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ditching HR monitor for power meter

trickydiscotrickydisco Posts: 173
So who's ditched the HR monitor for a power meter?

How did you find it? have u seen improvements? Do you find it harder? how did you work out your Power zones?

Posts

  • amaferangaamaferanga Posts: 6,789
    Training and Racing with a Power Meter should answer all your questions :wink:
    More problems but still living....
  • trickydiscotrickydisco Posts: 173
    I know that :)

    Just interested to hear people's experiences with them. I've been training by HR since december and just wondered how effective training with power is
  • danowatdanowat Posts: 2,877
    I've been training by HR since december and just wondered how effective training with power is

    Much more effective than HR
  • BillyMansellBillyMansell Posts: 817
    Just saw this on an RSS feed from another forum and thought it might be of interest to the discussion;

    "Study which show us that training with PM does not make you faster"
    http://forum.cyclingnews.com/showthread.php?t=13447

    (I have no view on the subject as I've never used, nor have plans to use, a power meter to compare with HR monitor)
  • amaferangaamaferanga Posts: 6,789
    FWIW I find training with power easier. Not that I'm working less hard, but for intervals there's no guessing the intensity I should be riding at or wondering if I have actually improved. Its training in a kind of scientific way (which as a scientist I like) with numbers that don't (often) lie.

    But there's a significant time investment in learning how to train with power and if you're the type of person that likes to just go out and ride then there's probably not much point in owning a power meter.

    For me it works and I'm glad I bought the power meter instead of some bling wheels.
    More problems but still living....
  • amaferangaamaferanga Posts: 6,789
    Just saw this on an RSS feed from another forum and thought it might be of interest to the discussion;

    "Study which show us that training with PM does not make you faster"
    http://forum.cyclingnews.com/showthread.php?t=13447

    (I have no view on the subject as I've never used, nor have plans to use, a power meter to compare with HR monitor)

    The second reply on that thread pretty much says all there is to say. I wonder who the
    experts were that peer reviewed the paper prior to publication?
    More problems but still living....
  • trickydiscotrickydisco Posts: 173
    But there's a significant time investment in learning how to train with power and if you're the type of person that likes to just go out and ride then there's probably not much point in owning a power meter.

    I'm a data man as well. Have trained very specific since december so i know all my HR zones.. threshold power etc

    It has proved very effective but my coach said it would be more beneficial to train with power now i've started racing
  • overgearedovergeared Posts: 32
    switching from HR to power will, if you let it, change the way you look at cycling forever. instead of asking "what % of my max HR am i riding at today" you´ll be asking yourself "what percentage of my threshold power should i be training at" or simply "what power should i be training at". the people who dont "get" power think "so what?" and stop there. training with power will not make them faster.

    on the other hand the more aspirational riders move on to asking a myriad of questions about what makes them fitter, faster cyclists and set about using their power meter to understand their limits and how to push them. they come to realise that power is the quantfiable link between the physical principles that slow us down and the physiological criteria that speed us up. these folk undoubtedly benefit.

    your first step should be to estimate your functional threshold power (the best average power you can maintain for an hour) and base your training zones off of that. actually that should be your second step, the first being to go out and get a feel for how certain power numbers relate to effort...and pain.
  • strongmanstrongman Posts: 51
    If you are intending to switch to a power meter I have a powertap for sale. I will be posting it on here next week but PM me if you are interested and i will give you the details.

    exercise.png
  • dexradiodexradio Posts: 54
    I recently purchased a Powertap, and have being a big HR fan for many years. I'm following the guidance in the book referred to above and have done the FTP test and figured out my Threshold. There is a lot to learn for me with power but like others above, I like the science aspect of training.

    I have a very basic question though. When monitoring power on the bike, which power number do you look at to keep yourself around your target? I use my Garmin 800 and it can display the instant power wattage, or a 3s or 30s average. Due to the "stochastic" nature of training with power I have found it practically impossible to use the instant number. So if my target for the workout is an average of 252 watts, what do the rest of you do to monitor that you are working out around that level? I currently use the 30s average to try and maintain some kind of level matched to my target for the workout.

