Whether you’ve got a Garmin or an Apple Watch, if you care about tracking your runs, rides or even your swims, you’re probably using Strava to log that data. And we don’t blame you, it’s a firm favourite here at Wareable HQ too.

Strava has recently revamped its platform with Summit, essentially a revamp of its premium version that unlocks additional features obviously not available in the free version of Strava.

Essential reading: Best GPS sports watches to buy

Now Summit breaks things down into three packs, Safety, Training and Analysis. You can invest in these packs individually or collectively on a monthly or annual basis. All of the packs come with Strava’s new Summit perks that gets you discounts on a range of brands too.

We’ve been spending some time getting to know Summit to find out what’s new and discover the features that might persuade you to part with your cash. We’ve broken things down by the individual packs and focused on running (for now) to make it easier to see what you get when you sign up.

Got any questions? Let us know in the comments section below.

Strava Summit: Training pack

This Summit pack is all about getting ready for race day. So if you need some guidance on what you can do to be better prepared, whether that’s training plans or getting more in-depth analysis for your training sessions, this what you’ll get from the Training Pack

Training Plans

Strava Summit guide: The lowdown

Whether you’re using the web app or the smartphone app, cyclists and runners (sorry swimmers) can build training plans and then every day of that plan you’ll receive an email with detailed instructions of what you need to do for that day’s session. You can also glance at your full plan, which is better on the desktop app right now, as it’s still in beta on the phone.

Custom goals

This is your opportunity to keep yourself motivated by setting up personal challenges and is available for runners, cyclists and swimmers. Currently, this is a feature that’s only accessible through the web app. Custom goals are also based on either segments or power. So for the latter, you’ll need to own a power meter like the Stryd, or a setup that pairs Garmin’s Running Pod a compatible sports watch that supports power, for example.

Once you’ve decided what you want that custom goal to be, you can set a deadline and will also show you other athletes with similar goals.

Filtered leaderboards

If you want to know how you compare to Strava users that are the same age or weight as you, this is your way to make it happen. The best way we’ve found doing this is from the phone app. When you view a logged session and go to segments, you can select individual segments. Scroll down all the way down the page to see the filtered leaderboards. If you haven’t entered in your weight and age to get the most useful filtered leaderboards, you can edit those in the My Profile section of the app.

Live performance data

When you sign up for the Training Summit pack you can expect to get a boost on the data you can see in real time. So while you usually see averages for metrics like heart rate, speed, cadence and power, you’ll be able to see those same metrics but with real-time data. So if you care about the data from the moment, you’re going to have a lot of time for this.

Race analysis

Strava Summit guide: The lowdown

You’ve crossed the line and managed to stop your watch or reach for your phone to end the session. Once your legs a feeling a bit normal again and you’ve refuelled, there’s a good chance you want to know how you performed. Race analysis will of course only appear on races. So it’ll recognise high profile marathons and half marathons.

You can only view your race analysis in the web app at the moment, when you select the relevant activity in your feed. Just look for the option on the left hand side. The data you’ll get is a breakdown of splits, laps and pace, letting you view markers for key distances in the race. Adding pace zone data (which we’ll get onto next) also add another layer of data and is referred to as GAP (Grade Adjusted Pace) as part of your analysis.

Pace analysis

Strava Summit guide: The lowdown

Let’s talk about pace. That’s the number of minutes it takes to cover a mile of kilometre. It’s that data that Strava wants to make use of to align your workouts with your target goals. From the My Performance tab, which you can find under Settings in the web app, you can enter a recent race time to calculate running pace zones. You’ll find it alongside where you can enter heart rate zones and power zones.

Strava Summit guide: The lowdown

The idea is that with that running pace zone data placed into zones using Grade Adjusted Pace (GAP), it’ll show you how long you spend in each pace zone. Those zones are shown in the screenshot above. You will now have the ability to see how your pace varies for different forms of running workouts. Essentially it’s an alternative way from heart rate and power to govern your training.

Strava Summit: Safety pack

Strava Summit guide: The lowdown

If you train a lot alone (and we’re sure there’s a lot of you that do), Strava’s safety pack introduces a couple of features that will help friends and family have a better idea of where you are and when you’re out running or riding.

