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The Strava Club

The Strava Club

11:33 AM on Thursday, April 29, 2021   •   Edited

Relative Effort – How hard is hard?

Comparing yourself with elite marathoners isn’t usually an inspiring exercise. But Strava’s Relative Effort feature reveals a surprising insight: winning a marathon might actually be easier than finishing in the middle of the pack. OK, maybe not easier – but the runners at the front of the pack may be putting less stress on their body compared to those finishing further back.

For example, look at two activities from the 2019 New York City Marathon. Des Linden finished in 6th place and her Relative Effort was a “Massive” 244. Susie Chan rolled in over an hour later, but her Relative Effort was a “Historic” 455! That’s because Relative Effort is, well, relative. It’s based on your own fitness level and calculated based on how much time you spend in different heart rate zones.

It’s fun to pit yourself against the pros, but this feature is even more valuable for comparing your own efforts. Wondering if you went harder during your workout this week than last? How that 6 mile trail run compares to a 90 minute bike ride? Relative Effort lets you compare your activities across sports, terrain and time of year.

Subscribers can view Relative Effort on the details screen for any activity with heart rate data. Or to get an idea of how all of your activities compare, you can change the data displayed in the Training Log to Relative Effort.

Learn more about Relative Effort here:


Catch up on other recent updates and improvements on the "What's new?" page: