Get acquainted with your segment
The first thing you need to do is to choose a segment that seems fun. When you decide on a segment, learn all you can about it. Study it on a map and, of course, do some test rides to explore the key parts of the route. Pros do the same before big races. The better you know your segment the easier it will be to focus on just pushing hard.
A new way to compete on segments
Getting to know your segment recently became a way to compete too. Strava introduced “Local Legends” as a new feature. This feature tracks how many times you completed a given segment and creates a new leaderboard based on that. It is meant to reward people for their persistence rather than speed. The new feature works on a rolling 90-day calendar and should be rolling out throughout the world starting in June. The great thing about this is that by competing in the number of efforts on a segment, you will get to know it really well. You can use that familiarity for your attack on the classic speed leaderboards too.
Taper your training before your attempt
Treat your attempt for a record time as a mini race. You will always do better when riding well rested and in a peak form. Some sort of a mini taper will be a big help. Do your last hard interval ride at least three or more days before the attempt. After that, only do shorter and less intense rides to be well rested and fresh on the right day.
Ride on a cool day with the wind behind you
It’s no secret that a tailwind can make a big difference when it comes to your speed. If you know the wind patterns in the area, you can plan your route so that you get the most help from the wind. You should also select a cool day because the surrounding temperature will help cool your body temperature when you’re pushing hard and you won’t overheat as easily. Of course, don’t start the segment cold. Use the route to the start as a warm up.
Start with speed
If you plan your warm-up right, you should be in the optimal condition to speed up to race tempo as soon as you approach the start of the segment. This will help shave off a few seconds you would spend accelerating. But don’t burn yourself out in the beginning. Keep to your pacing strategy from the start if it’s a longer segment or a climb.