If you’re a runner or a cyclist, you’ve probably tracked your PR at some point in time. Whether you track your times across races or in an app (I’ve told you before about my long-time love for Endomondo), you probably measure your PRs using set distances like mile pace, 5K time, half marathon or marathon time. While there is an awesome consistency to tracking against a set distance, there’s also a major what is going on with me moment when you’re suddenly running hills at 7,000 feet in Park City and your 5K pace plummets (speaking from personal experience).
When I started cycling more often, I kept hearing about an app called Strava, which is similar to Endomondo but with a very active feed (nothing better than getting a “like” after a great run or ride!). When I started using the app I discovered my favorite feature, segments. Instead of just measuring your time while running a set distance, it pits your time against yourself and others on a set path along the road.
For example, you can measure your fastest time running over the BP bridge from Millennium Park to Maggie Daley Park. When I’m planning a long run, I like to use the Segment Explore feature to find segments along my route and set goals to sprint and try to beat my previous best on those segments in the past. You can also plot your time against others you know by following friends or joining clubs.
Strava also has an awesome feature that recognizes routes that you run on more than once. For example, I have a set out-and-back route from my house where I know I can run exactly five miles. Strava allows me to see how my time compares to other runs on this same route and challenge myself to beat my best time. It helps me knock out excuses of being on a hilly run and let me see how I’m really progressing over time.
One word of caution – please please please make safe choices when choosing a segment where you’d like to get a PR. There are lots of segments for both running and riding that cross streets. Please stop and look both ways, and obey all stop signs and red lights. No PR is worth getting hit by a car, or hitting someone who’s crossing the street. Be smart!
Ready to get out there and challenge yourself? Join the aSweatLife group on Strava so that we can race with you and cheer you on!