Most of us are familiar with Strava as a tool to track our activities and the fastest of us can claim bragging rights for KOMs, QOMs, and CRs but did you know for the rest of us, there are some pretty cool features you may not even know exist?
Here are 8 Strava features for those of us who may never have a CR, but still want to use Strava for more than just tracking our activities.
Sync to it automatically from almost every other tracking site
Probably one of the coolest features of Strava is the ability to sync your data to it from practically any other site you might already be using to track your activities. Native integrations for Garmin Connect, Suunto Movescount, Polar, Epson, TomTom, Soleus, Microsoft, and Fitbit exist, and for others, you might be able to use Tapiriik. You get all the benefits of using Strava without having to utilize the app (and drain your phone battery), or give up whatever other fitness tracking sites you may already be using. You can find more detailed information in my other post, Automatically Syncing Your GPS Watch to Strava.
1. Create Route
You can use any activity you find in Strava, create a route from it, load it in to your routes directory, and then use it to navigate on your mobile device. This isn’t limited to routes you’ve created, you can in fact use any activity you find from anyone else on Strava and use that to create your route. During the route creation process, you will also have the opportunity to modify or customize the route using the Route Builder feature of Strava.
2. Export and import to your watch
It is also possible to export an activity as a route and import it to your watch, if it is capable of navigation. The Garmin Fenix series (1, 2, and 3) and Suunto Ambit series support this feature. Specific details are beyond the scope of this post, but in general, you can create a route in Strava, export to GPX/TCX, and then copy the file to your watch. You most likely won’t be able to import it via Garmin Connect or Suunto Movescount since Strava uses a non-standard GPX/TCX file format, but if you plug your watch in to your computer, and just copy the file over to the watch in Windows Explorer (or Finder on a Mac), the route will be accessible on your device for navigation.
Find Segments/Places to Run
If you travel often, are new to the area, or just looking for a different place to run, these Strava features are invaluable. For certain cities, Strava has compiled a list of places to run via their Strava Local feature. If you are lucky enough to live in one of these cities, be sure to check it out for some great route suggestions. For everyone else, you can use the Segment Explore or Segment Search feature which will let you see segments other users have run in the area. This can be really helpful in finding a run you want to do, or helping you find an area to go explore. One downside in my experience is that it’s difficult to find complete runs since it is primarily segments, but it has helped me get to some great trailheads where I can piece together my own run.
Join and Create Clubs
Strava has a Club feature, which is effectively an online group within Strava that anyone can create. One benefit of using the Club feature is that within the Strava app itself, you can filter out your Feed and only show activities from other Club members if you’d like. This can be helpful if you have a lot of connections with active people on Strava since it helps you de-clutter your feed. Another benefit of the Club feature for the competitors in the group is the Leaderboard. On the Club page, club members will be ranked by distance, time, and climbing for the current week and the previous week. There’s also a club specific discussion forum, but I haven’t personally found much value in that in the clubs I’m in. They don’t seem to be used very much.
Track mileage on your shoes
Neatly tucked away under My Profile, is a section titled My Gear. My Gear lets you enter in your shoes (and bikes) and their starting mileage. Once your shoes have been entered, you can then indicate which pair you used on a given run. Strava will keep track of the total mileage, and even notify you once you’ve reached a certain user defined threshold. When you do decide to replace a particular pair of shoes, you can retire them within Strava.
Mask your location
If you haven’t seen recent news stories about people’s bikes getting stolen after criminals found out where they lived by looking at their Strava activities, then you should. Once you are done, head on over to the Strava web interface (you can’t do this in the mobile app), go to Settings and Privacy, and enter in your home address. Any runs you do from within 500 meters to 1 kilometer of the entered location will be masked by Strava so no one will be able to find out exactly where you live. When you view the activity, you’ll see the exact route, but no one else will.
Follow your idols
Are you a big fan of elite runners like Anton Krupicka, Sage Canaday, Kilian Jornet, Rob Krar, Max King, Stephanie Howe, Dylan Bowman, Kaci Lickteig, or Larisa Dannis? All of them use Strava and all of them can be searched for and followed on Strava. Some of them will even interact with you via Strava’s buit-in comment feature (Sage Canaday seems particularly responsive). Whether it’s motivation, curiosity, or super fanning you are after, head on over to the Athlete Search and find all your favorite athletes.
Upgrade to Premium
Strava definitely provides a lot of great features and functionality for free, but if you want to access more advanced features, you’ll want to upgrade to a premium account. With a premium account you get the following features and more:
- Suffer Score
- Filtered Leaderboards
- Training Plans
- Advanced Workout Analysis
- Race Analysis
- Real-Time Segments
- Active Friends
- Trophy Case
- GPX Download
The one that most intrigues me on this list is the GPX Download. With this feature, you can essentially grab someone else’s activity file and use it to Navigate. A Premium accounts is $6/month or $59/year.
So there you have it. 8 pretty cool features you probably didn’t even know existed. Try them out, and let me know what your thoughts are in the comments below.