Why I Switched from MapMyRun to Strava

You may remember I did a post a while back on all the perks of using MapMyRun to track my running routes. I was a dedicated MapMyRun user up until this winter when I started getting kind of annoyed by the app.

Why I Switched from MapMyRun to Strava | 2 Generations RunningIt’s always been clear that the paces/distances covered are slightly off between my Garmin and the app (with the app generally indicating longer distance and faster splits), but as my runs got longer with marathon training, it got crazy. MapMyRun would be off by as much as 2 miles on my 20-milers! In the already fragile mental state that comes with running 20+ miles, this got really annoying. Hearing the voice feedback from MapMyRun that I had hit 20 miles when I was actually only at mile 18 was semi-heartbreaking. After experiencing that a few times, I had had enough.

I had heard good things about Strava from a few different runners, so I decided to try it. After using it for the past 5 or so months, I have to say I am a complete convert. It’s not a perfect fix from the issues I experienced with MapMyRun, but it makes up for those shortcomings by being excellent in other areas.

The Pro’s of Strava:

  • The segment leadership boards. As a pretty competitive person, this is my favorite feature. It’s so fun being able to see the times in which other Strava users ran the same routes and see where you stack up. I was pretty stoked to top the leaderboard on the 5k course I ran on Sunday, even with a time that’s not my best!!!

Strava Leaderboard

  • You can search for segments in your area which can help you find new running routes to try out.

Strava Leadership Boards | 2 Generations Running(As you can see, you can also obtain “Premium Leaderboards” by paying for the app which further break down the segment leaderboards. A cool feature, but frankly I’m content with the level of data I get with the free version).

  • It shows how you are trending on certain routes – faster or slower.
  • The general data presentation is better than on MapMyRun. It shows your mile splits, average pace, route, elevation profile, and pace analysis (see below).

Strava Review | 2 Generations Running(The pace analysis screen from a speed workout I did last week. You can see where I slowed wayyy down in between sets.)

  • Strava can also be used for recording biking. I’m not really big into cycling so I don’t use this feature, but I know it appeals to a lot of other folks.

The Con’s of Strava:

  • As a pretty competitive person, knowing I am using the app can make it pretty tempting to run my easy runs a little too fast because I feel like I’m racing other Strava users. And there is something that bums me out about having the app tell me I just ran my route slower than usual (even if that was the whole point of the run!)
  • I don’t think it’s really any more accurate in recording distance than MapMyRun was. It still seems to be off a little bit from my Garmin. For example, on my last 22 mile training run, Strava recorded it as 23.3 miles. Obviously, these issues are magnified on longer runs. For anything under 10-15 miles, it seems to be fairly good.
  • It still has challenges, much the way MapMyRun does, but I have yet to receive any discounts to running/athletic apparel brands the way I did with Under Armour through using MapMyRun.
  • It’s a little easier to “add gear” (like running shoes) in the MapMyRun app for the purposes of tracking mileage. You can do it through Strava, but not through the app (you have to log on and do it through your PC).

Overall, I think Strava appeals to me because I have gotten more serious and competitive with running over the past year. I love racing, and Strava can help turn any run into a race if you decide you want to try to claim the top of a leaderboard. It also has more of a Facebook-esque/social media vibe to it, in that it has a feed that will show the most recent runs of other runners who you are connected with (so you can do a little creeping on the training of your super speedy arch nemesis!)

Do you use Strava or a different running app? Do you experience issues with it being off from what your GPS watch records?

4 thoughts on “Why I Switched from MapMyRun to Strava

  1. You raise some solid points here, Nora. Back in high school I used Strands.com and loved it. But since they retired it, I’ve been a huge advocate of logarun and running2win since all my friends used them and I was never big on needing the GPS map data. Joined Strava as my track club has a page there and it’s really got all the fixins for those who enjoy analytical data and looking at maps. Definitely a state of the art app for runners, cyclists, or even swimmers. Only problems I found is when doing track workouts, the 400 meters is the innermost line and most GPS watches typically record it long. 3 Miles worth of intervals could come out to 3.2 and you can’t edit down the distance on a GPS import – so I always manually entered those kinds of sessions. It’s also possible for someone to snatch a segment record via biking, elliptigo, or driving (God forbid) and save the activity as a run – definitely not fair for the individual who truly holds the record. They also don’t have spots on the PR list for races shorter than 1500 meters, but maybe that’s my problem since about a third of the races I run are shorter than 1500m. Being chronically injured sucks too since I’m always showing on the bottom of the lists for whatever clubs I’m a member of, and the maps shed unnecessary light on road races I’ve dropped out of.

    Also proves your point regarding MapMyRun. It measures as if you were driving the course, not running all the tangents the way you would in a road race – that adds up, especially for longer runs. I know a guy who owns a top-rated event management company and directs several races across New England. He uses mapmyrun to plan/measure the courses – comes up short every time. All his 5ks are only 3ish miles, 10ks are 6.0-6.1, and you can see it on the Strava GPS posts for that activity. People will likely brag about their new “PRs” left and right, then complain they ran poorly when they’re a whole 30-45 seconds slower on a true certified course a week or two down the road – in reality that “slower” race may have been the better performance.

    Anyways, that’s my two cents worth. Congrats on a great marathon and hope everything’s going well with you! 🙂


    • Ravi Saini

      My biggest gripe about Strava is the inability to correct the distances when you know they are wrong and when you know what the correct distance is.

      Birdman, that guy in New England is an idiot. I once ran a race that was measured by Map My Run once and “PR”‘ ‘d. I was annoyed with the organizer but tried not to let my annoyance show. Now I only run races on USATF-certified courses.


  2. Ravi Saini

    I like Strava better, but only on the computer. I recommend not running with a phone, or if you really want to listen to music or podcasts while you run, run with the phone in airplane mode and only use it for that purpose, not for collecting GPS data. You can do that with your GPS watch.


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