Strava, the free cycling and running smartphone app that has turned recreational athletes into compete-to-the-death jocks every time they get on their bike or slip on their running shoes, released an update this week, which gives premium users several real-time feedback options that are set to turn even the most casual Strava user into rabid Stravanator.
Strava allows cyclists and runners to go on a route and then compare their speeds on different segments with any other Strava users who has covered the same ground. Previously, Strava users had to wait until they finished a ride or run before they could view their performance metrics and see how they compared to everyone else on a particular portion of their route. Now, for users who pay the annual fee of $59 (or $6 a month) for a premium account, those stats show up immediately after each segment is finished. Prior to the update, premium accounts provided “suffer scores,” as well as some training planning tools that we never found compelling enough to pony up for. Real time updates have us thinking about it, though…
That feature is available now to both iPhone and Android, but Android users are getting two more feature in this upgrade that iPhone users are going to have to wait on: live audio segment updates and Track Your Friends. Live audio updates allow users to get coach-in-the-ear feedback on how they’re doing on a segment without having to so much as glance at their phones. Track Your Friends allows users to see, in real-time, who of their friends and followers are currently out exercising and where they are at the moment. This makes meeting up on the road that much easier and also allows even more immediate competition on the segments. Location and activity tracking is turned off by default, so don’t worry about being stalked by those people who you don’t want following you.
Strava does admit that all these new features can create more drain on the phone’s battery, but that’s a small price to pay for knowing that you just kicked your friend’s butt by six seconds on the toughest climb in your hood. And, if you’re on Strava, you know exactly what we’re talking about.