To some extent, I have been running since late in high school. Probably before that – I remember running to the library when I didn’t have a bike, scooter or bus pass as a kid. But maybe increasingly more seriously since high school.
Sure, some of that has been moderate or inconsistent and for various reasons. Often, early on in college when I would try to run, it was a couple moderate efforts, then I would give up out of pain. Then a few months later I would try again.
In grad school, I tried a bit harder. In grad school, I upgraded to an iPhone and started using the Nike+ Running app to track my runs. I guess it was never really a thing I had thought about or questioned, it wasn’t really a thought process. It just happened. So for 2082 miles, for several pairs of shoes and a number of shorts for hundreds of thousands of steps, I have had my runs tracked by the Nike+ Running app.
I have been having problems on and off with the Nike+ app — for awhile before I bought my Apple Watch, the phone app was crashing before it saved my data. I had a few speed bumps when I start ed running with just my watch, and most of those were sorted out pretty quickly – there were a bunch of updates right around that time.
I also use a website called Smashrun to track some of my running data at a little bit more of a granular level. For most of the time I have done this, Nike+ has automatically synced with Smasrhrun. It the same week, it stopped doing that and I had a handful of incidents where Nike+ was choosing to just quit treating my run, but I would restart the app and it picked up where it had left off. This was the final straw for me — it was time to switch apps. After my last round of troubles, I had already kinda been looking, so the decision to switch to Strava was pretty easy.
Out of the tin, on Apple Watch, Strava functions very similarly to Nike+, but it it slightly more responsive. Instead of a bright green start buttton, there is a bright orange start button. The run starts immediately, instead of on a three-second countdown.
The auto-pause is infinitely more sensitive to stopping than I am used to — so much so that if I slow down significantly or switch to walking it will pause my run. The restart is not as sensitive as I would like, on the other hand. It seemed like the distance was twice as long (or more) as the Nike app. This means I will be manually pausing and restarting my workouts a lot more. This is good and bad. During the summer this is no issue, but during the winter I run with my watch on water mode. When I started using autopause, I had to get used to my mile times being significantly shorter, I guess now I just have to be aware that every moment effects my time, not every step.
One thing I really enjoy is that Strava finds what it calls “segments” or parts of your run that a lot of people have done. For example, yesterday I had my fastest run across the Steel Bridge segment – 1 minute and 8 seconds. I have the 455th fastest time for that segment, currently. The fastest time is 42 seconds. So now I know a little bit more about the Steel Bridge.
As I mentioned earlier, one concern I had was that bailing on the Nike+ App, I would have to bail on my data. But I posted about this, and my buddy found this website that will import any Nike +. It’s a bit funky – without paying for the Pro mode, you have to manually select each and every single one of your runs. But if you don’t mind that, it seems to import pretty well. Click here to link to the website.
All-in-all, I have been moderately satisfied with Strava so far – in a nutshell, it does what I need it to do, and in a way that I need to do it. I do like Orange a bit more than green. The maps it puts out are nice, and the social features are MUCH more manageable. I like that I can accessibly download my data into a file, should I ever need to.
There are a few features I have seen others use, but cannot find on my own – it is possible that those could be external apps connected to Strava.
You should check it out, if you are looking for a new running app.