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Looking for power meter usage tips

CleeRiderCleeRider Posts: 304
edited September 2016 in Training, fitness and health
(I'm not talking about proper interval training - I'll leave that for the turbo when the weather turns bad)

How do you use yours on a 'normal' ride?

For the past 4 years I've been generally thrashing my way around my usual routes, trying to get faster. This would inevitably see my heart rate rising steadily throughout the ride and finishing very high. Since buying a power meter around 3 weeks ago I decided to come up with a training ride formula whereby my heart rate was fairly level but I continue to get faster.

Here's what I came up with:
My training route is 23 miles long with around 10 short, steep (5 to 10%) climbs that only take around 2 minutes to climb (1,000ft total elevation). I calculate how long each hill takes to climb and set a power target for it based on my best power output for that period of time - taken from my Golden Cheetah power curve. These targets would become more unachievable, the further I go on the route as I start to fatigue - so I take into consideration how many 'matches I've burnt' so far on the ride and lower each subsequent target. The remainder of the ride (on the flat and on descents) is done at 80% of my FTP. I guess it's basically hill repeats but with different hills.

With this plan, I've achieved my goal of having my heart rate return to a steady level after each climb and that's the level I now complete the ride at. So on ride completion I don't feel I've killed myself and yet I beat my 4-year PB on the route last time out. It felt brilliant to finish with a PB and feel like I could do more miles.

I've also raised my FTP by 7W in 3 weeks.

Apologies if that was a bit too in-depth - I must be a bit of a geek!

Posts

  • robbo2011robbo2011 Posts: 1,017
    As a new power meter user, I think you would be well served by reading The Bible

    https://www.amazon.com/Training-Racing- ... 1934030554
  • imposter2.0imposter2.0 Posts: 11,034
    Using a PM to achieve a heart rate goal. That's a new one..
  • robbo2011 wrote:
    As a new power meter user, I think you would be well served by reading The Bible

    https://www.amazon.com/Training-Racing- ... 1934030554

    Already have it :)
    Half way through it.
  • Imposter wrote:
    Using a PM to achieve a heart rate goal. That's a new one..

    First tip, throw away the HRM and train with power
    I'm sorry you don't believe in miracles
  • It depends what you mean by 'normal ride'. If I am just riding my bike with no planned training element I don't take much notice of my power other than to look at AP/NP at the end of the ride out of interest.

    If you are looking to make use of it out on everyday rides then I would suggest you try and establish some aspect of your fitness you want to work on during a particular ride and go from there.

    For example you mention at the moment you are doing hill repeats and then going at 80% of FTP on flat/downhills which has helped you go faster and set a route PB. Is going fast in this instance your primary goal? If so, riding at 90-95% of FTP on the flats and easing off slightly on hills could result in a quicker time.

    Essentially, defining a performance target and then establishing specific training to help meet this is where you will find the most value in a power meter IMO. It's a tool that will help, when used in combination with other training metrics, to monitor your progress.
  • Alex99Alex99 Posts: 1,407
    CleeRider wrote:
    (I'm not talking about proper interval training - I'll leave that for the turbo when the weather turns bad)

    How do you use yours on a 'normal' ride?

    For the past 4 years I've been generally thrashing my way around my usual routes, trying to get faster. This would inevitably see my heart rate rising steadily throughout the ride and finishing very high. Since buying a power meter around 3 weeks ago I decided to come up with a training ride formula whereby my heart rate was fairly level but I continue to get faster.

    Here's what I came up with:
    My training route is 23 miles long with around 10 short, steep (5 to 10%) climbs that only take around 2 minutes to climb (1,000ft total elevation). I calculate how long each hill takes to climb and set a power target for it based on my best power output for that period of time - taken from my Golden Cheetah power curve. These targets would become more unachievable, the further I go on the route as I start to fatigue - so I take into consideration how many 'matches I've burnt' so far on the ride and lower each subsequent target. The remainder of the ride (on the flat and on descents) is done at 80% of my FTP. I guess it's basically hill repeats but with different hills.

    With this plan, I've achieved my goal of having my heart rate return to a steady level after each climb and that's the level I now complete the ride at. So on ride completion I don't feel I've killed myself and yet I beat my 4-year PB on the route last time out. It felt brilliant to finish with a PB and feel like I could do more miles.

    I've also raised my FTP by 7W in 3 weeks.

    Apologies if that was a bit too in-depth - I must be a bit of a geek!

    Actually during a ride, I find my most common use is to keep me honest when doing work at or around threshold.
  • stueysstueys Posts: 1,332
    My honest advice would be to get a coach for 6 months, ideally through a base and build phase. You'll pick up enough during over that time period to be able to self coach relatively well going forward and I think it's the fastest route to get up to speed on what a structured training plan with power looks like (intervals, durations, IF, tss usage, etc). You can learn it from a book but a coach would be more effective.
  • stueysstueys Posts: 1,332
    My honest advice would be to get a coach for 6 months, ideally through a base and build phase. You'll pick up enough during over that time period to be able to self coach relatively well going forward and I think it's the fastest route to get up to speed on what a structured training plan with power looks like (intervals, durations, IF, tss usage, etc). You can learn it from a book but a coach would be more effective.
  • jgsijgsi Posts: 5,027
    My best tip... record the ride .. analyse it afterwards.
    Leave the 'ride to' power levels for the turbo.
    Ride outdoors on feel.
    If you are on a chaingang you are NOT going to say to 8 others , "tonight myboys and gals we ride to 275 watts, n'est ce pas?" are you really??? unless you want a kick up the proverbial.
    It's all about COMMON SENSE a feature lacking in younger/.. new riders wannabes whatever... to coin a young generation phrase.

