You’ve got a Garmin watch with a whole bunch of stats in Garmin Connect. Nice. Want more? Want to get in touch with others and see how they are doing? Here’s how to connect Strava to Garmin to get all this and more. We also offer troubleshooting tips.
Garmin Connect has improved over the years and is now more user friendly. Whatever stat you are looking for, dig deep enough and you’ll probably find it. You can access the service through your smartphone or the even more detailed website dashboard.
Lots of runners and cyclists with Garmin watches or cycling computers also have Strava accounts. In fact, Strava boasts a membership of over 50 million athletes. One million new ones join each month.
It’s a pretty mixed bag as to why people have a Strava subscription. Some like the social aspect which really is excellent. It allows you to compare yourself and follow feeds of others. Then there are those that like the training calendar, heart rate and power data analysis, and other performance metrics.
Most often, though, it is the social aspect that prompts people to opt for an account. Nothing can be more motivating that seeing how your friends are doing and cheering each other on. Hey, you can even follow professional athletes. Their performance stats should give you something to aim for!
Finally, let’s say you have a Garmin watch but decide to do the unthinkable and switch over the Fitbit, Apple or another brand. Strava will retain your workouts so you will have a nice historical account of all your past efforts no matter what device you use.
Types of subscriptions
Garmin Connect is free. All you need is a compatible watch. Strava comes with a freemium and premium subscription. The free subscription has limited (but still useful) features, while the premium subscription runs $8 per month or $60 per year.
The app can be downloaded from the Apple Store or Google Play Store. First timers can benefit from a 30 day premum subscription at no cost. This should give you a chance to see what all the fuss is about.
You can link the two accounts through the Garmin app. Before you start you want to make sure to have a Strava account and that you download the Strava smartphone app. Register for a freemium or premium account.
Linking the two accounts through the Garmin Connect app couldn’t be simpler. Open the Garmin app and choose the “000” (more) tab. Navigate to Settings > Partner Apps > Strava. You will be walked through the procedure.
When authorising accounts you will give permission to “Upload your activities from Garmin Connect to Strava”. You’ll also be presented with some sync options.
Job done – the activity (activities) will appear in your Strava feed. The first sync will be triggered only when you upload the first activity to Garmin – AFTER YOU’VE linked the two accounts.
Also, be patient. It might take a little while for the workouts to sync as three months of data will make their way over from Garmin to Strava. Only 90 days of historical activity are synced.
Disconnecting the two services is done the same way. Simply disable the permission. You can also do this through the Strava website.
It’s useful to know how to manually upload activities to Strava. It can come in handy if Garmin servers are down, if for some reason an activity did not sync, or to transfer historical data from Garmin to Strava. The procedure is not as difficult as it might sound. Do it once and you’ll find it’s a breeze.
Not everyone knows, all your historical activities are saved on your Garmin watch. From the day you bought your watch and took it for the first run. There’s a folder you can access on the device that holds all your data. Here’s how to manually upload these activities into Strava.
Step one is plugging one end of the USB charging cable into the watch, the other into a computer. The watch should automatically be recognised as a flash drive. This might take a minute or two. Once you see the watch as a folder, open it and navigate to the “Activity” folder.
Depending on how long you’ve had your watch and how active you’ve been – you should find a slew of .FIT activity files here. Each one refers to a separate run, cycle or other form of exercise. The date of the file shows when the activity was performed.
The final step is to copy all the missing .FIT files from that folder to Strava. The files can be uploaded on strava.com/upload/select. You don’t need to do each one individually – simply drag multiple files to upload them all at once. Strava says you can upload up to 25 files at a time.
Another way to do this is through the Garmin Connect website dashboard. Open the Activities page. Select an activity and you should see a link on the page that says “Export”. Then simply choose the .TCX option, save the file to your computer an upload to Strava.
What to do if Garmin is not syncing to Strava
If everything seems fine but your activities are still not syncing – make sure you’ve read our instructions above. If you’ve just opened your account you need to upload a new activity to Garmin Connect in order for the first sync to be triggered.
Still not working? There is one more thing you can try. Disassociate your Garmin account from Strava in the Strava settings page – than reconnect the two again. You’ll need to reauthorise the connection.
Don’t worry about activity duplicates. The Strava platform is smart enough and will not load the same activity more than once.
How to sync historical Garmin activities to Strava
Strava automatically syncs 90 days of historical data after you’ve created the link. You’ll need to manually upload others. The process is explained in the section above.
How to get your Garmin activity into Strava if Garmin is down
The Garmin service occasionally goes down. You can always check the status on this link. The other place to do this is Downdetector. Often, Downdetector will have more accurate data on connectivity than Garmin as the sync issues are reported by users in real-time.
Most famously, back in July/August 2020 Garmin was down for nearly a week. The company was the victim of a cyber attack and was forced to take all its servers offline while it was dealing with the issue. Hopefully this won’t repeat but problems do occasionally happen. Servers will go down, sometimes for a few minutes sometimes for a few hours.
You have two options. One is to wait it out. The service will return sooner or later. You won’t lose any data as its all saved on your watch – that fact should give you peace of mind.
However, if you would rather upload the activity right away you can do this manually. As illustrated above, simply upload the .FIT file from the Garmin watch to Strava.
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