Strava

As promised…. More of my rambles…..

I have always been a Fetchy.

For those who don’t know there is a website called Fetcheveryone where you can upload your running data. It keeps track of all your stats, training, races, kit, everything you need to know.  When I started taking my running almost seriously it was Fetch that I was recommended as a way of keeping track of my progress. I don’t participate in forums, I don’t often look at others performance, I only use it as a tool to help me understand my training and how I can improve. It costs nothing, as far as I can tell there is no two tier service, everyone gets the same facilities.  Occasionally I will donate to running costs but even if I didn’t, I would still be able to upload all my data. Pace, cadence, route, distance even HR if you are using a monitor, nothing is locked behind a paywall and I love it. It has served me well for a few years now and I cannot envision any time when I will stop. I think Fetch and I share an ethos, running should be open and free to everyone and commercial aspects should take a back seat. So the question you are all screaming at me now is ‘why the hell is this post entitled Strava?’

Hands up, I tried Strava once ages ago. Lots of people used it and, there seemed to be a consensus that ‘if it’s not on Strava it hasn’t happened’. I heard tales of stolen segments and kudos and rivalry and all kinds of exciting things so, I thought to myself lets have a look. At the time I was habitually running with a heart rate monitor and it would not show me the data, asking me to pay for an upgrade (that pissed me off more than anything else).  It seemed slick and slightly greasy like a used car salesman. Wonderful and seductive but ultimately just after a small slice of my soul so, I left it alone. I just was not interested. I saw my friends at parkrun and my running club. If they wanted me to know how they were getting on they would tell me. I was going off Facebook rapidly as it seemed to be filled with complete bollocks designed to make my life seem inadequate so, why did I want another means of torturing myself? I mean how good can you feel about your running when you bust a nut on a tempo run to stay under 8 minutes a mile and some smug prick shows up on your phone with 6 miles at 7:06 saying…. ‘just a plod tonight’. I know people are quicker than I am and it’s all about our own pace etc… but point to anyone who doesn’t find that just a little bit wearing.

Time has passed. My daughter started running and with the enthusiasm of those new to something she wants to belong. We do parkrun together most weeks, she hangs out with my running buddies, holds her own in conversations and understands that she is not the quickest… ( she is slow to be fair). She doesn’t mind, she values the company and she will make her way round, she knows what a big part of my life running is and it is something that we can share. I think it brings back memories of a time long ago when she had my almost entirely undivided attention.  I picked her up from school, took her swimming, taught her to ride a bike and subjected her to my eclectic and eccentric taste in music. For Christmas her boyf bought her an Apple watch, and she discovered the Strava app. She had previously shunned an old Garmin I had as a way of keeping track of what she was doing but, the Apple watch has scored where Garmin could not. This New year we did parkrun Saturday, and on New years day we did a parkrun Double and she proudly logged the runs telling me who else was on Strava. She found my old profile and started following me surprised that I had no real data there. At that point I gave in.

I still don’t like Strava, when I go on it I feel a little cheap and dirty, but I can see… When you are new to running and you want to belong, when you want to show that you have actually managed to get out and do a run on your own, when you want some kudos for not sitting on the sofa with a big pie, Strava does the job. It sits in your phone and watch and reminds you that you are a runner, and there are plenty of other runners out there ready to support and encourage you!

Even if some slimy git is making bucks of you all in the process!

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