# Can average speed be higher than max speed on a segment?

Yes. When Strava matches you to a segment, it's likely there won't be an exact match given the GPS data in your activity. This means that your segment match may be slightly longer or shorter than the actual distance covered by the segment. When we calculate average speed on a segment, we use the segment's distance and your measured time on that segment, instead of using the distance you actually traveled. On very short segments, a larger percentage of the segment's total time is accounted for by the sampling rate of your GPS device. Unfortunately, this is a limitation of our segment matching process at this time. Here's more on how to optimize segment creation to ensure this doesn't happen.

5 out of 7 found this helpful

• So why it isn't a priority to fix this issue? Segments is one of the most important features of Strava that distinguishes it from other platforms. It is frustrating to see this issue so often. It gives advantage to runners with lower resolution GPS devices that refresh less often. Also if one knows exactly where the segment starts and ends he/she can easily cut the segment distance by up to 100 m short and still match the segment. To achieve that is is enough to enter the segment from the side or just turn around just before the start and the finish. It will still match and report a higher than actual average speed.

• hello.
Please nice as those charged to analyze and correct this activity https://www.strava.com/activities/691265080 times movement.
Thank you.

• So Strava dot NOT interpolate when calculating speeds over segments?

Then there is no point in making ANY segment shorter than a few kilometers.

My trust in Strava's data just plummeted to that of the level of endomono...
I demand you fix this!

• It's sad to hear that Strava isn't going to fix this issue. Segments is the best feature of Strava. Come on!

• Surely applying a rule that average speed cannot exceed maximum speed would be a very simple partial fix for this issue. On shorter segments many of the top 10 often have average speeds significantly higher than max. Example https://www.strava.com/activities/75211641#1495198066

AVG MAX
Speed 36.9mi/h 25.7mi/h

Come on Strava, sort it out:

....
# Do speed calculations
...

if (averageSpeed > maximumSpeed) {
averageSpeed = maximumSpeed;
}

• so which is right?? I mean, if I have a KOM that is averaging a higher speed than my top speed in the segment, am I to assume that I only got that due to cutting a tight corner and ending up in another GPS block and or that my Garmin just doesn't sample fast enough to know exactly where I was? I mean, I know that sometimes the GPS can't keep up with the speed increases so that data can sometimes be flawed (at least the speedometer can't) but so too can the sample rate of the GPS and or jumping into other GPS zones or boxes or whatever you call them...I mean, I've flagged a guy who had a KOM that was averaging over 30mph but in his speed analysis he never went over 23 mph...Was I right to do that? There are also rumors he may be cheating as there is no cadence and HRM or power and he may be manipulating the files but still...Now that it's happened to me, what gives?

• I notice this problem all the time. It's very frustrating when riding with a group of people, and in real life you finish a segment 10 seconds ahead of another person, but when you check Strava later, Strava ranks that person ahead of you with a faster time. What is most frustrating is that if you look at the analysis for a ride segment, it will report the true average speed based on the interpolated speed data throughout the segment, so Strava has the info right there to properly rank the leaderboard for a segment.  Obviously that speed data can't be used exclusively for timing segments because of people pausing rides during segments, but it should at least be an upper bound.

Also, I think the fairest way to resolve the issue with properly matching segments is for Strava to use the GPS data points closest to the start/end points but not within the segment.  If a user's GPS device only reports a data point every 30 meters, and there's a data point 10 meters before the end of a segment and 20 meters after the segment, Strava should use the data point 20 meters after the end of the segment as the user's finish point.

• Well, I often see people finish in front of me yet I end up with the better time...That's not really my issue as I know I was closing a gap to catch them and while they get over the finish line before me, I actually started after they did yet closed the gap...So that happens and that is or can be legitimate. So finishing ahead is only relative to when you started...Im going to ride tomorrow and there are guys crossing the line of my favorite segment right now as we speak but that doesn't mean they will have ridden it faster than me tomorrow, just because they finished before I did...The guy in the back not only has the advantage of drafting and being a bit fresher than everyone but when he is closing a gap, especially with another group, those closing riders are always going to have a better time even if they finish WITH the rest of the group.

But the average speed of the segment being higher than your top speed is the real problem. Like you said, if they paid attention to that and applied a formula that doesn't allow the average speed of the segment exceed the top speed, that would help but still wouldn't be "accurate"...Assuming the top speed information is correct...My question was which one is most likely to be accurate, the actual speed and speed analysis or the time it took to complete the segment. Im tired of getting flagged for KOMs that I know I rode and rode hard only to have my average speed be 3 mph faster than what it registered by top speed as being within the segment...But, since my Garmin always shows a higher top speed for my ride than Strava does, it makes me question if it's the speed on Strava thats off or the Segment time??

• I am no computer whiz, but maybe an answer already exists to the "Ave. speed being greater than Max. speed within a segment " issue.
Has anyone noticed that the correct speeds for segments Do Appear elsewhere in your ride data ?
Instead of getting segment data form your "Overview " page , go to the "Analysis " page and select the small box that represents the segment in question.
You will see the enlarged graph of your efforts .
But, looking to the far left of the graphs, you will see the faintly displayed Ave, and Max. speeds for your segment .
These numbers make sense .
If Strava could use this data for its leaderboard ,I believe the issue would be solved..
Let me just add that I have found these things to be true whenever I've checked it out, but (??? it may not always be so.)

• Here is some interesting analysis of Strava segment matching:
https://mroek.blogspot.com/2015/09/why-strava-segment-matching-and-timing.html?m=1

• I don't seem to be able to post a link here but there is an interesting analysis of Strava segment matching that you can find by googling the article name - Why Strava segment matching and timing sucks (and how to cheat).

• This bug is absurd, surely a mathematical embarrassment and a blight on Strava segment leaderboards. Even more silly is that if you click on the Analysis tab, you get a completely different set of readings which more closely resemble the actual effort yet these values aren't used for the leaderboard.

This is one area Strava need to fix as a priority and not brush under the carpet. Summit membership? Not until it's fixed.

• I get it with short segments, but I've seen countless runs where the entire run is just slightly longer than a segment, and the times are way off. For example: https://www.strava.com/activities/39938830/overview his fastest 5k split was 24:11 which is an average of 4:50/km but his time over an 8k segment 'averages' 3:48/km; an astronomical difference. He did nothing wrong by the looks of it, just a really bad strava error