One of the most impressive fitness tracking applications on the market today, Strava is purpose-built for runners and cyclists that want to train more intelligently.
Providing detailed information and analytics about every run and cycling session, there are lots of fitness enthusiasts wondering if they’re going to be able to use their Strava app when they are training on a treadmill.
Below we highlight (almost) everything you need to know to make the most of this application when you are working out on a treadmill as opposed to running on the track or on the trails!
Can You Use Strava on a Treadmill?
A big part of the allure of using Strava as a training and analytics tool is that it pairs nicely with the GPS system built into your smartphone or your smartwatch.
This GPS connectivity allows Strava to chart your runs, not only measuring your overall distance travelled but also measuring things like altitude changes, overall speed during different legs of your run, and so much more.
On a treadmill, though, you aren’t going to be producing any GPS data.
The treadmill is a stationary operation and unless you’re using a treadmill that provides “dummy” GPS data to sync up with the mileage you’re putting in on your treadmill the core functionality of Strava is diminished quite a bit.
That being said, it’s not that Strava becomes useless when you are training on a treadmill.
You just have to use it a little more creatively!
We show you how in just a moment.
What is Strava?
As highlighted above, Strava is one of the most popular fitness tracking solutions for runners and cyclists today.
So much more than just a tool to track your distances travelled, Strava also provides detailed analytics regarding:
- Your heartbeat while you train
- Your power and performance during different legs of your training session
- Elevation gained throughout the run
… But it also connects you to the Strava social network, too.
The Strava social network and community is where hundreds of thousands of people gather online to compete with one another, to push one another to achieve their goals, and to see how they stack up against the “rest of the pack”.
A lot of the fun of using Strava comes from the social side of things. Being able to build real friendships and relationships, dedicated teams that compete against one another, and just belong to a community of like-minded fitness-focused individuals is a huge selling point.
That part of Strava works regardless of whether you are running on a treadmill or not!
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Does Strava Work on All Treadmills?
As of right now, Strava isn’t going to work “right-out-of-the-box” with most commercially available treadmills – though it may work well with treadmills that allow for “spoofing” GPS training data that is linked up with the actual treadmill metrics for each individual training session.
Those kinds of treadmills are anything but commonplace on the market right now, though.
No, if you’re looking to combine Strava with your treadmill you are going to have to get comfortable with manually inputting your workout information into the Strava application directly.
You can do this over your phone, on your laptop, or on a traditional computer – though you might also be able to connect your Apple Watch or other Strava enabled device to track your activity on the treadmill (and have it labelled as treadmill activity inside the application).
Why You Should Use Strava on Your Treadmill
The number one reason to combine Strava with your treadmill training workouts is because of how valuable it is to record all of your training sessions, regardless of where and how you knock them out.
You’ll only be able to measure your true growth and your progress (as well as spot any setbacks or sidelines) by having a look at all of the training sessions you put yourself through.
If you’re only tracking your time spent running on the road, pounding the pavement, or hitting off-road trails and ignore the hours you spend grinding it out on a treadmill you’re missing out on a lot of valuable and actionable data!
Tracking all of this information from your treadmill sessions also helps with motivation. You’ll be able to see how consistent you are, can track incremental progress, can spot major milestones and new personal records, and so much more.
How to Connect Strava to a Treadmill
The trick to using Strava with your treadmill is to either commit to input your information manually (using the MY ACTIVITIES section of the application and adding STATIONARY/TREADMILL workouts to your history) or to use Apple Watch or Strava enabled devices to act as intermediaries between the treadmill and your application.
Manual updates are pretty simple and straightforward, but getting the Apple Watch or Strava enabled devices to act as the go-between with your treadmill and your application will depend entirely on that specific piece of hardware and the interfacing design for it.
A quick Google search for your specific device that you want to pair between your treadmill and your Strava account will usually turn up all the information you need to hit the ground running (no pun intended).
Is Strava Free to Use on a Treadmill?
The actual Strava application is 100% free on both Android and iOS platforms, so long as all you want to do is record and share your individual activities.
This means that Strava is going to be totally free to use on your treadmill, especially if you’re going to be inputting the workout information manually.
If you want more access to the in-depth analytics, key tracking metrics, and other features that separate Strava from the rest of the fitness tracking solutions out there you’ll have to pony up for a (relatively inexpensive) membership.
Reference and Further Reading
- Stationary, Indoor and Treadmill Activities
- Visit Strava Features page to know more
- Fitness Life Advisor – Does Strava Work on a Treadmill?
- DC Rainmaker – Strava Adds Indoor Workout Recording to App (For all users): Quick How-To Guide
- Runner’s World – How to Start Using Strava