Simon Masterson wrote:It is, but it is a very easy number to quote; it carries more weight than the time in which you finished the ride, which is where the whole silly contest comes from. The difference between that and time is that it's harder - with only the time in which you finished the ride - to read further; it is what it is. Average speed on the other hand corresponds much more closely to what you're doing at the time, and of course you can have that number in front of you if you so desire. Whereas I can consider the time I did a ride in to be just a number, my average speed can easily be a distraction; it's much more important to focus on tough sections. The bottom line is that getting hung up on average speed isn't actually all that useful, and as I said in an earlier post, it accounts poorly for the highs and lows that merit your attention.
I think that a beginner is better served by just checking on the basics like average speed, distance and weekly mileage.
Increasing mileage and improving average speed are two things that helped keep my motivation in the first months.
I do take the point on focusing on tough sections but this came later for me.
Still very much work in progress
Strava is a good way of focusing on tougher sections. It's a good motivator when you move a few places up the leader board on a segment.
Just my view of course