Strava Relative Effort

Get fit, stay healthy, don't overtrain - they're the humble aspirations that many of us aim for. But across different workouts, not to mention different sports, it's always been tricky to figure out the right amount of effort to stay on track.

Too much? Not enough? Strava says they've taken out the guesswork with Relative Effort - a new heart-rate metric that offers a way to compare the intensity of your activities and see how they all add up.

To develop Relative Effort, Strava started with the existing formula for Suffer Score and set out to transform it with input from sports-focused data scientist Dr. Marco Altini. They wanted to make it more precise and compatible with all activities using heart-rate data, from a 30-minute interval session to a daylong excursion.

Strava Relative Effort

To do this Strava says they pitted the work against thousands of activities to create a model that could be applied to different sport types, and then tested it across a wide variety of athletes to make sure it would be accurate.

The result? Riding, running, swimming, skiing, indoor rowing - anything you upload while using a heart rate monitor will work with Relative Effort and tell you how tough your activity was on a leveled playing field. You can check out how one workout stacks up to the last or how strenuous it was compared to a totally different sport. Or measure your next group workout with a perhaps more interesting question than who was fastest - who really gave it their all?

Strava Premium members will see Relative Effort on every activity uploaded with heart-rate data. On mobile, you'll see a simple chart that compares your activity to your recent average, and if you tap through, you can dive into your Weekly Relative Effort.

Strava Relative Effort

This weekly view shows how you're trending by totaling your Relative Effort for the week and graphing it alongside previous weeks. Based on a weighted average over the last 12 weeks, you'll also see a suggested training range that gives you an idea of whether you're maintaining or increasing your training load, at risk of overdoing it, or allowing your body proper time to recover.

The best part is, all you have to do is keep working out with a heart rate monitor and Strava will do the rest. With the introduction of Relative Effort, it is also time to bid farewell to Suffer Score. While Suffer Score made an excellent starting point, Relative Effort is much more robust and reliable as a training tool, says Strava, adding that they already have "a million ideas" for expanding on Relative Effort to make some pretty cool features, so stay tuned. There's a lot more to come.

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