There’s a social network for just about every niche, these days. Fishing enthusiasts link up on Fishbrain. Farming fanatics in Australia exchange ideas on Farmz. But one global community — athletes — has long lacked something comparable. Sure, budding Olympians have been able to post jogging times on Facebook or Twitter, but that’s not quite the same as a network of like-minded internet folks. Fitness platform Strava, luckily, has the remedy.
On Monday, Strava launched Athlete Posts, a “new way to create and share content” for the one million new users who, on average, join Strava every 45 days. More than 36 Strava users from around the world — including marathoner Kelly Roberts, former American track and field athlete Lauren Fleshman, and triathlete James Lawrence — will be able share stories, photos, questions, gear tips, race reports, recommendations, and workouts with other Strava users.
Strava’s curated list of bloggers will publish posts, tips, articles, and discussion topics that “inspire” and “motivate” other users. It’s a way for athletes to share more about their active lives, said Strava product officer Aaron Forth.
“Strava is a place where athletes come to connect with each other, share their experiences and learn from one another,” Forth said in a statement. “And until now, those connections have been based entirely on athletic activities. Our opportunity is to help athletes have conversations beyond their daily activities, sharing everything from favorite gear, to injury recovery tips, to travel recommendations.”
But Athlete Posts is about more than just bragging. According to a recent MIT study published in the journal Natural Communications, social sharing is a major exercise motivator — if you see that one of your friends ran a certain distance at a certain speed, you’re likely to run farther and faster than you otherwise would yourself.
To that end, Athlete Posts is a prong in Strava’s broader social effort. The recently introduced Club Events feature, which aims to make coordinating meetups easier, lets like-minded Strava users join clubs from Strava’s smartphone app. Once they do, they can see recent rides and runs logged by other members, a comment section, and a widget that shows your recent rides and runs. Beacon, meanwhile, lets users share distance, caloric expenditure, and speed in real time.
“Strava is the ideal place for athletic storytelling and resource sharing among like-minded people,” Fleshman said in a statement. “My sporty friends are hard to keep up with socially, and I’m looking forward to Strava being the place I binge on the sporting life. I’m especially excited to share a mixture of snippets into my post-retirement, evolving athletic life, and revive some of my most honest and relevant written pieces from the past that can serve the goal-oriented athletic community.”
Athlete Posts launches this summer, when it will roll out to Strava’s broader community.