Are Strava Challenges losing their way?

I love a good Strava challenge. The monthly distance, climbing and metric century challenges are all good motivators and it’s nice getting that “digital badge” for your profile. But lately, I’ve noticed a trend. There seems to be an ever increasing number of third-party companies launching Strava challenges, and with this a “watering down” of the effort needed to complete them.

Many of these new challenges aren’t even that challenging. Take the one below for example. Upload one activity a week for four weeks, with a minimum activity length of five minutes! Twenty minutes of activity spread over four weeks. Yes. You did read that right…

Many of these “challenges” seem to be nothing more than legal email harvesting. Joining a Strava challenge usually means agreeing to your email address being added to the marketing list of whichever company is hosting it. Many of these challenges get over half a million entrants. That’s potentially five hundred thousand new emails to send advertising to! A simple Strava challenge must be an effective way for a smaller company in the fitness industry to seriously grow their mailing list.

It could also be an additional revenue source for Strava? It’s no secret they struggle to turn a profit. I have no information on how much companies have to pay to have their branded challenge added, but I’m sure it’s not free.

There are so many new challenges popping up, it’s almost got to the point of challenge pollution!

Maybe I’m just being elitist. There must be a huge influx of new members signing up to Strava as they increase their activity options (it’s no longer just cycling and running, folks) and any additional motivation to get out the door and exercise has got to be a good thing. There’s a limit though, otherwise the challenges simply lose their meaning and eventually people will stop signing up. Challenges need to motivate and be, you know, a challenge.

I don’t really bother with many of the third-part challenges any more. For example I know I’d easily “achieve” the First Month Streak Challenge I posted above, but what’s the point? For now, I’ll just stick to the official Strava ones.

And the Rapha Festive 500 of course! 😎

What about you? Are you a Strava Challenge badge hunter?

14 Comments Add yours

  1. Steve Hellaby says:

    Agreed but I always join the Le Col challenges. Always good to have a £50 off voucher. Makes their great kit more affordable.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I wish that voucher was valid outside of the UK!


  2. bgddyjim says:

    I join a few challenges as an afterthought and quickly forget I’ve even joined them. I stay away from the third party challenges for the reasons you mention (I get enough junk email as it is), and keep it to the monthly cycling challenges – but even those are kinda “meh”. I get my fun from riding, though. I don’t need challenges for motivation. Some do, and I leave that stuff to them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Nice. I don’t need Strava to motivate me, but it does provide a little extra boost (I’m a numbers guy so love tracking stats). Plus I do like trying for a cheeky KOM now and then! Gets me pedalling just that little bit harder. 😎

      Liked by 1 person

      1. bgddyjim says:

        Too true! I have a few KOMs I’m quite excited about keeping. I can definitely dig that.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. kirkmtb says:

    I’ve never done a Strava challenge as such but use Strava to challenge myself. I make up my own challenges for distance or climbing or target MTB segments and get as close to KOM as I can. It’s also good that you can compare your performance to other sad middle aged men with too much time to think with the age range feature.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. ericritter65 says:

    For me, I’ve done a few Strava Challenges when I first got the app, but now it’s more of a record keeper, and even that it waining, as the app becomes more “pay to play”. For me I’l stick with my Wahoo app and a good old spreadsheet log the spreadsheet giving me more ways to manipulate the data the way I want to see it!)

    Liked by 1 person

  5. John Hallas says:

    Totally agree. I only really join because I can see my friends have but there is nothing in the challenges that justify joining. If I wanted a challenge I would devise my own. In fact the challenges I join are quite achievable anyway. 400K in a month etc. I will probably not bother any more.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. True. I’ve been focusing more on my own weekly distance and time goals that you can set in Strava.


  6. Steve says:

    I don’t think yours is an elitist view at all… I too have noticed the kinds of “challenges” you highlighted. I’ve stopped joining them and focus on my and my followers activities and achievements.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That seems like the best way to go about using Strava! I wish it was possible to customise or hide certain things (like challenges, activity types, etc) from your own feed.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Steve says:

        I agree! If we could do that, I might even spring for a subscription.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. idlecyclist says:

    I agree with your view on the majority of the challenges. The only one I really value is the monthly Gran Fondo, the rest are “meh” as Jim said above.

    However, if it brings revenue to Strava and therefore new features for me to use then it must be a good thing.

    Also others joining and completing any of the challenges doesn’t really impact on my use or enjoyment of the app so it’s easily ignored. Use it how you want to and how it benefits you and ignore the rest 👌🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The only minor niggle is that it sometimes “clogs” up my Strava feed when I’m scrolling. Not exactly a huge deal, but it would be nice to be able to hide things from your feed. The monthly Gran Fondo is definitely Strava’s best challenge badge!

      Liked by 1 person

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