When Strava launched a new video feature on their app back in June I didn't think it would change my opinion of the app - but it's been the virtual push I need to get out and run.
I've been a runner for years and always struggled with finding the motivation you need to get outside - although tracking my runs with the best Fitbit always gives me that extra push I need to get a PB. I was already using the Strava app to track my runs, adding the odd photos here and there, but the video feature, where you can upload as many 30-second videos of your route or the scenery you encounter on your run, is giving me serious FOMO.
I'm already addicted to watching videos on social media apps like TikTok and Instagram so of course the video feature on Strava has got me hooked - especially if you've been on an epic run or hike and the views are insane.
Going for a run, or any form of exercise is normally more mind over matter - especially when you start debating why you should or shouldn't go for a run. The excuses roll around my mind until I convince myself that today's run doesn't need to happen.
But, as soon as I open the Strava app to see what running routes my friends and followers have completed, their videos give that visual push I need to get out on a run.
Numerous studies show that video is an excellent motivational tool for athletes - with one study by Warwick University, back in 2019, concluding that watching motivational videos before exercise is an effective performance enhancement. Another study, the year after, by Brunel University, also found that video with music, helps to enhance the self-efficacy of athletes.
So, will watching other people's achievements motivate us, or just give us comparison syndrome, like other social media apps? Personally, I know I'm not going to attempt to copy some other athlete's feats - such as trail running around mountains across the world or running from one city to another - no matter how great the route looks on video. But when it's a sunny day outside watching their content, in real time, gives me that extra push to lace up my trainers and explore a new running route.
I've even started recording videos of my routes - whether it's a park run around my local park or a hike in the French mountains - it's great to share my routes, and hopefully inspire my followers to get out and move. I also think the video content, which can be uploaded anytime after you've recorded your route, gives the app a sense of community. I'm not part of a running group so watching friends and even strangers' videos make me feel like I'm part of a virtual running community.
Of course, the video feature is still in its early days, and some improvements can be made, but I think it could be my favorite feature so far.
However much I'm obsessed with the new video content I'd still love to see some extra features rolled out on the app though. Namely, a way to record multi-sports - when I recently did a duathlon for the first time and went from running to cycling I had to manually stop the app after my run and start it again for the bike ride.
I know it doesn't sound like much, but when you're quickly attempting to get your helmet on, clip your feet into the bike and avoid being hit by other cyclists you just want a fitness app to work with you and seamlessly know when you've switched.
Not a runner? Whether you're a hiker, swimmer or cyclist instead, 17 per cent of the UK population are now on Strava - so there's bound to be some video motivation which can inspire you. While if you want some entertainment while you run, here's our guide to the best running headphones.
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Sarah is a freelance writer - writing across titles including Woman&Home, Fit&Well, TechRadar, the Independent and the BBC. She covers a variety of subjects, including trends in beauty, business and wellness - but her biggest passions are travel and fitness. She can normally be found trying out the latest fitness class or on a plane to an exotic destination. While she loves to combine the two - signing up to do hiking holidays in LA, intense boot camps in Bali - last year she went on her dream activity holiday: paddleboarding around deserted islands in Croatia.