February 2nd 2014

Defaulting to comparing against yourself on Strava

Strava's brand positioning is based around challenging and comparing yourself to others through virtual competitions and leaderboards.

I am not against the competitive spirit in principle, but my personal experience is that most psychologically and physiologically rewarding training comes from comparing your own past performances to today or from setting long term goals. I accordingly use the service as a glorified training diary, with the public leaderboards serving only as curiosa or as an occasional check on hubris.

(Zen-like introspection aside, using public data as a guide in a metropolis such as London is problematic as rankings are distorted by professional racers, KOM hunters, drafting, fraud and—obviously—traffic conditions.)

To make this easier, I wrote a Chrome extension that changes the default leaderboard to "My Results" instead of "Overall" when viewing a segment effort:


The other leaderboards can still be viewed via the usual selector:


I've found it curious—but not altogether surprising—how this mere change of default dramatically affects one's mindset.

Source code is available. If you found this Strava extension useful, you might like my extensions to quickly switch between metric and imperial units or to estimate your running TSS score.

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