You can draw the perfect route with the swipe of your finger with Strava's new mobile Route Builder.

By Renee Cherry
Photo: Westend61 / Getty Images

When you're on a trip, deciding on a running route can be a pain. You can ask a local or try mapping something out yourself, but it always takes some effort. Forget winging it, unless you're okay with leaving elevation and traffic to fate. A new tool on Strava makes the process way faster, though. The fitness app just rolled out a new tool that will cut down on the time it takes you to plan a run-and TBH it's pretty brilliant. (Related: The Best Free Apps for Runners)

To use the new mobile Route Builder, you use your finger to draw a path on a map on your phone where you want to run or bike. Yep, it's that simple. Here's the cool part: The rough path you drew then snaps to an ideal route based on the most popular paths for the activity you chose. Since Strava has a database of roads and trails with trillions of GPS points, you can rest assured you'll end up with a well-traveled path. Once you've determined your course, you can export it as a file that can be loaded onto a GPS device if you don't want to run with your phone. You can also share it with other Strava users, which should clearly be used to send a heart-shaped route to your soulmate. (Here's why every runner needs a mindful training plan.)

Strava, which bills itself as "the social network for athletes," already has a desktop version of the Route Builder. But it's not as seamless as the new update, requiring you to click on a starting point, add another point a few feet away, add a third, and so on. With the mobile version, you just have to specify whether you'll be running or biking and trace a closed loop or point-to-point path. That said, the desktop version has an advantage: Unlike the new mobile version, it lets you control elevation gain and total mileage. We're hopeful that will be added to the app soon. (Related: How to Rekindle Your Running Motivation)

The mobile Route Build is still in its beta phase, and only available to Summit members, who pay a monthly fee. Strava reps say the plan is to get feedback and roll it out to everyone. So even if you don't have a membership, you'll eventually be able to use it to quickly plot your routes.

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February 15, 2019