I have used several apps for running over the years from MapMyRun to Endomodo to Garmin Connect. Each app has had features I enjoyed, but the one I ended up settling in with that I enjoy the most is Strava, which is Swedish for “to strive”. Its a free app that is very popular in the cycling community and is now gaining popularity with runners too.
If you are like me and competition gets you motivated, this is the app for you. Strava tracks segments of roads and trails and allows you to compare your results to others. Every time I complete my run or ride I look to check not only my personal records for my overall route and segments, but also how I stack up against other Strava users in my area (damn you Ryan Fulmer!).
Strava is free, but I actually pay for the premium version ($6 a month or $59.00 per year) for one feature in particular…the suffer score. Here is a description from Strava’s blog:
The Strava Suffer Score is an analysis of your heart rate data and is available on Strava as a Premium feature. By tracking your heart rate through the ride and its level relative to your maximum heart rate, we attach a value to show exactly how hard you worked. The more time you spend going full gas and the longer you ride, the higher the score. Compare your Suffer Score with friends and pros, see if you can do a truly epic ride and motivate yourself to push that extra bit harder! The Suffer Score was inspired by the concept of TRIMP (TRaining IMPulse) developed by Dr. Eric Bannister.
It’s a great way to track how hard you pushed yourself and another metric to track your overall progress.
Other premium features include: filtered leaderboards (by age and gender), goal setting, advanced pace analysis, real-time segment tracking, live follow of friends and so one. Another nice feature (both free and premium I believe) is the ability to set a privacy zone around typical starting points (such as your home), so other users can’t guess where you live.
Check it out and comment with your thoughts!