Strava is launching a big update of its platform, but behind a new name for its premium service and a lick of paint for some big features, a big shift to putting key features behind a paywall will dominate the headlines.
The per month (for a year's subscription) or monthly rolling subscription will now play a bigger role in Strava, with most Segment features and performance analysis now going to be paid for.
There’s always been a paid-for element of Strava, which was dedicated to many of the advanced performance analytics, such as Suffer Score and Training Effect. This was called Strava Premium and was renamed Summit in 2018.
That initially launched with three ‘packs’ to lower the cost of buying a subscription, but last year all packs were merged into one Strava Summit package – and that’s now changed name again to Strava Subscription.
New training features
Strava Subscription offers some new and improved features, including a new Training tab in the mobile app which shows off analysis of Weekly Activities, a Training Log, details on your Weekly Intensity and Monthly Fitness trends.
Essentially, this takes your workout data and cuts, dices and blends it into trends so you can keep tabs on your output.
Weekly Intensity shows your week's cumulative fitness and shows whether it's in a healthy zone, whether you've ramped things up too quickly, or slacked off.
Monthly Fitness will also produce a Fitness Score based on the Relative Effort metric and the amount of workouts you tracked. It will then compare your progress over customisable periods, between one month and two years, and show you how your fitness has trended.
Further to the Routes feature launching on mobile that showed popular places to run and cycling, the Route Planner mapping feature on the web app is also getting up upgrade.
The mapping will be provided from Map Box and will also be able to determine terrain – just like the mobile Routes. The main difference is that you’ll be able to build routes from scratch – and thanks to the new Garmin Courses API, send them to devices, or just export as GPX files.
However, that mapping tool is also moving from free to paid for too.
Beloved features are now paid-for
But some well-loved features are heading behind the paywall, in addition to the Strava Route Builder.
While Segments remains part of the free experience, pretty much all interesting data about them – leaderboards and history across that Segment – will only be available to those with a paid subscription.
Leaderboards and your personal history on Segments will be paid-for, and you will only be able to see the top 10 males and females, and any KOM/QOM, course records and personal bests.
Matched Runs will also be disappearing to Strava Subscription – which will probably drive plenty of runners to paying out. That’s where Strava takes routes you’ve run before and lets you compare you progress over time, and how your performance is trending. It’s also launching Matched Cycles, the biking equivalent.
The fact is that Strava hasn’t been making money as a company, and many of these features, particularly Segments, cost a lot to develop. Strava has realised that these features are what make the platform special, so it wants you to pay to access them.
There’s a heart-felt letter from the founders explaining the changes – but we’ll presume that a lot of the community won’t like having to pay for stuff they used to get for free.
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