Not every athlete has a team of coaches that come along with them for every workout or training session. More likely than not, runners and cyclists fly solo out on the open road while getting their miles in, which often means they explore new territory or may do so once the sun goes down.
However, that doesn't mean they don't have Olympic-sized support from their family and friends who may want to keep track of them remotely, even if it is just to make sure they are alright.
Now, Strava users are able to let their friends do exactly that, thanks to a new feature that was just launched for the running and cycling app.
Strava announced the addition to its new safety feature called "Beacon" that allows loved ones to see the user's location in real-time.
To use Beacon, the user must update to the latest version of the app and make sure that location services for Strava is turned on. Beacon is also only available for premium members, with a subscription costing $6 a month or $60 a year.
The feature is "the note on the fridge for the connected athlete," the company writes in a blog post. Instead of just informing a friend or family member that the user is going out for a run, Beacon allows them to share their location with up to three contacts so that they can see where the user is on a map at any time.
If the user doesn't return home by the time they said they would, the loved one can check to see their current location and if they have stopped or not.
"Let's say it's 3:30, you said you'd be home at 3:00 and you're not moving towards home," Senior Product Manager Ethan Hollinshead said. "That's a good indication that they should reach out to you and see what's up. Where it's really designed to help the cyclist or runner is in that peace of mind scenario — to keep people from unnecessarily worrying about you."
Or worry if they should have reason to.
The best part is the friend doesn't even have to download the Strava app and set up an account in order to so do. Beacon works by allowing the user to send a secure and randomized URL that can be opened on any web browser.
All the user has to do is tap on the Beacon icon located in the lower right before starting their workout. After picking their contacts, an orange dot will indicate that the feature is active. Tap on "send text" to keep friends up to date every time the user starts a new activity.
Since the feature works by using GPS, having a poor connection could prevent loved ones from checking in on the user.
Even so, it serves as a way for friends to check on a runner during a marathon or a cyclist who said they would be back from the trails during a specific timeframe.