How to create a route on Strava

This example is how to plot an off road route, the same principle applies to the road running routes.


Access your Strava account from a computer or laptop (you can plan a route on your phone, but I’ve found it much easier to do it this way). Click on the+button in the top right hand corner of the screen and select ‘Create a route’.


The map should automatically show your local area,but you can search for an alternative location by typing in your preference in the search bar(directly above the map)


It’s good to have an idea of where you think your route could go. Perhaps there is part of an existing race route, or a place that you are familiar with, that will match the required distance and climb. My first idea was to start in a nearby village called Cracoe, climbing up to Cracoe monument, running along the ridge past Thorpe Fell, before descending into the village of Thorpe. At this stage, don’t worry too much about finding the exact distance, as finding enough ascent is more important. Remember that linear routes are easier to create and give you more flexibility in your planning. Also, all of the route must be off-road, although a quick road crossing is acceptable to link paths/trails together.

Not all of the paths and trails will be recognised by Strava, so I have selected ‘Use Manual Mode’ and changed the map to Satelliteview. These options can be found in the menu on the left. This will give you greater flexibility for route planning.


To begin creating a route, click somewhere on the map where you would like to begin (see my green dot below). Keep clicking at various points to slowly build your route – try and follow the shape and curve of the paths and trails. You can zoom in to make the map easier to view by clicking on the +and options (top left corner). When you get to the edge of the screen and need to move the map, just temporarily move the mouse pointer away from your route and then drag and drop until you’re satisfied with the new position of the map. As you begin to build the route, the distance and elevation will begin to change (bottom left of the screen).


As your route begins to take shape, you’ll soon get an idea of whether or not your route will work. Also keep an eye on the Surface Typedata below the map – it should always show 0% paved, unless you have a very small road crossing.

If you make a mistake, there is an UNDObutton (The curved arrow in top right hand corner of the map – I have it selected in the print screen below). It’s possible to undo multiple mistakes.


It’s unlikely that you will plan a perfect route the first time you do this. It might be that you have to add some climb or lose some! Remember that you could always start or finish in a slightly different place. As you can see from the example below, in my first attempt I have planned the correct distance, but I only have 836ft of climb. Therefore I will need to start my route further down the track towards the village of Cracoe. It took me 3 attempts to get this one right, but thankfully it should only take a few minutes to plan each attempt. You could of course plan a route that has more than 900ft and just crop the route after your ‘real-life’ race – it’s easy to do and explained at the end of this guide.


3rdtime lucky! I managed to plan a perfect route – 4 miles with 900ft of climbing. I live 3 miles form the start and 3 miles from the finish, so although my race route is linear, I can complete a circular route with a built in warm up and cool down.

The most important thing is that you recce your route, before you race.I have practised mine and the distance on screen, matches perfectly with my run in real-life. Also I would recommend recording your race over a slightly longer distance than the route you have designed, as it’s easy to crop your run to match perfectly with the set criteria. Sometimes Strava has a nasty habit of robbing small amounts of distance when you upload – you don’t want to finish the race of your life with only 3.99 miles of distance recorded!


SAVE and name your route! Click on the big orange button that saysSAVE (top right). Please make sure you choose the PUBLICoption (bottom right) to allow others to view your route.


Finally, you can choose what to do with your route. Please EXPORT GPXand SHAREwith other club members, local clubs and other local runners. Ideally it would be great if you can email the route to me and I will send them to the organiser Virtual Running Champs so that we can create a local club route guide.

STEP 10.

All of the routes that you save will automatically be saved in the ‘MY ROUTES’section of your Strava account. To access and view your saved routes, click on ‘DASHBOARD’and select ‘MY ROUTES’ (see below). 


Once you have completed your race (in real-life), you may need to crop it afterwards. This can be done on a computer, laptop or on your phone – it really is easy to do.

On your phone:

Access your Strava account and click on your run from your ‘ACTIVITY’menu. In the top right hand corner of your screen there are 3 dots. Click on them and choose ‘CROP’ (see below).

Move the slider left and right to crop your run. I trimmed my run at the end (using black and white checked circle – bottom right), so that I had the exact distance of 4 miles, without losing any of my climb from the beginning. This is because the last section of my route is all downhill. Press the SAVE button (top right) once you have finished.

On your computer/laptop:

The cropping process is essentially the same. To find the CROPbutton, view your activity and then click on the button with the 3 dotsand select CROP (see below).

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