Trevor Hofbauer is an elite runner for New Balance Canada, who, in addition to being super speedy, super handsome and incredibly funny, is running his first marathon at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon this month. (New Balance just released the brand new 860V8, so in addition, check it out). Hofbauer, who goes by the handle Nacho Libre of Guelph, ON, is also a prolific Strava user and commentator. Ben Kaplan, the iRun GM, sucks at technology and is hesitant to join Strava, another pain in the butt getting in the way of his runners. Here, the two men break down the technology that increasingly acts as a running scorecard, time sheet and bragging rites epicentre.
What the hell is Strava and how does it work and do I have to be super techy to understand it?
Not necessarily. Once you create your profile, you can link up Movescount/Garmin Connect/whatever watch platform you use to allow Strava to extract your data everytime you upload a new activity. It’s kind of confusing at the start (like all web-based platforms), but once you have an understanding of it, it’s quite simple.
When did you start using Strava?
I started using Strava during the summer of 2014. A few keen athletes in Calgary recommended it to log our runs and challenge each other to segments. The idea behind the platform was attractive, so I gave in.
Why do you like it?
I really enjoy using Strava to track my overall duration spent running per week and analyzing my kilometer splits after a workout/race. Although I run without the pace option on, it’s nice to get the feedback afterwards.
The cool part about Strava is virtually cheering on your friends or favourite athletes by giving them kudos. Strava allows you to connect with athletes all around the world by commenting on their activity to cheer them on or ask basic activity related questions.
On a recreational note, it’s really enjoyable to punk other athletes by snagging their segments and naming your runs something witty.
Why do you not like it and why can it be addictive?
For years before the GPS watch, athletes would use the traditional Timex watch, or no watch at all, and run off of feel. Depending on the variable conditions, you can run faster or slower, but the effort will always be true. Running off of feel will make you a better, smarter, tougher athlete.
With the introduction of the GPS watch and connective platforms, some athletes can be a slave to the average pace and push themselves too hard, especially on recovery/easy days. By running too fast on your easy days to impress your friends for a dopamine boost is not conducive to training and will only hamper performance on workout days and race day.
Did you have hesitation at the start?
Not really. When my friends told me about the segment aspect, I was pretty set on signing up and stealing all the course records (CR’s) I could.
Who do you follow?
I mostly follow friends in Alberta that I’ve known for years.
Who are your top athletes to follow for inspiration?
– Jim Finlayson of Victoria, BC
– Reid Coolsaet of Hamilton, ON
– Rory Linkletter of Provo, UT/Calgary, AB
– Angus Rawling of Calgary, AB/Antigonish, NS
Let’s say there’s runners who aren’t going to compete against you and the marathon world-beaters of the world, why would Strava—or something like it—be good for them?
Good question. I think runners (of all competition levels) will benefit from Strava because the website has a training log feature under the training dropdown which calculates your weekly totals for distance, time, and elevation gain. It allows you to compare your weeks very easily. I found that when I first started running, the fascinating part of the sport was witnessing your own progression over the weeks/years. That still holds true, and Strava just allows me to witness that in a user-friendly format.