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Strava fitness graph is bogus



This is my fitness in the last 3 months according to Strava as I am training for an upcoming 100 miler. In reality this couldn't be any further from truth. My aerobic fitness went up significantly. I handle heat much better than 3 months ago, and I recover quickly from long training runs.

What Strava calls fitness is highly misleading. This should be called something like acute training load as this gives a lot of emphasis on time spent in high intensity. But that isn't fitness as people who end up training too hard (at too high intensity) all the time tend to plateau. This doesn't encourage to train smart and only works to reflect noob gains for people who have just started exercising. 

Also consider the fact that the biggest gains in "fitness" on this graph are from finishing races. But again that is false. Running a long distance race in fact suppresses fitness for a few weeks as the body needs to recover from a higher than usual stress. 


I agree, it shouldn't be called fitness just because the scientists came up with this completely misleading word. Trainingspeak and other platforms use CTL for Chronic Training Load instead, that would need explanations for the users too but at least nobody would think this graph reflects if they got better or worse.

In the Strava browser the fitness/freshness graph can display the "form" too, event that word is misleading but it's a useful indicator if someone is near overtraining if it's to deep in the minus. This should be displayed in the app too and in both cases not only on demand as this indicator is more useful as the "fitness".


I like Strava's effort here, but your points are good.Maybe it would help to add in some sort of VO2max calculation, like Garmin provides. I'm sure there are hundreds of trainers on Strava that could give input to improve this charting.