Strava: explanation of technical terms

Highly appreciated by cyclists and runners, Strava is compatible with all cardio watches on the market and synchronizes with most other online services ( Endomondo , Garmin Connect , Suunto Movescount …). However, Strava uses a specific vocabulary to talk about pace, time spent and speed adjustment according to the terrain profile. This glossary is reserved for running, other sports display different values more adapted to these efforts.

VAP Speed Adjusted according to the slope

The VAP for Vitesse Ajustée selon la Pente, is the French translation of the GAP (Grade Adjusted Pace). The VAP gives an estimate of the speed equivalent to a race on flat ground, which allows the athlete to compare his trail in the mountains (terrain with a difference in altitude) compared to an outing on flat ground.

The uphill run requires more effort, so the speed adjusted according to the slope is faster than the actual speed of the run recorded by the cardio watch or the Strava mobile application.

On the descent, the VAP is slower than the actual pace, you go faster than on a flat surface with less effort. In general, the adjustment increases with slope. Statistical data have shown that the downhill adjustment peaks when the slope is close to -10%, beyond which it moderates somewhat. This means that on a descent with more than 10% of slope, the runner will not necessarily gain speed, he must stifle not to wrap your legs and not be able to stop.

Note that the speed adjusted according to the slope (VAP ) does not take into account differences in terrain or the technical difficulty of downhill running (rocks, roots, pebbles…) nor the hazards caused by the weather (snow, mud…).

 Strava duree deplacement tempsStrava VAP

Speed zones

Strava uses a recent running activity or time trial to calculate the athlete’s pace zones. The race data allows you to define pace zones using the VAP This makes it easier to compare the speed with equivalent effort on flat and hilly terrain.

  • Active recovery  very gentle run before or after an intense workout, or between two intervals of split
  • Endurance  Comfortable race in fundamental endurance (EF ) at a pace where you can discuss without running out of steam
  • Cadence  intensity of a marathon or equivalent objective
  • Threshold  specific work to improve endurance and/or speed, on a flat or hillside, or on short distance runs
  • VO2 max  Maximum oxygen consumption, a very intensive pace worked at intervals
  • Anaerobic  extremely steady pace to work only in short intervals

Travel time

More specific to Strava, the travel time indicated on a sports session corresponds to the time spent in activity. Pauses (activated or not on the watch or mobile application) are counted to calculate only the effort time. The travel time during running Training or Long Exit is automatically displayed on the session. In Race mode, this value is replaced by the total time (elapsed time) as indicated by the official race timer.

This travel time value should therefore be compared to the total time spent on the activity to take into account recovery breaks during the effort.

Strava duree deplacement temps

Elapsed time

The difference between travel time and elapsed time is quite simple to understand. In relation to the actual activity time, the “elapsed time” is the time spent between the start of the activity and the final stop of the session (stop and record).

The calculation of segment performance is done by taking into account the elapsed time and not the travel time, in order to avoid free-riders putting break time to recover on the side before resuming the ascent, with empty lungs.