3. Benefits of Training with Power
With cycling, many things affect how fast you go. Winds, gradients, weight, road surface and more all determine your speed, so it’s very difficult to gauge precisely how hard you’re working. With a power meter, you can directly measure your work rate and fitness. It takes the guesswork out of riding and allows you to quantify your efforts. Power meters provide an objective measurement of real output. This affords the rider numerous advantages.
This is why power meters have become essential tools for cyclists of all levels, their coaches as well as sports scientists – who all use power meters as a fundamental way to measure and improve cycling performance. Power meters can unlock more endurance and speed than any other training tool.
Here are just a few of the ways you can use a power meter to improve your performance:
1. Eliminates Guesswork
Perhaps the biggest advantage to a power meter is that it removes the guesswork that goes into training and racing. With a power meter, you can quantify exactly how hard you are working (as your effort is directly measured in watts). Many people use a heart rate monitor in their training. However, heart rate monitors only tell you how hard the effort is to your body – they don’t tell you the actual amount of work you are performing. Watts are a much more accurate way to measure your effort.
2. Allows for Structured Training
When you just start out, you can improve your performance by following the ‘just ride lots’ technique. But soon, you will start to see your improvement slow. A structured training program where you focus on different intensities at varying durations is the ticket to continued improvements in power and performance.
3. Can Track Fitness More Accurately
Power meters provide highly accurate details about how your fitness is changing throughout the season. You can closely track your average power numbers at given distances, your maximum power numbers, your functional threshold power and more. Using software like Training Peaks and their Performance Management Chart for example, you can track of variety of important metrics. The information gained from this type of software and analysis is invaluable.
4. Race Pacing
We all know that in most long, steady-state races such as a triathlons and time trials, your best strategy is to pace yourself. You don’t want to start too hard and end up limping to the finish, nor do you want to start too easy and finish with gas left in the tank. Well a power meter allows you to pace yourself almost perfectly. Once an athlete’s optimal power has been determined with a power meter, they can gauge exactly how hard to push during a race.
With a power meter, there’s no lying. You get immediate, accurate performance assessment. This can serve as a great motivational tool. There is nothing more satisfying then ending an interval or a ride and seeing an increase in your average or maximum power numbers. A power meter can really help you hit that 100% effort target and can serve as a great training tool because of this alone.
6. Communication with Your Coach
If you have a coach or are thinking about getting one, a power meter greatly improves the value that they can provide. A power meter will provide a wealth of data for your coach – not only power but things like speed and cadence are also informative. With this data, the coach can create a plan that is tailored to your needs and by continuing to view data from your rides, they can closely monitor your performance and make adjustments where necessary.