My first steps on STRAVA (include cycling)

Last December, I did it! No, no, I did not made any New Year’s resolutions. But I registered on Strava. This is a tracking system for running, cycling and other sports. It is quite sophisticated and I found myself struggling with all those options for planning, tracking and analysing my activities. You can set goals, track your runs and rides, studying profiles, speed, personal records for 400 meters, 1/2 mile, 1 mile, 2 mile, 5 and 10 kilometers as well as your performance on Strava segments.

Segments?

Yes. These are one of Strava’s most striking features. A segment is a route starting at one point in the landscape, running for some hundred meters or several kilometers and ending at a certain point. Everybody is free to run or ride segments either for fun or to compete for minimum times with all others, who finished a segment. There are overall rankings, year’s rankings, rankings for women only as well as rankings for the present day, week or month. The leader of the overall ranking is awarded – he/she can name himself/herself „King of Mountains“(KOM) or „Queen of mountains“ (QOM), respectively.

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Be prepared!

Now, do not think that becoming KOM/QOM is a no-brainer. It is very though as I exeperienced in these first few month of running and riding with Strava. I quickly understood that there are very though, strong and motivated guys at the top of each segment ranking. Today for instance, I get to know that Vincenzo Nibali, a pro cyclist, became KOM on two segments in the region of Lugano (Switzerland) – see featured image. Congrats, Vincenzo!

This summer is gonna be great

For me, Strava is a great opportunity to add a competitive touch to my training routine. Chasing personal records, trying to progress in the rankings – this is what keeps me motivated, so that I stick to my sportive activity even if I am „a bit tired“ or have other poor excuses not to get myself out of the sofa.

And it is even better! I think, Strava offers the opportunity to become rewarded with a personal record or a new record on one of the segments while comuting. So even on my daily way to work and back home I get the chance to achieve results. Are you ready to join and experience a great, racy summer with Strava? No excuses. Here is the link to your summer challenge in 2018: www.strava.com. Have fun 🙂

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Skip HIIT (at least sometimes)

In recent years High Intensity Interval Training (short: HIIT) has become fashionable. And it seems to me as if this method must be the best way to get fit and lean. The argument sounds compelling: Short and tough efforts take a lot more energy than easy going long endurance trainings. Therefore the effect from HIIT on your fitness and body weight would be greater than the gains you get from traditional endurance workouts. And the best of all would be that a unit of HIIT can be crammed in 20 minutes whereas long endurance training takes 90 minutes or even more. At the end of the day you can get better results in less time, according to HIIT proponents. This is good news for busy people or guys, who find usual cardio exercises boring.

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Source: Muscle & Fitness

Now, I have to add that I am a fan of HIIT. So I would subscribe to the proponent’s arguments. However there is a pitfall: You can become strong and lean by doing HIIT, but you will never become an athlete without doing extensive and low intensity units at least in the off-season.

Think of a pro cyclist who aims to finish the Tour de France. What do you think does his schedule looks like? I tell you: This guy spends 90 or more percent of his time on medium and low intensity rides in the early stage of a season. This is the way a cyclist builds the basis of a race winning shape. On top of this fundament our to-be Tour-de-France-finisher grows his anaerobic capacity by doing high intensity intervals, tempo slamming, up-hill racing and – of course – participating in competitions.

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Source: Livestrong

Hence, if you want to finish a something like this, that or that, you have a lot of aerobic work to do in the first place. In this respect HIIT is not the silver bullet, but a great workout to complement your schedule and sharpen your form before you take your personal long distance challenge.