Beacon

If you’ve been a long term Strava, you may well be familiar with Beacon. The concept was inspired by users and allows safety contacts to see where you are on a map in real time. So if you said you’d be back in an hour and you’re not, you’ll be able to see where you are.

Read this: Best fitness trackers to buy

So how does Beacon work? When you start a run or ride from the Strava mobile app, look for the Beacon icon in the bottom right hand corner. From there, you can choose to share your location and share a Beacon with up to three safety contacts. You’ll need to allow Strava to access the contacts on your phone to select those safety contacts.

If you also run or ride with a Garmin watch, you can share your location while using your Bluetooth-packing device. You’ll need to link your Strava account with your Garmin Connect account first though.

Personal Heatmaps

Strava Summit guide: The lowdown

If you want to know the routes you’ve covered whether that’s for cycling or running, you can get a better insight with personal heatmaps. To view those maps, go to the Dashboard dropdown menu on the web app and Heatmaps will be down the bottom. You can generate heatmaps for the year, all-time or a custom data range.

From a privacy point of view, these maps will only show data from activities that you’ve made public. Additionally, if you’ve set up privacy zones, those will not be displayed in these heatmaps.

Strava Summit: Analysis pack

Strava Summit guide: The lowdown

This pack is pretty self explanatory. If you’re a sucker for poring over your data after each training session or race, then you’ll be able to get your fix here. Here’s what you can expect if you opt for the Analysis option.

Relative Effort

This heart rate based metric developed by Strava along data scientist Dr. Marco Altini offers another insight into the intensity of your logged activities. So it works for running, swimming, cycling and pretty much anything where you have a heart rate monitor strapped on.

Read this: Best Strava-compatible watches

The metric is developed from Strava’s Suffer Score (which is no longer available) and matched with workloads for thousands of activities to offer an accurate measurement of your fitness level.

That Relative Effort data (image above) can be viewed within each tracked activity showing how the latest effort relates to your most recent efforts. You can also view weekly effort data indicating whether you are maintaining a good level for building fitness.

Fitness and freshness

Strava Summit guide: The lowdown

For those who don’t know when they need to give their bodies a break, this Analysis pack feature wants to help you track fitness over time and identify trends where actually maybe you should be resting. It takes the heart rate-based Relative Effort data and combines that with training load generated from your power numbers (you’ll need a power meter for this) to produce a graph plotting the data.

A number is assigned for your fitness level, fatigue and form in this graph. The latter is the difference between fitness level and fatigue. The idea is that if your fatigue level is above your fitness number, maybe think about reducing your training.

To confuse things slightly, this feature lives inside of the Training section of the Strava app and is currently only viewable from the web app.

Workout analysis

Strava Summit guide: The lowdown

A feature heavily geared towards runners, workout analysis essentially an easier way to get to grips with your splits. Available to view in the web and mobile app for each logged activity you’ll see splits by miles or KM or based on when you use your device’s lap button. Those splits are displayed in different shades of blue to indicate intensity. If you’ve set up the pace zones we mentioned in the Training pack, you’ll also be able to view pace zones too.

Live segments

Strava Summit guide: The lowdown

If you’re all about owning segments and you need to know if you’ve nailed a new PR, this feature is basically for you. Getting that real-time segment data can be viewed from the phone app and from a bunch of compatible devices including the likes of the Garmin Fenix 5 Plus, Forerunner 935 and Forerunner 645 Music. A full list of compatible devices can be found here.

You’ll need to link your Strava account with your Garmin Connect one. When you’re out with your wearable you’ll be able to view when you’re approaching a segment, view your PR and see the next person in the leaderboard that you might have set sight on beating.

Power analysis

Strava Summit guide: The lowdown

As the name suggests, this feature is all about power. It’s a metric that has been used by serious cyclists for years and it’s starting to find its way into the world of running. If you use a power meter for cycling, this is is the place to delve deeper into the data. The range of insights include weighted average power, total work, training load, power curve, power zone distribution and intensity. Basically, there’s a lot here and if you care about power, this is one for you.


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