When Strava launched Group Challenges in 2021, I was extremely excited -- Up until that point, my friends and I had been tracking monthly challenges in a spreadsheet where we each logged if we had worked out that day and for how long. It was very motivating, though incredibly tedious. That all changed once we were able to make a Group Challenge on Strava (where we’re all recording our activities anyway), and it made our lives instantly better while pushing us toward our individual goals.
How to access the feature
Mobile: Groups > Active > Create a Group Challenge (Not available on web)
How we use Group Challenges
I predominantly go on walks, weight lift, and do indoor activities like pilates, yoga, and boxing. So my Strava activities look much different from my friends who cycle, run, or do team sports. This also means that the way that I set goals tends to be different from folks who may have a mileage or elevation goal. Overall, I'd say I’m not a particularly athletic person, but that I get a lot of joy from movement and I find myself motivated by competition and by having close friends keep me accountable to my goals. It’s easier to make sure I get out the door when I know my friends have my back (and maybe are even right on my heels on a leaderboard).
Group Challenges on Strava are my favorite way to stay active and lightly compete with my friends in a private space that works for all of us, even if we do different things to stay active and are of differing athletic abilities.
Competing Across Sport Types
I do a group challenge every single month with my friends Kelly and Julia. Both Kelly and Julia are avid runners and cyclists so I of course have never felt like I would be able to compete with them on “miles per week”, but they both had the goal of doing more cross-training for their sport post-injury, which included accountability for PT exercises, yoga, weight lifting, swimming and more.
We decided to make a “Most Activity” type of Group Challenge to see who could record the most hours of those lower impact conditioning activities (Weight Lifting, Workout, Yoga, Swimming). We found that we were able to encourage each other to do more and stay accountable (15-20 minutes of physical therapy here and there adds up!) It really helps me get out the door in the morning to go boxing when I know Julia is about to pass me on the leaderboard again. We’ve done this group challenge every single month for almost a year now.
Working Together Toward a Shared Goal
If competing with your friends isn’t your style, you can also create a “Group Goal” challenge to try to chip away at a shared goal together. Me and several of my friends are in a challenge to see how long it takes us all to record enough walking or hiking to get to 1,779 miles total (the distance from the Shire to Mount Doom).
It’s fun to check in on the progress we’re all making together and this version of the Group Challenge doesn’t have a ranked leaderboard so you end up comparing yourself to others less. It’s nice to just get a chance to be part of something together!
Hyping Each Other Up
My favorite part of Group Challenges are the notifications you get when someone passed you on the leaderboard and the private comments section. It’s a great place to hype up someone’s big effort or despair that they took your #1 spot. It feels like a smaller Strava within Strava where I can engage with just that small group of people that I have a shared goal with over a specific period of time.
The value of Group Challenges
To me the main value of Group Challenges is the ability to have goals I feel more accountable to because I’m doing them with friends. I also love the nuance and customizability – I’m able to say “I want to do 20 hours of walking, hiking, yoga, workout, or weight lifting in the next 30 days” and track toward that.
I also love that Strava users can try Group Challenges for free 3 times before you need to subscribe to use them. It means that I can invite my friends who aren’t subscribers to try it out!