how to check strava
Checking Strava for previous records is an important step to take before submitting your FKT.
You’re looking over the Fastest Known Time website when you see a route you would love to do, and lo and behold, there is no recorded women’s time. All you need to do is run it, record a time, and submit, right? Well, not so fast…They’re not called Fastest Recorded Times for a reason. The community expects all of us to do a good faith examination of any previously recorded times for any given route, even if those times are recorded somewhere other than the FKT website. Understanding how to check for pre-existing times is essential as you begin your FKT journey.
Strava is heavily used, so you should definitely review it for existing times. You do NOT have to have a paid account; the free one will suffice. However, a paid account will give you additional options to double check the record.
Begin by using the Segment Explore feature, located under the Explore tab. Locate your desired FKT on the map and see if there are any segments in that area. Some FKTs have Strava segments that closely match the FKT route. If so, setting a record on the Strava segment is usually pretty clear evidence that you have the FKT. A good example of this would be the Wildwood End to End segment on Strava as it pertains to the Wildwood Trail FKT in Oregon. Looking at that Strava segment, you see a Course Record of 3:49:55 set by Marianne Wilburn, and the Wildwood Trail FKT is also held by Marianne Wilburn with a time of 3:50:29 (the elapsed time). If you run the Wildwood Trail faster and snag the Strava course record, your time could also be submitted to the FKT website. Let’s say some speedster comes along and beats the Strava course record, but does not submit it to the FKT website. You still have to beat that Strava time legitimately claim an FKT and submit to the FKT website.
The example we just gave is a pretty clear example. In other instances, there may not be one segment that closely aligns with the route on the FKT website. But there may be segments that cover a part of the route you’re interested in. In this case, you can look at the full run for the day they recorded the segment time. Look for other women who ran the full route that you plan to attempt to see what the fastest time for the route might be. A great example of this comes from the Dog Mountain FKT in Washington. This FKT has several Strava segments: Dog Mountain, Dog Mountain Descent, Smell The Flowers as well as a few others. When Hannah Ryder was researching the time she would have to beat to secure the FKT, which at the time had not been recorded on the Fastest Known Time website, she scoured the performances of the fastest people on those segments who had run the same route as she would for the attempt, establishing a target time based on the performances she could find. When she was able to run the route and beat that time, she knew her FKT submission was as legitimate as it could be.
If you have a paid Strava account, you have the additional option of using a GPS track to create a new segment for the full FKT. Strava will compile past efforts and give you a list of the fastest times on that route. While this may not be practical for long FKTs, it is a very effective way to check shorter routes. Bonus: you can do an easy familiarization run before your fast FKT attempt to both learn the route and get a GPS file to use to create that new segment.
In addition to checking out Strava for known times, you should also do web searches for popular routes that may appear on sites like summitpost.org or in individual blogs or websites. The bottom line is that you should make every effort to discover if there are existing times for the FKT you want to attempt. After doing your best research, if your time appears to be the fastest to the best of your knowledge, then yes, you should go ahead and submit!