    You cannot ride a timetrial to power ... out there in the real world on Uk roads you are lucky to get 15 seconds of smooth input / output.
  • jgsi wrote:
    My best tip... record the ride .. analyse it afterwards.
    Leave the 'ride to' power levels for the turbo.
    Ride outdoors on feel.
    If you are on a chaingang you are NOT going to say to 8 others , "tonight myboys and gals we ride to 275 watts, n'est ce pas?" are you really??? unless you want a kick up the proverbial.
    It's all about COMMON SENSE a feature lacking in younger/.. new riders wannabes whatever... to coin a young generation phrase.

    You cannot ride a timetrial to power ... out there in the real world on Uk roads you are lucky to get 15 seconds of smooth input / output.

    "You cannot ride a timetrial to power" I daresay every professional cyclist would have to disagree with you haha, power meters are the only tool that allow you to pace correctly.

    Read the Training Bible. Try some of the workouts in the free computrainer power plan by Hunter Allen. See how you go sticking to them.

    If you're new to power and riding generally (not training seriously for over 3 years) then just cruise around at Z2 and add in a healthy dose of hills weekly
  • fat daddyfat daddy Posts: 2,605
    jgsi wrote:
    You cannot ride a timetrial to power .


    errrr, off of the turbo its probably one of the best uses for them
  • okgookgo Posts: 4,368
    The first step is to just ride normally and collect data for a few weeks and not worry about it.

    Then while you are doing that, its worth reading Training and Racing with a powermeter by Coggan and Allen.

    Then when you have a load of data, and know what it means, you can start to be logical about what you do with your time on the bike.

    JSGI is half right in that you are not going to go to a chaingang and say I am only riding at x tonight. These are situations where you should ride hard and look at after. I do agree with others that you absolutely 100% can pace with one in a TT, and I have not one a TT for years where I have not had a power pacing strategy.
    Blog on my first and now second season of proper riding/racing - www.firstseasonracing.com
  • fenixfenix Posts: 5,437
    I only use my powermeter on the turbo inside when I'm on a training plan. The one day a week I get outside is just a social ride.

    You do get the best bang for buck from time being on the turbo and you aren't distracted by traffic or lights or whatever.
  • jgsijgsi Posts: 5,027
    “I couldn’t see my power meter because the screen was too black and the shadow was over it, so I didn’t feel that I was going fast enough to get the record. It was a bit windy both ways too, so I wasn’t sure I would get the record.”

    In the end, he needn’t have worried, having taken 25 seconds off Alex Dowsett’s previous record set in May. And Bialoblocki’s time gave him victory on the day by 2-29 from Scott Davies (Team Wiggins), while Steve Irwin (North Lancs RC) was third, another 28 seconds back.


    see, he didnt need it to ride 25 miles at over 33+mph
  • okgookgo Posts: 4,368
    He could have gone quicker had he paced it better...
    Blog on my first and now second season of proper riding/racing - www.firstseasonracing.com
  • Imposter wrote:
    Using a PM to achieve a heart rate goal. That's a new one..

    First tip, throw away the HRM and train with power

    That's a pretty sweeping statement. HRM is still a valuable tool used in conjunction with Power. Power gives a more accurate way of working to zones if you have done an ftp test for example but HR can monitor recovery. Watching decoupling on a regular workout can monitor progress with aerobic endurance.

    So no, don't throw away your HRM, use it wisely.
  • Imposter wrote:
    Using a PM to achieve a heart rate goal. That's a new one..

    First tip, throw away the HRM and train with power

    Second tip, get the HRM from the bin and train with power and HR (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aj6JL2SPyic)
  • fat daddyfat daddy Posts: 2,605
    3rd tip, put down the HRM and power meter and train with the bin !
  • ajmitchell wrote:
    Imposter wrote:
    Using a PM to achieve a heart rate goal. That's a new one..

    First tip, throw away the HRM and train with power

    Second tip, get the HRM from the bin and train with power and HR (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aj6JL2SPyic)

    How long have you been training with power?
    I'm sorry you don't believe in miracles
  • okgookgo Posts: 4,368
    I don't use HR and have been training with power for about 5 years.
    Blog on my first and now second season of proper riding/racing - www.firstseasonracing.com
  • BSRUBSRU Posts: 74
    I was under the impression that on LSD rides, HR combined with power was a useful post ride metric as it gives you an indication of your aerobic fitness.
  • okgookgo Posts: 4,368
    HR probably is worth using with power for someone new to it. But for those who've been at it a while you get a feel for things, and perceived effort is a as good as anything for seeing how you're going. Also of course when you put in hard efforts you'll start to quickly see if the power is better or worse than previous, all becomes fairly obvious stuff.
    Blog on my first and now second season of proper riding/racing - www.firstseasonracing.com
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