|At a glance
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|At a glance
Since Eurobike it’s official - we are adding new models to our line up! Type S is the super compatible addition to our range and will be offered together with existing models. We can now offer you power meters for the popular Cannondale SISL(2), Specialized S-Works and SRAM S900/Force 22 cranks.
At a glance: What is a power meter good for? Organizing your training, pacing, and specificity
In the last article we looked at how a power meter can help you track your progress, and reminded ourselves that a power meter is not a substitute for a good training plan. Now we will look in more detail at how to organize your training and how to target it to your specific needs.
Tracking progress requires good information on the training you have done. And power meters can do just that: as well as measuring performance output in the form of frequent field test data, power meters do fantastic job of monitoring training input with minimal stress to the user.
Every pedal stroke is automatically recorded by your power meter. What was that trainer workout that the club coach had the group do last Tuesday? No need to write down all of the specifics in your training log… 10minutes in zone 1 at a cadence of 80-90rpm, 10minutes in zone 2 at a cadence of… etc etc. Just plug your bike computer into your PC, download the training file, and it’s all there. Recorded (for better or worse) for eternity. If you’re anything like the swim squads that I coached before all of the gadgets came on board, it’s probably fair to say that, as an athlete, you prefer the ‘doing’ to the ‘recording’. Your logbook will be significantly more complete after you introduce a power meter!
You might say: I already use a heart rate monitor and download my workouts. What additional advantages would a power meter provide?
The advantages of using a power meter to measure training input rather than a heart rate monitor are twofold:
i) A power meter monitors the real time force applied with every pedal stroke
A heart rate monitor is an imprecise way of measuring the specific nature of a workout. For example, a 15s high power sprint may be too short to raise your heart rate despite requiring a large muscular response. A heart rate monitor does a poor job of recording this type of short duration, high intensity training. Similarly, a heart rate monitor will not record the force demands of a workout. This is important in a sport like cycling where different cadence sets are used for different effect.
ii) A power meter measures training stress and isn’t affected by the variables of heat stress or caffeine stress or life stress in the way that heart rate is.
The degree to which training heart rate can change in response to non-training factors such as heat and excitement make heart rate a distant second to power as a true indicator of the intensity of training input. A kilojoule of work is a kilojoule of work whether done in rain, hail or shine, before or after a coffee.
If there is any ‘instant advantage’ that comes with the use of a power meter, this is it. It’s not until you start using a power meter that you’ll realize just how few people pace optimally. Sure, there are some races where variability is inherent to the competition, for example a cycling road race, where taking strategic ‘breaks’ is one of the big determinants in who wins and who goes home crying. However, for sports like non-draft triathlon, solo endurance bike races, time trials, or hill climbs, keeping your effort even is a key element of success. Heart rate alone is not sensitive enough to pick up the small but cumulatively significant variations in power output that ultimately limit performance.
Even in a sport like road cycling, where greater variability of effort is expected, a power meter is an incredibly valuable tool in placing these ‘special efforts’ throughout your race. There is no better tool than a power meter to teach road cyclists to be economical – both in terms of utilizing drafting to save watts and to decide when to ‘burn the matches’ that they have at their disposal for maximum success.
Aside from keeping race efforts as even as possible, a power meter teaches athletes how to best distribute their efforts over the course. Wind resistance increases by the square of speed. Thus cyclists should worker harder on climbs when speed, and thus wind resistance, is low, and should dial effort back on descents, when speed and wind resistance are high. By keeping an eye on power and speed, smart riders can devote the greatest part of their power output to bike speed and minimize the amount of watts they ‘throw into the wind’, getting more speed for the same effort.
The race doesn’t care about how relatively hard you’re working with respect to your own limits. No, the race is harsher than that. There are specific fitness requirements within each race to ‘make the selections’ and be there in the run up to the finishing tape. These specific fitness requirements can be quantified (and trained for). Want to ‘be there’ on a Tour De France climb? You’d better include some sustained climbs at or above 6.0 watts per kg in your plan. Want to hang onto the lead group for the first 40km of the bike in Kona? You’d better have some extended sets on the flat varying your output from 4.0-4.7 watts per kg in your arsenal.
Whatever the event, with a power meter, you can identify and train for the specific muscular demands of that event.
Until next time, train smart,
Dear power2max customers,
greetings from Eurobike. We have put together a little video with the product news for 2014. If you have comments or questions don’t hesitate to contact us.
The power2max team
Von Alan Couzens, MS (Sports Science)
|At a glance: What is a power meter good for? Limits and tracking progress
Since the launch of power2max in 2010, we have had the pleasure of interacting with countless enthusiastic, dedicated, and talented athletes interested in using power meters. Through conversations with experts and athletes alike, we have learned about and shared experiences of training and racing with a power meter. The consensus was that a power meter can be an incredibly effective tool in becoming a smarter and stronger athlete.
But we also learned that there are a lot of questions out there when it comes to power meters: what are they good for? How do I figure out if my training is working? What conclusions do I draw from my test results? What are the things that I should always look at after a ride? And so on.
In order to support our customers, and others who are interested, in using a power meter and getting the most out of them, we are proud to present a series by Alan Couzens, MS (Sports Science). Alan is a leading sports scientist and triathlon and cycling coach. He has led elite amateur athletes to Ironman age group wins, Ultraman podium finishes, and to countless Kona qualifications. He also advises cycling teams on power-based training and regularly contributes to leading training resources, such as TrainingPeaks, IM Talk, and Endurance Corner.
Over the coming months we will publish an article per week, from the basics of what a power meter is good for to race case studies and refined testing. We hope you will enjoy the series – please feel free to sign up to the blog to be notified for updates, or register for our RSS feed. We also welcome your feedback, questions, and suggestions for improvement.
Train smart and happy reading!
Your power2max team