In this article, we’re comparing Strava vs MapMyRun, two common and popular apps that runners use to track their workouts.
They’re both worth looking at if you want an easy-to-use tracking app. But they do have some notable differences, so read through each one here before you decide which one to download.
Let’s have a look at each one so you can decide which one would suit you and your running best.
What Is Strava?
Strava is actually designed to track both running and cycling metrics, so if you’re a triathlete it may be a good option for you so you can keep track of both on one app.
It primarily uses GPS tracking to work out your basic metrics like distance and pace, and you can track other metrics too if you connect a heart rate monitor, power meter, or cadence sensor.
As well as tracking a large range of different metrics, you can also download monthly round-ups which will give you an overview of all your activities during the month.
Strava is also a very active social side. Runners will be able to create a profile and join different “clubs”, and you can also follow your running friends or pro athletes who also use the platform.
With over 86 million users, the social aspect is one of the biggest parts of the app. You can interact with other users by liking and commenting on their workouts or stats, and meet others with similar interests.
You may even be able to find a running coach or get advice from other athletes regarding your running or cycling.
Is It Free?
You can download Strava for free onto your phone but you won’t have access to all the features. If you only want to track the basics like time, distance, calories burned, and elevation, the free version will be enough.
You can upgrade to Strava Summit, which includes all the metrics, the ability to connect other devices, as well as challenges and training plans. This will cost $5 per month, or $59.99 for a full year’s subscription.
Considering the affordable nature of the app, it’s worth investing in if you take data tracking seriously and want to use it to improve your performance.
Interaction With Others
Whenever you record a workout, it gets posted on your newsfeed and others can see it and comment on it. Similarly, you can view, like, and comment on others’ workouts as well.
It can be motivating to read encouraging comments and get a lot of likes on your activity. You may find that it leads to new friendships being formed, or perhaps you’ll even get a pro runner liking your activity at some point!
You can also join clubs to meet like-minded people. Clubs can be based around areas, type of activity, brands, specific running or cycling shops, and even more. You can also create your own club if you want to.
Real-Time Information Sharing
Strava has a feature called Beacon, which allows you to share your real-time location with anyone else on the app.
You can nominate someone as your safety contact, so that if something does happen, they’ll be notified.
Segments are particular routes or sections that have been bookmarked by Strava users. They can create a leaderboard for every Strava user who has run that segment, so you can see who’s done it before you and who comes after you.
It’s also a good way to find new routes to run if you need a bit of a change. Or you can create your own segments and add them to Strava’s database.
Variety of Routes
Strava has built-in routes that you can use on the app. Alternatively, you can create your own route in the app or upload one to your phone to follow. You can also filter routes by surface, so you can choose exactly what you want.
Many Challenges to Choose From
If you need some extra motivation, you can sign up for Strava challenges. These can be anything from hitting a distance goal for the week to climbing a mountain nearby. This can be fun, challenging, and inspiring, as well as keeping you fit, healthy, and having fun.
Audio Announcement is a handy tool that tells you your time and pace in ½-mile or 1-mile increments. This is an excellent way to keep track of how far you’ve run without needing to check your watch while you’re running.
Advanced Metrics in Paid Subscription
If you choose to become a paying member of Strava, you’ll have access to a large range of metrics and training tools. Not only will you be able to plan your routes and training sessions in advance, but you’ll be able to track them all in a handy training log.
The app will also recommend specific routes for you, which can be nice if you want something new. You’ll be able to use performance analysis on your rides and races, and set goals that are in line with your current fitness level.
Once you’ve set a goal, you can add a training plan to help you aim for it. You can also access a variety of other metrics if you have the appropriate sensor—Power Curve for a power meter, and others for HRMs and cadence sensors.
Worry or Fear
For many casual runners or cyclists, sharing their information on a social platform like Strava can be intimidating. Especially for beginners. Your results can be seen by many people, and the fear of judgment can make you scared of how others will see your training.
Some runners don’t like to add their slower or shorter runs to their Strava, because they feel that it makes them look bad.
