Strava for nostalgia.

If you didn’t know then I have an obsession with running. I am a full on addict and I churn out 45-60 miles every week and have done for the last 5-6 years. When I was a youth I would jog around the fields with my dad, I did cross country at school but it wasn’t until I was at university that my passion for lacing up my trainers really started. I even wrote my dissertation on the significance of music in running and exercise, pretty hilarious subject for a popular music degree student. Since then I have completed marathons, triathlons, trail adventures, endurance swims. I have a first place trophy for the Brooklynite Half Marathon, medals from the Athens Marathon and my Strava heat-maps show that I’ve run on 4 different continents.

Running in the Italian alps.

If you’re not familiar with Strava then it’s an app where you upload your athletic endeavours (running, cycling and swimming), it can be used to track your workouts but it also has a feature called heat maps which allows you to see ‘heat tracks’ of all the run’s you have ever ran and uploaded to the app. It’s the one social media style app that I have no issue using or looking at. When I look at it I am reminded of all the amazing things I have done and all the amazing things that fellow athletic people I know do. It gives me motivation to hit new PB’s when I see my peers hitting theirs, I scope routes when I am on my travels by exploring where the local runners go and I even use it to plan routes before I travel or go to new places. All round its just an amazing bit of software.

Today though I want to talk about how I use Strava in a less obvious way. Amongst all of its uses for route planning, training logging and PB tracking, I like to sometimes look back at all my runs and swims with nostalgia. I am fortunate enough to travel a lot and when I travel I always run, not only because I run every day regardless of where I am or what I am doing but also because running is a great combination with travel – it allows you to really explore places in a very unique way. So when I do run in places, I always use my Suunto watch to track the workout which then uploads to Strava and I am able to look back on those workouts and remember them.

A 10km from when we were in Tallin.

This morning whilst out running I was thinking about the last time I was in America on tour. Touring America has meant that I have stayed in some questionable areas from the hillbilly ranches in the middle of nowhere to the middle of the South Philly ghetto. Philadelphia was the place I was thinking of this morning. When we last toured the USA, our first stop was Philly and for some forsaken malfunction, we ended up in staying in the middle of the ghetto. Obviously, I still needed to get my run in so instead of risking the mean streets of South Philly I chose to drive to a ‘wildlife park’ that was about 10 minutes down the highway. Unfortunately this ‘wildlife park’ was still very much within the ghetto realm and what occurred next was one of the sketchiest 8 miles I’ve ever ran. Wild.

Life is about moving forward and progress but you have to look back and reflect. I love to think about all the adventures I’ve been on and I’m looking forward to more. Especially all the running I’m yet to do.

Love ya running.

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