are behind me anyway. 🙂

  4. I have a lot of mixed feelings about strava but besides some help when I was much better about tracking calories and exercise what I found I liked was using Relive and Strave for videos of my routes. My family enjoys seeing where I go when I ride for an hour+

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