A virtual run club sounds ideal right now for runners and people who religiously exercise and no longer have access to the gyms. For those who are craving that exercise high and are missing the social aspect of it, Strava seems to have the answer. The app tracks where you run via GPS, and uploads everyone’s times into a group feed – it’s basically Instagram for workouts.
The app is not new by any means. Founded in 2009, it has been popular for a long time with runners and cyclists who like to keep track and may sometimes crave a little competition.
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Strava is free, and has a pretty simple operation system: when you go outside and start running (or even biking, jogging, walking), you hit the record button and it tracks where and how fast you go. Once your run/walk is over, you press the finish button, and it gives you a summary of how fast you ran, as well as how you performed during different segments, among other data points. It’s kind of like a portable treadmill. The nice part is the achievement medals that you get for performing better, a little bonus that helps keep your morale up. But the best aspect of Strava may be its social networking feature, where you link up with friends and strangers, and get a feed that shows maps of where your friends have been, with the opportunity to comment on their runs. The “kudos” feature, basically a thumbs up, also helps with social engagement with your fellow runners.
Strava may help you feel more compelled to go on walks and alternate between walking and jogging, giving you that sense of accomplishment that a gym offers, while also feeling connected to a community of runners. But mostly, it’s a sure-fire way to feel less alone, now that you can’t really smile at your fellow runners, a kudos is here to replace that and spread encouragement all around.