The Case for Ditching Strava

Strava might actually be doing more "harm" than good for runners

I’ve been thinking a lot about why I joined Strava very late to the game, back in January of 2020.

If you aren’t on Strava, here is a real quick summary as to what it offers runners, swimmers, and cyclists (on the free version)—>

  • Think Facebook for runners, with the ability to like and comment on activities

  • Tracks weekly mileage, time, and elevation of activities

  • Yearly stats

  • Ability to track segments (trails, roads, etc) that others have also run

I was initially against Strava. I didn’t feel I needed a separate app (I already use Garmin, plus I keep all of my data in my training log). So I didn’t join until the beginning of 2020, because who needs another app telling me the same information?

I joined, reluctantly, and became quite used to checking in on friends’ runs, my runs on similar courses, and for a while, it was really cool to see the data.

But then it became a daily competition. With myself. With friends. With complete strangers.

How are they running so fast again? Man, they get to run during lunch? How the hell are they running those kinda times?

The questions I was asking myself were pouring in.

And just like the guilt I get when I randomly scoll on social media, I was feeling the same way about my runs now.

Ugh, I ran with the kids and the stroller today, what will my Strava look like?!

Seriously. It was getting to be too much.

I don’t know if I’ll give up Strava, but I’m definitely not going to have it on my phone anymore. Its purpose was to help me get motivated and see what everyone else is doing, but it’s actually done the opposite: it’s made me jealous, envious, and bummed out that I’m not running x when I’m instead running y.

Even as I’m writing this, I was about to check Strava… I am officially done worrying/stressing/comparing my runs to others’. I’m happy people are running. I’m happy I’m running. That’s where I’m drawing the line - and hopefully, I will feel good about it.

What’s your take on Strava? You’re probably on it. Do you check frequently as you might with Instagram?

Leave a comment and let me know ⤵️

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Friday’s Action Plan:

Addition by subtraction. Start cutting out the things in your life that don’t push the needle, make you better, or improve your life in some way.

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Marc is a middle school teacher and coach but also works with distance runners online. I help distance runners around the globe by providing support, writing customized training plans, and designing workouts to help them reach their racing goals. I write for my blog every Wednesday morning and newsletter every Friday morning.