Do you like to challenge yourself by competing with yourself, Strava friends, or complete strangers? Want to be notified when you're approaching a segment? If so, check out the Strava Live Segments (SLS)feature.
What is it and how does it work?
Strava live segments work during your activity (available for rides and runs) and let you compare your current time on a favorite segment to your own PR, your friends on Strava, or the KOM/QOM/CR of the segment. They alert you as you’re approaching the segment and provide updated information throughout. All athletes can use Live Segments on the Strava Mobile App, however, Strava Subscribers will see additional screens with comparison metrics. To use live segments on third party devices, a Strava Subscription is required.
We all know that pictures speak louder than words, so check out the series of photos below which show Strava employee Jimi usinglive segments on his Wahoodevice to track himself against his own PR on a segment called "Just warmin' up"
How do I access and enable live segments?
Live segments are available on the Strava Mobile Apps, as well as on a large number of third party devices (Garminand many others)
Next, let’s hear from some Strava employees about their experiences using Strava Live Segments:
Here’s Archie: I’m a middle-aged weekend warrior cyclist—I’ve never been that competitive and I prefer cafe stops over hill repeats. I am a creature of habit, and live in the Bay Area in California, where the cycling is accessible year round, so I tend to ride the same routes and climbs at various times throughout the year. As a self-described slow, casual bike enthusiast I never thought something called Live Segments would end up being one of my favorite Strava features.
I ride with a Garmin 830 bike computer, to basically show my my current speed, the time of day, and any directions if on the rare occasion I seek out a new route to try out. Live Segments, however, surprised me one day by popping up and letting me know that a certain segment was about to start. I was approaching a climb that is well-known in this area, and the screen showed me a countdown of distance to the start point. As I reached it, the screen then started counting up, and showed me a little meter visual of the length of the segment, where I was at in relation to it, and also someone who I follow who’d been on the segment before me. As I rode up it, it showed how close I was to their previous time- basically like ghost racing in Mario Kart, but in real life. I suddenly wanted to ‘catch’ the person’s time by riding faster, but as I tend to do, ran out of steam pretty quickly. It was fun!
When I got home I did some research: Live Segments bases its choices on segments I have ‘starred’ either in Strava’s mobile app or through the website. So I began starring some segments that I tend to ride up, to see how the competition would unfold. In subsequent uses of it, I learned that it somehow chooses the person I follow who has the next-fastest time than I am currently riding, so someone is ideally just out of reach and able to be ‘caught.’ If that person happens to be a previous attempt of mine, it’ll show my previous time as the ‘ghost’ to chase. So, in essence, I can race against myself using Live Segments.
Next up meet Shelly: Hi - I'm Shelly, I've worked at Strava for 10 years and I started using live segments right after they were madeavailable on Garmin devices. I'm not super competitive but I had noticed that my good friend Tina, who's a very strong cyclist, held the QOM on most of the ride segments in our area. I knew I didn't have a lot hope of beating her, but I started using SLS to see how close to her time I could get.
One day I was part way through a segment when I looked down and realized I was only a couple of seconds behind her QOM time! I started to hammer the pedals with everything I had and reached the end of the segment with a 1 second lead. After catching my breath (I won't say how long THAT took) I texted her the news and did my own little happy dance! Moral of the story - never give up hope!
Full disclosure, she took that QOM back from my a couple days later but it didn't matter - I had my moment in the sun.
Last up, let's hear from Varun: I’ve been an engineer at Strava for 8 years and was on the initial team that built Live Segments almost that amount of time ago. When we released Live Segments on mobile - devices came later - I celebrated by ditching the Garmin for a day and going out with my phone to take some CRs from my housemate - https://www.strava.com/activities/580756052. This might be the start of many people’s story with Live Segments - one of friendly camaraderie and competition, against yourself or friends. But for me, it’s come to mean something a bit more.
I went to UC Berkeley for college and was on the triathlon team there. There is a climb called Tunnel Road - that was one of the local fitness measuring sticks. Everyone on the team knew their best effort up it, but Strava gave legitimacy to all the times (and tales of times!).
As it turns out, a friend and former teammate is a few seconds and one spot ahead of me on the leaderboard, though he sadly committed suicide the year after we graduated. He was a quiet and reserved guy, but being on the team, by his admission, brought him out of a shell in college and gave him a best friend group that remains intact for many of us to this day. He used to ride in a bright pink kit and on an old-school road bike that didn’t prevent him from climbing like a mountain goat. Any time I ride Tunnel now (and I just crossed my 100th ascent, though the times are slower than they once were…), his name comes up as the carrot to chase on Live Segments. Part of me wants to turn back the clocks and finally achieve a PR on it and I came quite close during a period of fitness last year. But another part of me in some strange way just cherishes the reminder of my friend and time spent turning over the pedals together. Any time I see myself invariably getting gapped by his virtual avatar, I imagine him dancing away on the pedals in front of me in his pink retro getup and it often brings a smile to my face. Live Segments is of course still about camaraderie and competition and helps me become a better athlete (and a worse roommate) every week, but it’s also become a great commemoration as a digital journal of minutes, miles, and memories spent with friends over the years.
You've heard from us; now we want to hear from you...Have you tried out Strava Live segments? As you can see, they're not just for the ultra competitive or super fast, they can be a way to feel connected to others who have taken the same path. It’s also fun and motivating to be able to see, in real time, exactly where you stand. Sometimes they give you that extra push you didn't even know you had in you. Give them a try and drop us a reply below and tell us your Strava Live Segments story.
Like this post? Give it a kudos! When you like a post, it lets us know what content you would like to see more of!