When you can't scrounge up a running buddy, or just prefer to train alone, Strava's got your back.
The running-and-cycling tracker app this week turned on Beacon for Premium users, which lets you select safety contacts who can see you on a real-time map during an activity. If you're not back on time, they can check in and, if necessary, see your location via GPS.
"Let's say it's 3:30, and you said you'd be home at 3 and you're not moving toward home," senior product manager Ethan Hollinshead said. "That's a good indication that [your safety contact] should reach out to you and see what's up."
Whether you stopped for a post-run snack or got a flat tire, Beacon is designed to provide peace of mind—"to keep people from unnecessarily worrying about you," Hollinshead said.
The friends, partners, and parents who use Beacon don't have to log in to Strava, or even install the app. Strava users just send them a secure and randomized URL, compatible with any desktop or mobile browser.
"While we are proud of the new feature, we can't take all the credit. The concept for Beacon came from the Strava community," the company said in a blog post.
"We started by surveying our athletes to find out what types of features they would be most interested in, and safety ranked highest," director of product marketing Rayleen Hsu added.
To use Beacon, make sure your handset is running the latest version of Strava, and that you've allowed the app to share your phone's location. Then, when you start a new run or ride, tap the Beacon icon in the lower right and pick three safety contacts to receive your location. An orange dot indicates the feature is active.
Users must send a text at the start of each new activity to keep Beacon up to date.
Keep in mind that in areas with poor GPS or mobile coverage, location data could be delayed or inaccurate, and that the feature does not work in airplane mode.