Today, Strava announced that they’re bringing back Bluetooth connectivity so that users can pair their heart rate monitors to their phones, giving them real-time heart rate data while on a run.
Strava says that thanks to feedback and beta testing from its users, the company has restored Bluetooth functionality in the app for heart rate monitors, while resolving prior issues that caused the app to crash. Real-time heart rate data was previously only available to Strava subscribers, but now all users will be able to use their phones as running watches.
Thanks to Bluetooth connectivity, users can now have heart rate data without a watch. When considered alongside the rest of Strava’s features, this means runners can have all the metrics of a watch, by only using their phone. Thanks to the heart rate data, runners will also have insight into their training zones, can analyze their efforts post-workout, and get valuable insight into their performance with heart rate metrics like relative effort.
What if you don’t have a heart rate monitor?
Most companies that make GPS watches make a heart rate monitor as well. They run from about $80 at entry-level to $180 for the best of the best. Many experts recommend a heart rate monitor so you can see the specific effort it takes to run at different paces, and so you can see how your fitness is progressing as you train for a target race.
If you already have a GPS watch, then the wrist-based heart rate measurement is probably fine, but if you haven’t purchased a watch, using your Strava coupled with a heart rate monitor could be a reasonable alternative.