    Have I missed the point? What do others do to monitor their effort? I've only just started truing with power, and I think it will take time to take on all the advantages and benefits it will bring.

    Dex.
  • Alex_Simmons/RSTAlex_Simmons/RST Posts: 4,161
    So who's ditched the HR monitor for a power meter?
    Yes, nearly a decade ago, although I used both until 2006 as up to then my power was only measured indoors.
    How did you find it? have u seen improvements?
    Massive improvements.

    10 years on and I am still improving, despite suffering a lower leg amputation 4 years ago. Only last week I set an all time 30-min power best during my time trial at the UCI Paracyling World Cup in Sydney.
    Do you find it harder?
    Yes, it showed up many rides for the junk they were and my overall riding intensity went up.
    how did you work out your Power zones?
    By performing a Maximal Aerobic Power test.
    You can also perform some time trials and set power training levels from those.
  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 79,667
    I have it showing both 3s and 30s power, HR Zone and lap time on screen 1.
  • Alex_Simmons/RSTAlex_Simmons/RST Posts: 4,161
    dexradio wrote:
    I have a very basic question though. When monitoring power on the bike, which power number do you look at to keep yourself around your target? I use my Garmin 800 and it can display the instant power wattage, or a 3s or 30s average. Due to the "stochastic" nature of training with power I have found it practically impossible to use the instant number. So if my target for the workout is an average of 252 watts, what do the rest of you do to monitor that you are working out around that level? I currently use the 30s average to try and maintain some kind of level matched to my target for the workout.
    Careful not to fall into the trap of training BY power, rather that WITH power.

    Generally you are aiming to be within a certain range of power for any given ride or interval effort, not a specific set number. What you can do will vary day to day, so you need to allow for that.

    e.g. I might be doing a core endurance ride and as long as I'm doing 200-250W overall (not necessarily at all times), I'm in the ballpark. Along the way you might do harder efforts and easier parts as well.
  • dexradiodexradio Posts: 54
    Great, thanks guys, I'm clearer about how to monitor it now I think. I'm aiming for keeping withi the "range" for the ride rather then just focused on the "one" number.

    Dex.
  • trickydiscotrickydisco Posts: 173
    What's good is i have had 2 fitness tests and from that been given my power zones and threshold power.

    Was just interested in how other people attained their figures.

    Thanks for all the input. Very useful. I've got a rental powertap on the way
  • amaferangaamaferanga Posts: 6,789
    What's good is i have had 2 fitness tests and from that been given my power zones and threshold power.

    Was just interested in how other people attained their figures.

    Thanks for all the input. Very useful. I've got a rental powertap on the way

    If these tests were indoors just bear in mind that many people find that their indoor power is down on what the can produce outdoors.
    More problems but still living....
  • trickydiscotrickydisco Posts: 173
    Yes.. they were indoors. No wonder the power levels for training are lower than what i achieved
  • doyler78doyler78 Posts: 1,951
    Yes.. they were indoors. No wonder the power levels for training are lower than what i achieved

    When were the tests done?
  • bigpiklebigpikle Posts: 1,690
    I did it back in Jan of this year :)

    I really like the data, both during and after the rides. Its motivated me on some rides when its been tough or poor weather, and its been great to see & measure improvements not seen in HR data or even sometimes simple speed figures.

    My performance has improved significantly this year, not simply because I had a PT on the bike, but I'm positive that many of my rides have been more effective than they otherwise would have been, because of a strategy that targeted work at particular power levels. Its hugely motivating when you come back and analyse the data and see new PB's continually coming and of course having some fairly objective performance measures allows you to experiment with different training strategies to explore different options.

