You may remember I did a post a while back on all the perks of using MapMyRun to track my running routes. I was a dedicated MapMyRun user up until this winter when I started getting kind of annoyed by the app.
It’s always been clear that the paces/distances covered are slightly off between my Garmin and the app (with the app generally indicating longer distance and faster splits), but as my runs got longer with marathon training, it got crazy. MapMyRun would be off by as much as 2 miles on my 20-milers! In the already fragile mental state that comes with running 20+ miles, this got really annoying. Hearing the voice feedback from MapMyRun that I had hit 20 miles when I was actually only at mile 18 was semi-heartbreaking. After experiencing that a few times, I had had enough.
I had heard good things about Strava from a few different runners, so I decided to try it. After using it for the past 5 or so months, I have to say I am a complete convert. It’s not a perfect fix from the issues I experienced with MapMyRun, but it makes up for those shortcomings by being excellent in other areas.
The Pro’s of Strava:
- The segment leadership boards. As a pretty competitive person, this is my favorite feature. It’s so fun being able to see the times in which other Strava users ran the same routes and see where you stack up. I was pretty stoked to top the leaderboard on the 5k course I ran on Sunday, even with a time that’s not my best!!!
- You can search for segments in your area which can help you find new running routes to try out.
(As you can see, you can also obtain “Premium Leaderboards” by paying for the app which further break down the segment leaderboards. A cool feature, but frankly I’m content with the level of data I get with the free version).
- It shows how you are trending on certain routes – faster or slower.
- The general data presentation is better than on MapMyRun. It shows your mile splits, average pace, route, elevation profile, and pace analysis (see below).
- Strava can also be used for recording biking. I’m not really big into cycling so I don’t use this feature, but I know it appeals to a lot of other folks.
The Con’s of Strava:
- As a pretty competitive person, knowing I am using the app can make it pretty tempting to run my easy runs a little too fast because I feel like I’m racing other Strava users. And there is something that bums me out about having the app tell me I just ran my route slower than usual (even if that was the whole point of the run!)
- I don’t think it’s really any more accurate in recording distance than MapMyRun was. It still seems to be off a little bit from my Garmin. For example, on my last 22 mile training run, Strava recorded it as 23.3 miles. Obviously, these issues are magnified on longer runs. For anything under 10-15 miles, it seems to be fairly good.
- It still has challenges, much the way MapMyRun does, but I have yet to receive any discounts to running/athletic apparel brands the way I did with Under Armour through using MapMyRun.
- It’s a little easier to “add gear” (like running shoes) in the MapMyRun app for the purposes of tracking mileage. You can do it through Strava, but not through the app (you have to log on and do it through your PC).
Overall, I think Strava appeals to me because I have gotten more serious and competitive with running over the past year. I love racing, and Strava can help turn any run into a race if you decide you want to try to claim the top of a leaderboard. It also has more of a Facebook-esque/social media vibe to it, in that it has a feed that will show the most recent runs of other runners who you are connected with (so you can do a little creeping on the training of your super speedy arch nemesis!)
Do you use Strava or a different running app? Do you experience issues with it being off from what your GPS watch records?