Strava has big plans to help keep you safe when you're working out – here's what's on the way

Woman running alone on bridge at night
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Despite the benefits of exercising outdoors, for many people – particularly women – safety is still a major barrier. Those working full-time may have no option but to exercise at night, when routes that are fine during the day might suddenly feel dark and isolated. Workout apps that share maps of your runs are great for motivation and receiving encouragement from friends, but they can also let strangers work out where you live, and when you're likely to be running or cycling alone.

Earlier this week, we sat down in London with several members of Strava's executive team, including CEO Michael Martin and CBO Zipporah Allen, to hear what you can expect from the app over the coming months, and what's happening behind the scenes to help keep you safer. 

Martin explained that the company has "a long-term commitment to reduce the barriers faced by women in sport", and Allen went on to discuss two new features that will be rolling out soon to help you feel more safe and comfortable. 

Night heatmaps

First, the app will soon offer night heatmaps, which show the most popular routes people use between sundown and sunrise. These might be very different from those used during the day, but you may not be aware of that, particularly if you are new to the area. Allen explained that her work takes her all over the world, and she often runs at night in new cities, so knowing the routes that local people take after dark is extremely helpful, allowing her to avoid areas that are popular during the day, but unlit and unwelcoming after dark.

Personally, I can think of several parks and one long mixed-use cycle path that I use all the time during daylight, but wouldn't touch at night. Toggling between day and night heatmaps will give others that same knowledge at the tap of a finger so they can plan a suitable route.

Quick editing

The second key safety feature coming to your phone soon is quick editing, which will allow you to edit key bits of information about your run as soon as it's logged. 

This feature will make it more straightforward to give your workout a new name ("no more 'Morning Run'", Allen explained with evident satisfaction), but also hide the start and end point to prevent people working out exactly where you're staying, or even hide the map entirely if you prefer. The new feature will also make it simple to edit or hide the start time or fitness data, giving you more direct control over what appears on your profile.

At the press briefing, several people were unaware that hiding parts of your route was even an option, but Quick Edit will bring that option to the fore.

I'm looking forward to testing these features in the near future. As safety tools, both will be available to all Strava users, not just those with a premium subscription. For more details, check out Strava's full press release.

Cat Ellis

Cat is the editor of Advnture, She’s been a journalist for 15 years, and was fitness and wellbeing editor on TechRadar before joining the Advnture team in 2022. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better), usually wearing at least two sports watches.