    I'm a vet, did some CX racing last year and will again this season, but am not a super competitive road racer like many here. I want to develop to fulfill my potential and think its a useful tool. If all I was interested in was pootling around on my bike with no real development goals then I wouldnt bother with a PM, but am really glad I finally bit the bullet.
    Your Past is Not Your Potential...
  • fish156fish156 Posts: 496
    So who's ditched the HR monitor for a power meter?

    How did you find it? have u seen improvements? Do you find it harder? how did you work out your Power zones?

    The thread title might imply that you use power instead of a HR monitor. Just because it's now possible to target training to power doesn't negate the HR data also recorded. One thing I find it useful for is in indicating how recovered I am. Peak HR and how quickly my HR rises and falls will often help determine whether I'm not recovered or simply not motivated enough for that tough session.

    Improvements? Yes.
    Harder? Yes. Sessions can be more targeted and there's no hiding from that nagging number in front of you.
    Zones? I let Golden Cheetah do the sums.
  • sagaloutsagalout Posts: 338
    I bought a powertap last October. I found it excellent over winter for turbo sessions, and could really notice my FTP increasing. Since march/April though Ive been soley road riding and find it almost impossible to use it on the rolling roads around here. It's just so hard to maintain close to any sort of average, although it has been useful for showing me how I need to maintain power downhill on TT's.

    I'm undecided to be honest - I've had issues with the bearings meaning I've been without it for about 4 weeks whilst it's been away for repair. It's now sat in the garage having come back from it's latest repair and I'm tempted to sell it.
  • doyler78doyler78 Posts: 1,951
    I suspected that might be the case ie that this wasn't a recent test. Power zones change with fitness therefore you January test will now be irrelevant. How much? Who knows. Only testing will tell you that. All we can say with any sort certainty, if we take your word that you have made significant gains, is that it is north of what you were given in January and if you assume that your power was down in the indoor test that you done then it will be higher again.
  • SBezzaSBezza Posts: 2,173
    I switched to a powertap in Janurary, and it has made a difference to how I train. Not that I was training poorly before, but it has allowed me to accurately manage my training data, and improvements, which you just can't do with HR. I wouldn't say it has made me training harder, just smarter really.

    I still use my HR strap as well at the moment, but no doubt that will be ditched some time in the future, I know my coach only looks at the power data now and not my HR. I am fully converted and feel a bit lost without the data when I use my disc wheel in a TT, just got to save up for a crank power meter now :twisted:

    As for sagalout, forget training looking at the power figure, of course your power will go down on a downhill section, and it will go up quite a bit going up a hill. Read what Alex has said about having an average in a zone. If most of the ride is done within the correct zone, this will be shown in the downloaded data. Once you get used to feeling the effort a particular zone feels like, you can pretty much not bother looking at the display.
  • amaferangaamaferanga Posts: 6,789
    sagalout wrote:
    I bought a powertap last October. I found it excellent over winter for turbo sessions, and could really notice my FTP increasing. Since march/April though Ive been soley road riding and find it almost impossible to use it on the rolling roads around here. It's just so hard to maintain close to any sort of average, although it has been useful for showing me how I need to maintain power downhill on TT's.

    I'm undecided to be honest - I've had issues with the bearings meaning I've been without it for about 4 weeks whilst it's been away for repair. It's now sat in the garage having come back from it's latest repair and I'm tempted to sell it.

    If you want to use it on the road and ride at specific power like you would on the turbo then you'll need to find some hills and do hill repeats. Doesn't need to be steep, just somewhere with either a fairly constant grade or flat. I've got a couple of hills around that I use - one with a very gentle grade for short intervals (20s - 3min) and another steeper one for longer intervals (5min - ~14min). Just riding around and aiming for a specific power is kind of missing the point of training with power.

    Even if you are finding it impossible to pace yourself with power, surely tracking your peak powers and training load are extremely useful still?
    More problems but still living....
  • trickydiscotrickydisco Posts: 173
    doyler78 wrote:
    Yes.. they were indoors. No wonder the power levels for training are lower than what i achieved

    When were the tests done?

    I did a test in december (before i started training) and a test at the end of march before my 1st race
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