There are privacy controls to limit what other athletes see, but that requires some extra fiddling with the app.
Social Media Overload
If you get involved in the social side of Strava, it can become another detrimental social media channel that you spend too much time on.
Not only can this eat into your valuable time, but it can also lead to typical online troubles like cyber-bullying and unhealthy comparisons.
Interaction May Be Limited
At this point, there’s no direct messaging feature on Strava. That means that if runners wish to interact with others, it’s all seen by the general public.
While this is not necessarily a bad thing and can prevent harassment and abuse, it also limits you in terms of making new friends or moving off of the platform to keep chatting.
Limited Ability to Track Cross-Training
Strava is primarily for tracking running and cycling metrics. You can also track swimming, but there’s no ability to track other cross-training activities.
If you do rowing, elliptical, stair-stepper, weightlifting, or any other form of training, you won’t be able to track your metrics here.
Who Should Use Strava?
Strava is an excellent tool for those who value data and who also like some social interaction on the side.
If you like to compete in new and exciting activities with an element of competition, the Strava is also a good choice.
What is MapMyRun?
MapMyRun falls into Under Armour’s suite of fitness apps. It’s part of a group that includes a variety of similar apps, such as MapMyWalk, MapMyRide, and MapMyFitness.
If you want to keep your training sessions and data separate, you can download each app that’s appropriate for you. But MapMyRun itself can track an impressive 700 or more activities, so you may not even need the others.
Like Strava, it uses GPS data to track your basic metrics like distance and time. You can download it onto both Apple phones and Android phones.
There are fewer users than Strava—just 20 million or so. It doesn’t have a social side like Strava does either, so it may be a better choice for users who don’t want to interact with other people.
Is It Free?
Like Strava, you can download the free version of MapMyRun, which will monitor your basic data. If you want to upgrade and get access to detailed metrics and in-depth training programs, you can subscribe to the paid version, which will cost $5.99 if you pay monthly, or $29.99 for an annual subscription.
This may be a slightly higher monthly price than Strava, but the yearly cost is significantly cheaper.
MapMyRun allows you to start quickly with a single tap. It’s easy and user-friendly.
When you’ve finished your run, you can analyze your performance in detail, with visual representations of your data. You can also use this data to compare runs, so you can see how you’re progressing.
You can also discover new routes close by where you are and save your favorite running routes to use again later.
A very useful feature is the shoe tracker, which allows you to track which shoes you’ve worn for which sessions and also tells you when you should replace them based on how much they’ve been worn.
Not only will you get audio information like your pace, distance, and time during a run, but you can also make use of the Audio Coaching feature. This allows you to set goals for your workout, and will give you audio alerts when you get close, so you don’t have to check your watch or phone.
You can join or start challenges and invite your friends to do them with you. This adds a bit of healthy competition to your training, which can be extremely motivating.
As long as your compatible device tracks everything, you don’t need your phone to be nearby. When you do get back within range, your phone will sync to your device and catch up on data.
This allows you to run freely without worrying about carrying a phone with you. It’s safer and more convenient and you never miss data even if your phone is at home.
Huge Variety of Activities
With the ability to track more than 700 different activities, you can track almost any different form of cross-training that you choose to do in addition to running.
Lack of Community
The social aspect of this app is much less robust than Strava. While you can join MapMyRun Facebook groups or other social media platforms, there’s no in-app community like you get with Strava.
Some runners may find that this is a pro rather than a con. It depends on the runner’s personality and running goals.
Free Version Has Ads
If you choose to use the free version, you will find that ads pop up often. This may become annoying and push you into buying the paid version, even if you don’t specifically need the extra features.
Can Only Create Custom Route on Computer
If you want to add a custom route to your MapMyRun account, you have to create it on your laptop and then send it to your phone. You can’t create a custom route within the app. This can be inconvenient for many users.
Who Should Use MapMyRun?
Runners who don’t want to interact with others online should definitely consider MapMyRun over Strava.
Also, runners who are looking for cost-effective solutions will find that MapMyRun is more affordable than Strava for advanced tracking dynamics.