We often get asked the age old question: Why should I train with power? While the answer is lengthy, the reasons are real, whether you are a pro or an amateur !
Training with a power meter gives you a complete record of your effort.
It records your effort from a cardiovascular viewpoint (Heart rate), and from a muscular viewpoint (watts). Know how much time you’ve spent in your training zones while riding. Highlight areas of interest, intervals of data – hills, sprints, attacks for review by you, your coach or even your teammates!
Add real meaning to your heart rate monitoring.
Heart monitoring alone does not tell you how your actual performance is improving, it just tells you how fast your heart is pumping. A power meter measures your rate of work (power), and analyzes your efficiency by allowing you to compare heart rate data to power output to your cadence and finally to your speed.
Track your Fitness Changes.
Know with certainty if your fitness is improving and when you have reached a peak. Avoid overreaching and over training by tracking your Training Stress Score and Intensity Factor levels.
Pacing of efforts.
It allows you to pace your effort better in all of your interval workouts, hill climbs and time trials. When you know your threshold power, you can hold to it like glue in a time trial or hill climb, so you will know that you went as hard as you could possibly go.
Analyze your Race!
Want a subjective viewpoint on your use of energy in the race? A power meter can help you better analyze your race. You can easily see when you burned a “match” and if you used too much energy in parts of the race that weren’t decisive. Did you make a tactical error in a race, but didn’t realize it? By looking back on the data, you can replay the race in your head and see exactly what it took to make the winning break or what it took to make the decisive split. If you got shelled, you can see where you need to focus your training!
Test your position and aerodynamics.
Your body position is the single greatest factor in determining your speed while riding at a specific power output. Why risk the disadvantage of a poor position when you can measure your aerodynamics and discover your fastest position!
Mobile Testing Lab!
A power meter allows you to test on a monthly basis, so you can quantitatively see what areas you have improved on and what still needs work. Training is testing, Testing is training.
Pinpoint your strengths and weaknesses.
Do you get dropped when your cadence drops below 80rpm? Are you a Cat 1 in your 5 minute power, but Cat 4 in your 20 minute power? If you have to do 105% of your Threshold power for more than 3 minutes, will you get popped?
Achieve your physical potential!
When you train with a power meter, it allows you to concentrate on the workload and provide that extra motivation to improve in your efforts. For example, if you are doing a 5 minute effort, and you are watching your Average watts drop near the end of the effort, you’ll pick it up just another notch in order to achieve your 5 minute wattage goal.
Record your training data every few seconds.
It’s the true diary of your every ride! You will know what you were doing almost every second of the ride!
Enhance your indoor training.
Use your indoor trainer to the fullest extent! Highly focus your intervals in just the exact wattage zone for optimal improvement.
Improve your interaction with your Coach!
It brings you and your coach closer together! Your coach can then better use this data to improve your training plan. Your coach can instantly see what you are doing in races, training rides and make suggestions to further improvements. A power meter doesn’t lie!
Coordinate your sports nutrition for best performance.
Knowing how much work (in kJ) you do in training allows you to plan your post-exercise meals to the kcal. You will recover faster and be able to train harder sooner.
PLAN, CONTROL AND EXECUTE your training like the pros.
Train efficiently so that your best fitness peaks at your goal events. Every top cycling performance has been aided by the use of power meter training technology Tour de France winners, Hour records, Track records, HPV records.
By Hunter Allen. Originally published on Peaks Coaching Group website. Hunter Allen is a USA Cycling Level 1 coach and former Professional Cyclist. He is the co-author of “Training and Racing with a Power Meter”, co-developer of TrainingPeaks WKO+ Software, and is the CEO and Founder of the Peaks Coaching Group. He has coached over 500 athletes ranging from professionals to fitness enthusiasts, and has helped many athletes achieve dreams and goals that they didn’t think were possible. He specializes in coaching cyclists with wattage meters and is on the forefront coaching with cycling’s newest tool. He has online training programs available at www.TrainingPeaks.com/hunter and you can contact Hunter directly www.PeaksCoachingGroup.com