A client recently asked about STRAVA’s paid for subscription and whether it was worth while upgrading. Decided to document my answer as a blog post for future reference as I imagine a number of people ask themselves this.
As you will be aware, STRAVA operate a FREEMIUM model whereby you get the majority of the software for free, but if you want to unlock some additional functionality then you can upgrade to a paid account. For the majority of users the free version (which I think is pretty good!) will plenty and certainly meet most peoples needs.
At time of writing the paid for version costs just £44.99 when billed annually or £5.99 monthly. So what do you get? Actually quite a lot, but the question as always is will you use the majority of these features? (Personally I have been a subscriber since 2013, but then I am a data geek and can’t really imagine life without Strava Data !!)
Compete on segments : Keep track of your progress and see how you stack up against your friends on your favourite segments. Maybe not that interesting as other than maybe ego, what does it really help you with?
Compare past efforts : Automatically match runs and rides on the same route so you can see how your performance changes over time. Now this is very helpful, especially if you are a bit of a creature of habit like me! Lets you visualise progress.
Advanced Performance Metrics: If you don’t have a paid for subscription with TrainingPeaks then this will probably be the next best thing. Import power and HT data (from pretty much any device you can imagine!) and Strava has a crack at interpreting it for you. It is a bit simplistic but that might be a benefit compared to the data soup that TrainingPeaks throws at you!
Training Dashboard: Similar to Advanced Performance Metrics, but if you are a Garmin user then you really already have this for free in Garmin Connect. In theory this gives you another version of how your fitness is supposed to be improving.
Custom Goals: Recently improved but still a bit rubbish really! It is a little interesting to set yourself a time or distance goal, but having said the I have not used this feature ever as it just leaves me a little cold.
Analyse your training: this has the potential for being useful as it enables you to see trends across multiple training sessions. It does however require you to firstly do the same set multiple times and secondly know what you are looking for. Unless you are quite knowledgable and love data based training then you are probably not going to use this one much.
Plan & Discover Routes: Very hand if you are out of town or looking to break the boredom of always running the same route.
Beacon broadcast: This feature I do like and a number of my female friends love the added security this offers them when out training alone. Let’s you share your location and route details with trusted family and friends. But you can probably do this with your fitness tracker already. Worth doing, but are you paying for something you already have?
On balance £50 per year is not going to break the bank for most people that love their cycling and running. In context to what is a surprisingly expensive sport this is not much to pay. Do I think the extra features are worth it? No, not really! So why do I pay? Because I think Strava in it’s entirety IS worth it and I would like them to thrive and have a viable business. That won’t happen if everyone is a freeloader and just exploits the FREEMIUM model by using the free version and never paying (what in my view is) a minimal fee.
But each to their own.
Coach & Founder
A Personal Trainer & England Athletic qualified Coach. In addition two 1:1 coaching Ed founded BitFitter, an innovative training platform.
When not Coaching, he competes in Duathlon and plays golf very badly!