From Twitter to Facebook, pro athletes have many ways of interacting with fans as they post videos and update people on things on and off the field. A different app, however, helps fans connect above and beyond social media. Strava has been around for a decade.
During that time, the company found a way to allow athletes, particularly bikers and runners, to showcase their training, official runs, and practice rides in a new, interesting way.
What is Strava?
According to its website, “Strava” comes from the Swedish word for “strive.” Although it has many key functions of a typical social media app — you can post updates and pictures — it has a different mission in mind: to inspire. “Building the home for your active life,” Strava allows people to track their daily runs and activity.
Its tracking technology uses GPS as well as heart rate and power meters to gather extensive data for those who want to track their performance. Their achievement can be shared with others on the Strava app. You can tweet your run or post your bike ride on Facebook. Followers can see your route, time, and other data and then give kudos or feedback.
Users can form clubs and communities based on interests, brands, or places they like to train. The Strava app also allows people to post their locations so that people can track them in the case of an emergency. Part fitness app, part social media app, people still love it a decade later.
Strava at the Tour de France
Strava may have gotten a boost thanks in part to the Tour de France. Although cycling may not be among the most popular sports on the planet, the Tour de France continues to intrigue audiences. With a sport that historically suffered from issues involving blood doping, Strava offers a transparent look into the bikers’ races.
On the Strava app, Tour de France fans can view a racer’s heart rate, body temperature, speed, and power. It offers a live look at what these athletes go through during the grueling races. While cycling may not have the same statistics as baseball, football, and basketball, apps like Strava help their users see just what the winners and losers are doing.
Catching on with other sports
Strava makes sense for sports like racing and running, where the only known data is often speed and time. Could other athletes soon use the app for training? NFL and NBA players are no strangers to posting training videos showing how hard they work in the offseason.
Strava’s list of professional athletes who use their service is dominated by athletes in cardiovascular sports. If more sports take notice, however, Strava could see more growth. There are many ways to connect with pro athletes via social media. Strava may provide the most inclusive way to step into the action.