I have been a loyal Strava user for the past few years now. Given my often frequent travel to new locations across the state and country, it was nice to pull up the segment explorer and see where I could find some solid routes. Even here at Run Oregon, we have been doing a Strava Segment of the Week post to highlight some cool spots locally to challenge yourself on your next run.
But beyond using the app for my own day-to-day tracking, and searching other people’s routes to find runs, I find it fun to create my own – both for the Strava community at large, as well as just for myself. Though I have created 16 routes that I found enjoyable (my favorites of which being the MERA loop trail just outside of La Grande and the Blue Basin loop in the John Day Fossil Beds NM), I have also created a private short .5 mile route that starts at my work office and is the beginning of the stretch I always start with 3-4 times week. It’s been fun to see how my times vary and improve depending on the season and my energy level.
That’s why the addition of their newest feature – the ability to create a route by just using your finger – has me very excited. Previously, the only way to create a route was to log into your account on your desktop (fine, but mildly annoying) followed by clicking through street by street to get the route. The update allows you to just use your finger and guide your route, which is not just limited to streets as it will be based on their “heatmap”data from all the activities that Strava members have logged.
Though the feature is still in “beta” mode, it still functions pretty well and is simple enough to give it a whirl. You need to make sure you have the app (duh) and that you are a paid Summit member and not using the free version. Beyond that, it’s pretty easy.
- Open the app like normal and click record like normal
- Click the icon in the lower left that takes you to the Routes section
- Click the “+” button in the top right
- Zoom in on where your route is and click the pencil button
- Give your route the finger!
After you do this, Strava will use it’s heatmap magic to create the likely route and then you can name it and save! Here’s a great video by DC Rainmaker:
There are some minor limitations which I am assuming will come with Strava putting some tweaks on this (it is still beta after all). Stuff like the fact that you can’t manually edit your route if the magic course isn’t completely accurate and you have to do the route all in one motion without removing your finger. Again, I am sure this stuff will be ironed out.
That being said, this is a great update. There have been a ton of times that I have stumbled into a great running route at random and want to share it with the world – but don’t want to have to get on my computer to do so. This is likely the first step into the future of Strava, and one that I’m pumped about!